Examining Trends that Impact Our Law Office Management

I’m examining trends that may have an impact on our law office management strategies especially when it comes to managing real estate expenses. Any recent developments to watch?

Research conducted by Robert Half Legal for its Future Law Office 2020: Redefining the Practice of Law report reveals that as the use of cloud computing software becomes more prevalent and the number of legal professionals who telecommute increases, many firms are redesigning workspaces. The following report excerpt offers insight into some of the changes law firms are incorporating to meet the needs of a more mobile workforce and cost-conscious clients:

Technology has profoundly changed how legal work is performed — from electronic storage of documents and pleadings, to operational and filing processes — and is influencing where it is conducted. “Thanks to the cloud and a range of mobile devices, lawyers are no longer tethered to their desks,” says attorney and LawSites author Robert Ambrogi. “Many firms are reducing their square footage — rather than having an office for every lawyer, they now allocate temporary office space, so some lawyers can work virtually part of the time and on-site at other times.”

Agility, collaboration, technology and client focus are key factors influencing the legal workplace, according to research published by Gensler. (See: Redesign Law: Gensler’s Legal Office of the Future.) “Not only are law firms typically requiring less office space today but the design of the workspace is changing,” explains Marilyn Archer, Gensler principal. “Gen X professionals increasingly work remotely, but when they go to the office, they want sit-to-stand desks, lounge workplaces that foster collaboration and immediate access to tech resources. So as we discuss office design options with our law firm clients, workplace efficiencies and functional flexibility are cited as priority requirements.”

Designing office configurations to foster communication and to support new technology platforms is a key consideration, and many law firms are abandoning traditional designs, Archer adds. “It’s a game-changer when clients understand they have greater office space flexibility if they aren’t tethered to the geometry of a building — no longer needing large, windowed offices for senior-level associates, for example,” she says. Gensler incorporates the concept of modular building and furnishing components into designs that can be quickly and cost-effectively modified and reconfigured as work styles, operational requirements or space needs change.

For more information about current trends affecting law practice management strategies, download a complimentary copy of the Future Law Office 2020: Redefining the Practice of Law report by visiting futurelawoffice.com.