Workspace Design for Law Firms
Legal work and legal culture are changing rapidly. New economic realities, new technologies and ways of working, global talent, and client pressures are colliding with a new suite of expectations and work styles from young attorneys.
For years we’ve seen the technology industry and coworking entities shape the design of the workplace. According to WorkDesign Magazine, professional services firms — law, finance, tax, and accounting — are also transforming their workplaces and organizational cultures to operate more like their progressive counterparts.
With the dynamic mix of generations in the workforce and the advent of new technologies, the way people work has drastically changed. Law firms now require a space that allows for both balanced teamwork and focused work and also provides the opportunity for continuous learning.
There are several key trends currently impacting the legal profession
Uniform Office Sizes
The ABA Journal indicated that more firms are starting to offer identically sized offices to partners and associates alike. This prevents distractions born of jealousy while helping to ensure clients that they are in good hands.
Changing client perceptions about legal services has encouraged law firms to take a critical eye to their industry. The need to host clients in a luxurious office has been replaced with a clean, modern aesthetic that communicates success in a smart, savvy manner.
Remote collaboration and online sharing of resources and services is now commonplace. Offering the right workspace today is critical to attracting and retaining talent. Technological tools like virtual law libraries, laptops, and smartphones make mobility possible and are essential to any law office.
Many law firms have realized that they are carrying too much space. When you think of law firms, you might think of large private offices. Instead, many law firms today are trying to create a space inspired by town halls, piazzas, and gathering spaces and using alternative workspaces such as benching, mobile and community zones, hoteling, and free address options.
“Today’s progressive law firms are embracing transparency in a big way to support a more open and inclusive work environment, and also to reinforce the firm’s culture and organizational structure. Elements like glass-fronted offices and conference rooms encourage natural light to seep into dark workspaces, plus help to remove barriers to knowledge-share, mentoring of associates and broader communication of firm goals, fostering new opportunities and insight.” – WorkDesign Magazine
Needs for Privacy and Confidentiality are Often Overstated
Sometimes privacy and confidentiality can be an excuse. The reality is that there are plenty of attorneys who conduct business in restaurants, in airports, and on airplanes.
When there is a real need for privacy, there are easy and elegant solutions. Every floor should have some places that can be hermetically sealed, for depositions, HR, confidential matters and there should be a manual letting people know of the resources available to them.
However, for many law firms, the private office still isn’t going anywhere. Instead, it’s evolving to hold reconfigurable furniture and integrated technology that accommodates in-person and virtual collaboration, not just individual work.
Enlist Professional Assistance
If you’re a law firm and not sure where to start, RI Group’s team of designers is here to help! We understand that office design is not a once-size-fits-all, and the industry type your business is in plays an important role in the selected design.
Give us a call: 800.427.5811 to discuss your project or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.