Shifting Trends Re-Shaping Law Firm Design According to Commercial Architects at OTJ

With a push to join in the trend toward more open spaces and reduce operating costs, OTJ Architects has seen law firms focus on various factors in determining whether to renovate their existing office space or relocate to a new one. Several of these factors include changing workplace standards, recruitment and retention of a diverse pool of attorneys and support staff and greater spatial efficiency.

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Banner & Witcoff, LTD

Change isn’t always easy, but our understanding of these factors enables us to create an office that optimizes a law firm’s existing space or develop a new, innovative design

Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 17, 2014

When working on a Law Office Design project, the interior design professionals at OTJ Architects, understand the importance of examining how a firm works, the organizational structure and the firm’s culture because not all law firms are the same. This information is then translated into creative ideas that are specifically relevant to the particular law firm’s needs, with current trends including decreasing the emphasis on office space hierarchy, incorporating integrated technology and providing multi-functional spaces.

With an increased emphasis on efficiently using space and an evolving workplace culture, law firms are reconsidering traditional workplace standards. Law office design trends have shifted how employees inhabit their workspaces; firms are now re-evaluating single office standards and collaboration zones. OTJ’s law office design for Banner & Witcoff, LTD uses glass throughout to create a more open environment. With a decreasing ratio of administrative assistants to attorneys, law firms are even designing flexibility into staff workspaces.

“One example of flexible workspaces is having a single workspace standard for both administrative assistants and paralegals so that a work area can be easily transferred from one function to another,” said Lance Jaccard, Partner at OTJ Architects.

Law firms are striving to accommodate the need for staff to be able to work from home – or telecommute – and only work part-time in the office. According to an article in Interiors & Sources, “the most successful firms have learned to leverage the design of their offices to project an image of sophistication and modernity to both clients and recruits.” Because of this, innovative audio-visual equipment and advanced technologies have changed the way law firms do business and meet their objectives.

Integrated technology can allow attorneys, associates and paralegals to better serve clients both in the office and off site through upgraded wireless connectivity, enhanced presentation methods, projection equipment and even video conferencing. A properly designed video teleconferencing system can allow a firm to host meetings with participants in various locations and can also record these conferences or depositions.

The Atlanta Business Journal notes some law firms are reducing overall square footage by as much as 20 percent. This decrease means building flexibility into support spaces has become increasingly more important. To achieve maximum efficiency within the office, conference rooms can serve multiple functions. This includes hosting both internal and external meetings, client presentations and training. Support functions can achieve reduced square footage by consolidating with other support spaces to allow partners and attorneys to work more effectively. A virtual law library can also help to decrease paper-intensive operations.

OTJ's client, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP, wanted to incorporate flexible spaces in the design of its new office, so OTJ designed a combined filing/work room and also a large pantry that has a variety of seating arrangements to allow for informal gatherings and meetings.

“Change isn’t always easy, but our understanding of these factors enables us to create an office that optimizes a law firm’s existing space or develop a new, innovative design,” Jaccard said. “When a law firm is committed to making a change, it should consider a design that reflects the firm’s brand, mission and values; careful placement of offices and workrooms; and a powerful, yet comfortable first impression.”

Contact OTJ Architects to discuss your architectural needs today.

About OTJ Architects
OTJ Architects is a well-respected national interior architecture design firm that has successfully completed thousands of projects throughout the country. Founded in 1990, OTJ is comprised of five studios headquartered in Washington, DC, with more than 60 architects and designers, many of whom are LEED Accredited Professionals. OTJ is registered in 37 states and is able to consult in all 50 states. The responsive interior architecture consultants create effective environments through listening, understanding and tailored design. These designs focus on helping clients enhance collaboration, company branding and employee recruitment and retention. OTJ’s design teams provide clients with personalized attention to create workplace solutions that reflect their unique, individual needs. For more information visit otj.com.


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