Law Practice Management

Reed Smith tries 'hoteling' partner workspaces in pilot program

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Reed Smith is experimenting with an office trend that has been slow to catch on at large law firms: the “hoteling” of work spaces.

The term refers to the use of temporary desks rather than permanent offices. Two partners at Reed Smith in Northern Virginia and other lawyers at the firm’s San Francisco office are trying out temporary desks as part of a pilot program, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Reed Smith considered hoteling after it tracked login locations by its lawyers and learned that about 70 percent of the offices in Northern Virginia were occupied on a normal workday. Occupancy rates dropped on Mondays, Fridays and over the summer.

Among those trying out temporary work spaces is Julia Krebs-Markrich, a health care regulatory lawyer. She tossed out decades of old paperwork when she gave up her office.

But Carol Honigberg, managing partner of Reed Smith in Northern Virginia, wasn’t ready to switch to a temporary desk. “Do I have stuff I like in hard copy? I’m a real estate lawyer and have rolls of plans,” she told the National Law Journal. “What do I do with those, and how does that work if I don’t have an office?”

The National Law Journal spoke with consultants at real-estate brokerage firms who said hoteling is the future for the legal industry. But several leaders of large law firms in Washington, D.C., who spoke with the publication said they weren’t ready to try the idea.

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