Law Practice Management

Baker Botts joins open office trend, moves junior associates to interior area

  • Print.

Like a number of other well-known law firms, Baker Botts has been rethinking the concept of office space.

A growing open office trend focuses on grouping employees and arranging work space in a way that encourages productivity and collaboration. It also often results in fewer offices, smaller individual work spaces and cost savings for the employer, as well as, not infrequently, more deluxe dining areas for workers and other shared amenities.

So, when Baker Botts last fall renovated its Houston offices, which had been much the same since 1971, the firm made some significant changes. Junior associates, who had been in window offices on the perimeter, now have glass-walled offices in the center of their floor, the Houston Chronicle reports. File storage space that was no longer needed because of technology now houses paralegals.

Gensler oversaw the renovation, which allowed Baker Botts to eliminate three floors from its footprint.

Some law firms are eliminating offices entirely, architect Marilyn Archer, who is a principal of Gensler’s Houston office, told the Chronicle.

“We’re doing a project right now outside of London where the entire firm is open plan,” she noted, and a small law firm in Austin, Texas, that does a lot of work for high-tech clients took the same approach.

“It’s a young law firm, so they just decided to look like their clients,” Archer said.

See also: “Should partners lose their couches and corner offices? Paul Hastings considers changes”

ABA Journal: “Designing your law office to save money and boost productivity–without sacrificing style”

ABA Journal (2010): “Changing Spaces”

Slaw: “Oz Leads the Way in Open Office Concept Law Firms”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “Law Firms Say Good-Bye Office, Hello Cubicle”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.