Six Modern Law Office Buildings, Commercial Property Advice, Legal Workplace, Architecture Design
Six Modern Law Office Building Designs
15 Dec 2020
The present law firm design model has been around for almost 100 years. It comes from a mentality that legal work is private, confidential, and individual, and that has made the private office space a symbol of success and status.
Yet, legal work and culture are changing rapidly to accommodate millennial professionals with a modern suite of expectations and work styles. The change reflects new economic realities, new technologies, globalization, remote work environments, and client pressures.
Law firms have become part of the value-based economy. Therefore, you must reinvent how you operate and use your workspace. Power has shifted to clients and the young generation of attorneys and has driven changes in law office building designs worldwide. The new approach to space, talent, and service provision are necessary if you want to remain nimble and respond quickly to an uncertain future.
Factors Affecting Law Office Building Designs
Cost continues to be the biggest issue that law firms face in light of increased competition and clients who progressively distinguish high-value legal services from commodity work. Focusing on the bottom line has led law firms to turn to the workplace and real estate for efficiencies and savings.
New ways of working are also changing how law firms recruit and support their attorneys and, consequently, design their office spaces. There is now an increased focus on legal teams, quality-of-life concerns, remote working and collaboration, and the creation of multiple career tracks to attract and retain top millennial talents.
Today’s attorneys are increasingly mobile and need the flexibility and technological support to work remotely. However, even for those who primarily work in their office, virtual collaboration instances continue to be a going concern as law firms continue to spread geographically.
Expansion into new global markets and second-tier cities has resulted in the need to actively seek innovative workplace strategies while still acknowledge an ingrained resistance to change. Still, a modern office design is critical whether it’s a big city office or a local law firm.
Modern Law Office Building Designs
- The Private Office
For many law firms, private office space is not going anywhere. Instead, it has now evolved to hold integrated technology and reconfigurable furniture to accommodate individual, in-person, and virtual collaboration.
- Open Office Plans
Open office plans have their place but are confined to smaller zones for the time being since legal work requires privacy and confidentiality. However, you can use these open spaces as part of your law firm’s career advancement schemes where junior-level attorneys can gradually move from a smaller open workspace and eventually land on the coveted corner office with a view.
- Workspace Designs and the Individual Experience
Collaboration zones and an increased focus on legal teams means investment in a more purposeful suite of spaces. It includes adding casual areas with healthy refreshments to support a healthy lifestyle and chance encounters. You should also invest in more formal workspaces suited for smaller groups and virtual work.
As a forward-thinking firm, you must offer work setting choices. It means an optimal mix of space and facilities. Today’s work environments support smaller workgroups and alternative workspaces, including benching, hoteling, mobile and community zones, and free address options. Offering such workspaces allows you to embrace modernism and privacy.
- Effects of Geographical Expansion
The geographical spread of law firms has created hierarchies in lawoffice building designs and investments. Your prominent city locations will have showcase locations to attract clients and will continue to receive the bulk of investment capital for client-facing spaces. On the other hand, your working offices in secondary markets can focus on functionality instead of grandeur and can house attorneys and not just support staff.
Transparency is also a huge factor in today’s progressive law firms as it supports an open and inclusive work environment. It also reinforces your organizational culture and structure. Elements like glass-fronted conference rooms and offices encourage natural light to seep into the workplace. Transparency also helps remove barriers to knowledge sharing and fosters new opportunities and insight. It also supports the mentoring of associates and a better system of communicating your goals.
- Future-Proof Updates
It’s now possible to future-proof law firms, but it requires a great deal of planning and analyzing what role the intended workspace will serve years into a lease term. To achieve foolproof flexibility, you must consider your potential growth, infrastructure concerns with shifting technology, staff increases, space decreases, and future density to minimize capital expenditure.
A modular approach that allows inexpensive future changes is essential. Firms must also consider the repercussions of future changes. For example, what elements are costly or flexible to move if you decide to bring a wall down, such as the sprinkler system and lighting, respectively.
The Bottom Line
When designers understand how law firms function, they can adequately utilize workspace design to support your distinctive needs while embracing modernism elements. Your workplace should be agile to enable the integration of new design trends and enable you to adapt to the ever-changing requirements and demands of the industry and attorneys.
The truth is, implementing the right design trends into your law office can create a significant organizational advantage.
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