Disruption in the Legal Workplace

Gone are the days of secretaries huddled together in the center of an office, with private workspaces circling the perimeter. When it comes to how law firms are organizing their workplace, its safe to say that times have changed. The greater emphasis on strong collaboration areas and efficient space planning is constantly in the forefront for major law firms that want to find the right approach to take their company into the future. In this day and age, firms are challenging the design of how to best utilize their space, and it’s an issue that’s likely to come up even more frequently in the future.


Disruption in the Legal Workplace
Cafe in Hinckley Allen's office (Photo: Duncan Lake/Cresa)

While real estate experts are always open to finding the best ways to work, they are sometimes met with resistance in the legal field. Legal professionals are concerned about confidentiality, quiet workspace, and the prestige of a perfectly positioned office. That said, many law firms are now pushing the envelope. recent article in the Financial Times highlights DLA Piper’s London office, where lawyers gave up private offices to work in open-plan spaces, and where employees are offered opportunities to participate in jewelry making, painting and yoga classes at work. As a result, they’re seeing a variety of positive changes. Firms can reap the benefits of rethinking the way they utilize their space and find solutions for a variety of issues. Here are a few examples:


A Company’s Culture

The space in which we work is a key indicator of a company’s livelihood. Law firms are spending a significant amount of time discussing how to become more efficient, because they recognize that employees need a strong environment that fosters collaboration.

Disruption in the Legal Workplace
Workspace in Hinckley Allen's office (Photo: Duncan Lake/Cresa)

Staffing Up

It’s no secret that prospective employees want to work in spaces that reflect a company’s strength. Whether it’s extensive amenities or a diverse art collection, the way a company presents itself is a vital component to recruitment. 

A Question of Optics

Consider the extensive roster of clients that law firms deal with on a daily basis. It’s absolutely critical that a company controls the narrative that it presents to its clients and the outside world. Putting the company’s best foot forward visually is a clear indicator of its overall wellbeing.

Disruption in the Legal Workplace
Workspace in Hinckley Allen's office (Photo: Duncan Lake/Cresa)

The Bottom Line

Today’s real estate costs are trending upward. Only salaries and benefits are more costly expenses than real estate, which comes in between six and seven percent of total revenue in a healthy firm, according to a recent study prepared by IA Interior Architects and SB2 Consultants. Therefore, if a company can reduce their footprint by ten to fifteen percent because it found a way to work more efficiently, it will realize a significant return to the partnership’s bottom line. While it may not initially appear so, being more efficient in your space is an exercise in financial security.

If workplace optimization is on your docket, Cresa’s experienced advisors maintain a successful track record of integrating data-based business intelligence toward a better-informed real estate decision.