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Branching Out Revisited

General

Over three years ago, I wrote a Third Thursday about opening a satellite office.  I discussed the pros and cons and explained why I opted not to open a satellite office.  This month, I am writing about branching out, revisited.

First, my family and I moved out of Chicago to Indiana, about an hour from my current office.  That’s a discussion for another day, but as a result, I opened an office in Chesterton, Indiana.  My reason for doing so were that I would not have to drive to Chicago every day.  So, firstly it was matter of convenience.

There were many reasons why I was able to do so.  First, the office is 100 percent paperless so everyone has access to client files no matter where they are, so long as they have an internet connection.  That is one of my major issues about opening a branch office – access to hard files of clients.  In three years, we have come a long way and we no longer use paper files.  Problem solved.

Next, three years ago I decided against multiple offices because I was concerned that the office would not function when I was in another office.  This concern was removed by two things.  First, our case management system tracks what everyone does.  It promotes accountability.  More importantly, I have a staff which works even when I am not physically in the office.  This has taken a long time, but makes a huge difference.  Problem number two solved.

So, I have been operating two office, Beverly and Chesterton for the past two years or so.  The reason I am revisiting this subject involves the growth of the firm.  We are now a firm of 19 people and frankly, we have run out of space.  So, this dynamic prompted me to evaluate our need for space.

Weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to open a third office.  This time, the office space is in downtown Chicago in the Burnham Center at 111 W. Washington.  Here is my rationale for making this move.

First, as I mentioned, we needed space, so I needed to open an office somewhere or move to a bigger space.  But renting office space downtown made the most sense.  Our building is across the street from the Daley Center, where one of us is almost every day.  Second, although we have always been centered on the southside in Beverly, our location has been a hindrance in some situations.  Now, we have a centrally located office location for clients as well as court appearances.  Finally, being downtown affords us the ability to hire staff from around the entire Chicagoland area, in a way which the Beverly and Chesterton office never allowed us to do.

So, three years later, I have come to the opposite conclusion about opening a branch office.  Many things have changed the past three years which necessitated the move, but also allowed such a move.  In the end, opening an office in Indiana and now downtown Chicago has allowed the firm to grow and expand, and ultimately better serve our clients.  As always, I am happy to discuss any issues involving growth or opening a branch office.