What do Attorney’s Expect from their law firms?
The way law firms and lawyers are using their space has transformed because of remote access, physical space functionality, and space leasing costs. Law firm office space should be well thought out. Not one size fits all but there are some common aspects that firms both small and large should consider.
In the Bay Area, the tech companies have dramatically dictated what the physical space functionality looks like. Law firms are trying to develop new ways in which attorneys can work in the office that mimic this look. The office with an attorney sitting behind a desk in the position of power and clients in front as guests is nearly gone. The new generation of lawyers and in some cases, their clients, expect a combination of functionality in their workspace as well as a space where they feel more like an equal to their attorney.
The “traditional” office is still expected but there also needs to be a variety of more “collaborative” meeting spaces and I am not talking about conference rooms. Lawyers need to meet with their colleagues, client teams, partners and in some cases, clients. They are looking for spaces that allow them to enjoy a beverage and a snack in a comfortable and inviting space. I like to call these spaces the “Collaboration Café!” Insert your firm name in place of collaboration.
The space should be located in a very desirable space located along the window line with an inviting view. That’s right, a space that traditionally would be reserved for partners or conference rooms. There should be a variety of different spaces including long meeting tables and booth style sitting. Genius tables allow one to bring their laptop and connect while enjoying the view or connecting with a colleague.
The Café is most important and should include a variety of beverages, healthy snacks and fresh fruit… Do not forget the espresso machine and cold brew coffee! As an added benefit this same space can be utilized as an event space to support summer associate functions as well as attorneys and office functions.
Private Attorney Offices
There has been a trend to eliminate “private” offices in order to encourage more collaboration and training among the entry level classes of attorneys as well as reduce the cost of leasing space. While this seems to make sense, it has not been readily welcomed by associates at all levels. Results of a recent survey revealed associates would rather have a smaller private office than work in an open floor plan type layout. Attorneys need the ability to concentrate and conduct confidential conversions with clients but still be able to meet with their colleagues away from their offices.
In conclusion, attorneys are working from a variety of different environments. They can work remotely; they need to collaborate with their teams in an inviting and stimulating environment and need a private space to concentrate and focus on connecting with their clients.
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