Law Firms

Architecture firm unveils display of the 'law firm of the future'


There have already been plenty of pop-up stores, especially ones that appear during the holidays. Now witness the pop-up law firm.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that architectural firm Gensler has designed a 5,000 square-foot exhibit that the company has branded as “the law firm of the future.” The exhibit is part of the Association of Legal Administrators annual conference and expo in Toronto, which runs until Thursday.

According to the Post, the pop-up office emphasizes efficiency and flexibility while fostering a greater sense of community and common purpose. The display features a more open floor-plan, individual offices that are the same size regardless of seniority, and more common areas, such as “touchdown” spaces for attorneys visiting from other offices.

Gensler has been working on the project for two years, and the office was designed and constructed by a team of 40 at the architecture firm. The Gensler board of directors financed the project with an internal grant. The project, which can be viewed at Redesign-Law.com, also emphasizes technology, particularly mobile lawyering and virtual engagement with clients.

According to the Post, Gensler has designed new offices, or upgrades to existing offices, for many top Washington, D.C.-area law firms, including Chadbourne & Parke; Clifford Chance; Dickstein Shapiro; Fried Frank; Hogan Lovells; McDermott Will & Emery; and Troutman Sanders.

“We emphasize the point that there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Steve Martin, a principal at Gensler, to the Post. “It’s taking these components and assembling them in a way that reflects who they are as a firm and provides flexibility so they can adapt and change over time.”

The display includes furniture from Herman Miller and Steelcase, as well as technological equipment from Microsoft and Thompson Reuters.

Many law firms are already embracing some of these ideas. The Post reported in an article in March that several law firms in Washington, D.C., have relocated to new office buildings that emphasize efficiency over opulence. Both Nixon Peabody and McDermott Will & Emery have significantly scaled back their square footage, with Nixon cutting its space by nearly 30 percent.

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