HOUSTON, April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Law firms are going through substantial changes in the way they interact with clients, manage economic pressures, incorporate new technology and adapt to the demands of a new work force. In Transwestern's second-quarter "Ask the Expert," Tenant Advisory Services Principal and Law Firm Advisory Group Leader Sanders Thompson shares insights on how these market forces are impacting the overall selection and design of office space for law firms.
Class A office space is crucial for recruiting top attorneys, so savvy law firms view their space as an asset rather than a liability. In some cases, law firms are willing to pay higher rents to occupy space in premium buildings to attract the most sought-after attorneys.
As the second-highest expense behind salaries, real estate utilization is extremely important. Forward-thinking workplace design, such as pod seating, reconfigurable furniture and even officing on-site with corporate clients allows firms to compress space requirements. For one client, Transwestern created an innovative space plan that could reduce the firm's footprint from 58,000 to 34,000 square feet while enhancing functionality.
The most up-to-date law spaces feature high-end design in their lobbies with conference rooms clustered near the lobby instead of spread across multiple floors. Law offices built in the 1990s lack the technology infrastructure necessary today and are therefore considered obsolete.
STANDARDIZING OFFICE SIZES
In another attempt to save space and maximize efficiency, law firms are decreasing the typical office from 15-by-15-foot to 10-by-15-foot. Furniture that has more work surface and storage space than older desks allows employees to increase functionality of a smaller space. Additionally, the standardization of offices makes it easier to relocate attorneys when needed.
RELOCATING BACK-OFFICE FUNCTIONS
Many law firms, especially those in high-cost metros, are relocating accounting, IT and other back-office functions and records storage into more affordable space off-site to make room for more attorneys or collaborative space. These suburban locations are not only less expensive, but they offer more parking as well.
Download the full "Ask the Expert" publication at http://twurls.com/ate-thompson.
Transwestern is a privately held real estate firm specializing in agency leasing, property and facilities management, tenant advisory, capital markets, research and sustainability. The fully integrated global enterprise leverages competencies in office, industrial, retail, multifamily and healthcare properties to add value for investors, owners and occupiers of real estate. As a member of the Transwestern family of companies, the firm capitalizes on market insights and operational expertise of independent affiliates specializing in development, real estate investment management and research. Transwestern has 34 U.S. offices and assists clients through more than 180 offices in 37 countries as part of a strategic alliance with Paris-based BNP Paribas Real Estate. For more information, please visit transwestern.com and follow us on Twitter: @Transwestern.