Cowork’a, a coworking space for lawyers in Montpellier

In April, Cowork’a took up residence in its new premises in rue Enclos Tissie Sarrus, near the Promenade du Peyrou in Montpellier. This coworking space for lawyers is also open to all professions with similar constraints.

Interview with Elodie Manonviller, founder of this space.

This coworking space was created two years ago. What purpose ?

At first, it was to allow lawyers to benefit from a workspace and above all innovation, since the Montpellier lawyers incubator is also a partner in this space. So the goal was to have a place that looks like the other spaces that innovative companies also use on their side to develop their business. Create a place with a synergy, a place different from what they are used to rubbing shoulders with.

In April, you moved. Who says new space also says new professions. That is to say that your coworking space opens up to new professions. Which ones?

Cowork’a was a coworking space for lawyers and it has become a third place dedicated to law and innovation. I welcome all professions that have constraints similar to those of lawyers in terms of data confidentiality. The internet system I have allows data to be encrypted.

Currently, I am hosting a legal expert, an association that promotes a digital safe for asylum seekers, but also an Australian lawyer. He is not attached to the bar of Montpellier. But he also needs all the rules of confidentiality that he must give to his job.

What exactly does this coworking space allow for people who don’t have their own offices?

This allows a cost that is reduced since finally they have an office, insurance, internet and furniture included. This allows them flexibility since they only have one month’s notice. If they wish afterwards to settle elsewhere or develop their firm, it is quite quick for them to get out of the contract they have with me.

The second thing they come for is synergy. All the workshops we offer, with or without the incubator, to develop their personal and professional skills.

And also the economic network since I am a business manager. So I receive from time to time after work in which they can participate because it is not in their DNA to do this kind of network or events. And the synergy also happens between them. In the exchange of files. That is to say that when someone enters a file that does not correspond to his specialty, he gives it to his colleague who is just behind the next door.

Also, on a file, when there is a difficulty, that he does not come out of it, he will ask for help right next to him. What is already done in traditional cabinets. But there, since they are neither partners nor collaborators, they have no hierarchical link. It’s really a professional friendship that is created.

And in my space I have fixed offices with a separate reception room and a large training room. Currently, all the lawyers are not in their office, they are in the big room so it’s really roommate. They could very well lock themselves in their offices and be quiet, but they choose to be together.

We feel that there are reconciliations taking place. I think that in the word coworking, there is the collaborative that is in front and that is really the most important. I am very happy because it was not won in advance. We are still in a profession that seems to be individualistic when in fact it is not at all. These are people who are, like any profession, in search of collaboration, mutual aid, exchange.

How is renting an office at Cowork’a?

It happens on the website or on social networks. We can’t just make an appointment like that and reserve an office on the site. I must first control a minimum that comes to us. Its very important. See if it’s a lawyer, if it’s a person who is compatible. I am very careful. To integrate the community of residents, it will be on the waiting list since all the offices are rented. And for the others, we can see together if there is a free office and for how many people. I choose a room that I can rent by the hour or by the day.

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