Firms open branch offices for many reasons, including servicing a single client, penetrating a new market, or preventing competitors from "poaching" existing clients in a particular area. A firm needs to outline and identify its specific reasons for opening a branch office.
For example, a firm may identify that an area in which it believes there will be significant growth in the future and in which the firm may have numerous contacts with prospective clients may be a good area in which to open a branch office.
These reasons would help support a desire to pursue "branding strategies" in a desire to be considered a national or international firm and further justify a branch office.
A firm expanding to another market should have a serious commitment to its new office. Whatever the reasons the firm is choosing to open a branch office, these reasons should be part of a cohesive strategy. At its most fundamental level, this means that the firm must understand what services it intends to provide in the branch office, what types of clients it is seeking to service, and its capabilities to do the work it is seeking to do in the marketplace.
While there are numerous statistics on branch offices, firms that have branch offices will generally earn more than firms without branch offices. For the parent firm, the new office can provide an opportunity to improve partner income, add additional associates, and create new opportunities for partnership. Although this is certainly an intelligent growth strategy, as discussed below, it is important to note that opening branch offices can be a drain of time and money if done improperly or for the wrong reasons.