Law firms face challenges similar to those of many professional organizations in adapting to hybrid work and attracting top talent. HOK’s North American studios provide solutions that support new ways of working.
While attorneys still need private offices for heads-down work, they want flexibility when it comes to collaboration spaces. Firms are embracing hoteling and reducing office sizes, and designing multipurpose shared areas that can be used for town hall meetings or team collaboration.
For generations, private offices have been seen as a status symbol that demonstrates a law firm’s success and wealth. But this traditional notion of office space is slowly being replaced by shared workplaces.
One way to achieve this is by creating shared lounge areas and conference rooms that can be used by any employee at the firm. This can be a great way to create a more open work environment without losing any of the privacy and security that attorneys need.
Another way is to incorporate more natural light into your office space. This can help to reduce eyestrain and improve mood. It also helps to make the office feel larger and more spacious. Using natural lighting is a great way to add personality and warmth to your office without having to spend a lot of money.
Whether you’re trying to cut down on clutter or simply update your office, there are plenty of ways to make your legal practice more modern. Whether it’s by incorporating more common lounge spaces, opting for a minimalist design, or installing online legal technology, there are many steps you can take to make your law firm more contemporary.
A contemporary logo can be a fantastic way to give your law firm a fresh and professional look. It can also be an excellent way to communicate your firm’s values to potential clients. This law firm’s logo is an excellent example, as it features a monogram and sleek monochrome palette that’s perfect for a modern law firm.
Using video as part of your marketing strategy can be a powerful way to engage with clients and promote your law firm’s services. It can be especially useful when educating clients about legal issues that they may not be familiar with. This video from BD&P uses parallax scrolling to engage viewers and makes the information easy to understand. The video is also shareable on social media, making it a great way to reach a wider audience.
More Communal Space
Law firms may seem like unlikely places to implement trendy design elements, but a number of changes are taking place in the modern workplace. While some of these new trends focus on enabling remote and hybrid working models, others support the shift from individual offices to shared work spaces.
A growing number of attorneys are opting for reservable cockpit offices rather than traditional private offices. These small rooms, which are half the size of a traditional office and accommodate just one person, provide an efficient setting for heads-down work. They don’t accommodate guests and offer minimal storage space, but they do enable privacy for lawyers when needed. A cluster of these reservable offices can be complemented by a bank of smaller meeting rooms and locker-type storage.
Communal space is also important to many attorneys, particularly younger ones. As these attorneys are more accustomed to the informality of home-office environments, they’re often more comfortable with open plan designs that can foster collaboration and teamwork.
In fact, a recent study by law firm consultant firm Newmark found that a cluster of reservable cockpit offices, with adjacent conference spaces and small break rooms, can save a law firm up to 16% in occupied square footage. It’s a great option for firms that want to create a collaborative work environment, but need to keep office sizes down to ensure they’re competitive with other area law firms.
Another way to maximize efficiency is through rethinking the concept of the conference room. Larger cafe and employee break rooms allow employees to meet casually with colleagues and clients, which is a more effective approach than trying to fit too many people into smaller conference rooms.
Increasingly, attorneys are relying on video-sharing applications to communicate with and see clients and colleagues in the event of an emergency that would prevent them from leaving their home or office. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important for law firms to invest in high-quality technology that can seamlessly integrate into their existing systems.
For example, some law firms are experimenting with an AV system that uses “quiet rock” or other alternatives to significantly reduce sound transmission. In addition, implementing insulation and alternative wall construction can help reduce noise levels throughout the building.
A Quick Tidy-Up
Modern law firms are increasingly adopting online digital technology to streamline their office processes and keep up with the competition. These tools can reduce repetitive tasks, automate workflows and provide a more secure way to store data. They can also help with a range of legal issues, from preparing a case to managing client information and billings. One such useful tool is the cloud-based legal practice management software Clio, which can help small law firms manage their documents, cases, calendars and accounting. It can also be integrated with other popular cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Xero for easy collaboration.
Another helpful tool for law offices is online faxing by email, which eliminates the need for an onsite fax machine and lets lawyers access incoming faxes directly from their email inbox. This can help them save time and money, while providing clients with a more convenient service.
A modern law firm website is an important component of a successful legal marketing strategy. Having a clean and informative website can help to attract potential clients, as well as demonstrate a strong and up-to-date knowledge of the law. It is important that law firms maintain a professional look, but they can still incorporate unique and eye-catching design elements to make their websites stand out.
Finally, modern law firms should ensure that their online content is fast-loading to improve the user experience and boost conversion rates. They should also include a blog section to share their expertise and attract new clients.
In spite of Covid-19’s lingering specter, the reality is that hybrid working will continue to be the norm. It’s become more of a workplace standard than a temporary pandemic response, so law firms must adapt their offices to support this shift.
While the work environment must provide ample privacy for attorneys to meet with clients, they also need to accommodate collaborative environments where teams can gather and connect. This will require a new set of tools that allow for flexible schedules and provide a variety of settings to fit any activity.
Law firm partners often need to be in the office for meetings with high-value clients, while associates need to be in the office for learning on the job. Providing the flexibility to calibrate an office utility based on need will benefit both groups.
Meeting room scheduling software is one way to enable this flexibility. By providing attorneys with a mobile app that allows them to book rooms or desks, it’s possible to keep conference spaces and private offices reserved for those who need to be in the office.
Another tool to help manage the change in the work environment is a customizable law office design predictive planning tool. Designed by Perkins&Will, the application helps determine how many days an attorney will be working at the office during a given week. It also provides designers with additional information to make space planning decisions.
While productivity will remain a concern, the law firm’s focus must be on enhancing the quality of the experience for all employees. This includes the softer aspects of workplace culture, such as mentoring, teamwork, and relationship-building, that may suffer in a rigidly controlled work environment.
Firms will need to develop planned activities and programs that bring people together in an enjoyable environment. This can be accomplished by including social gathering spaces, a cafe or genius bar, lounges, and other amenities to create opportunities for community and collaboration. By integrating these elements into the office design, firms can give staff more reasons to want to come back to the office.