The answer is “yes”! The legal working world is undergoing change.
In a recent whitepaper CSMM has consolidated the insights from a series of reference projects as a leading consulting and design firm in workplace design and office architecture. The transformation of law firms’ workspaces shows how powerfully innovative concepts can also break up old traditional structures.
Since the start of the pandemic, workspaces are increasingly being downsized or completely redesigned. At the same time, the legal sector is also facing growing recruiting challenges in which modern space concepts are taking on new importance. In the latest whitepaper about the new work transformation for law firms, CSMM aims to answer following question:
How does the Future Lawyer work?
It becomes clear that office space in the legal world must increasingly become a place of identification with the employer brand in order to exploit its potential for intelligent employer branding. Thus, the interests and needs of lawyers, partners, counsels and associates for functioning and enriching office spaces are increasingly becoming the focus of space planning. They expect concepts that offer them flexibility, agility and collaboration when they spontaneously return to the office from the home office or from a client appointment. The law firm becomes a place of encounter and interaction, where the values of the firm can be experienced.
This development presents architects and designers with special challenges: Because confidentiality has a different relevance in the legal office world. Retreats for concentrated work and client meetings have always been an important part of the office. But today’s job market requires much more transparency, communication and exchange. Office concepts are being developed that create separation and proximity in equal measure and make space versatile. This is what the future of legal work environments could look like.
Goodbye individual office?
The post-Corona world has reinforced the trend toward location-independent work. Digital communication tools are shifting meetings into the virtual realm. The acceptance of remote work is also having an impact on law firms, and their office spaces are opening up to new requirements. Until recently, the personal individual office was considered a prestigious component of a strictly hierarchically structured working world. By allowing lawyers to flexibly choose the location and space for their work on a daily basis, at clients’ offices or simply in their home offices, law firms are using new office concepts to prepare themselves to counter indefinite workloads with intelligent utilization concepts. The striking consequence of the new ju-ristic working world is that the willingness to share an office with colleagues has grown significantly depending on age.
Spatial diversity in the working environments of law firms: Ready for a change?
Glass partitions, cross-team collaboration areas, generous seating and the centrally managed employee lounge with outdoor area are no longer a rarity in modern law firms. The intelligent mix of different room functions and sizes promotes communication and legal creativity within the law firm teams and in client meetings. They guarantee confidentiality within the process flows; nevertheless, they intensify the interactions between the employees. Instead of many individual offices, open meeting areas allow for diverse, flexibly designed room situations for more communication and interaction thanks to modular furniture. According to CSMM, the spatial changes are part of a comprehensive change process that also includes the working style:
Employer branding for lawyers
Next Challenge for architects and designers: Law firm becomes a place where employees identify with their employer. Young employees want to feel here comfortable and inspired. Innovative space concepts for modern workflow and work processes are increasingly becoming a decision criterion within recruiting, especially for the younger generation of lawyers. Here it is important to make brand values such as dynamism, further development and integrity tangible in the sense of contemporary employer branding.
Lawyers are parents too!
Law firms are opening up to work concepts that are close to life. Increasingly, law firms are planning spaces where children can spend time without their parents having to restrict their work as lawyers. People and their needs are becoming a stronger focus of space planning.
Law firms against the degradation of city centers
Law firms make an important contribution to sustainable urban development with innovative revitalization and modernization projects. Law firms are proving to be drivers of modernization and offer considerable added value for urban architecture. With their demand for quality, central locations and their long-term rental interests, they secure above-average returns and thus accelerate the upgrading of the building stock in inner cities. While we are confronted with abandoned retail spaces everywhere, law firms are making a valuable contribution to preserving the building fabric and transferring it into contemporary architecture with a new utilization concept that conserves resources. This is far better than demolition and new construction.
At the turn of the year, planning and consulting firm CSMM sums up the competitive advantages that modern new work approaches and hybrid work concepts bring to law firms in the latest whitepaper.
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