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January 19, 2021

Phila. Firm Leaders Are Getting Serious About Cutting Office Space

Long recognized as a source of excessive costs, law firm real estate is undergoing a shift. 


Philadelphia-based law firms plan to cut down on their local office footprint by as much as one-half of their current square-footage, as the industrywide shift to remote work has catalyzed a reevaluation of excessive overhead expenses.


Legal industry leaders—which have long sought to reduce rent costs to increase profitability—are getting creative with floor plans and how they allocate work space. Many firm leaders say they’re considering staggering the usage of individual work units, or “hoteling,” reducing solo offices in favor of building out collaborative work spaces and allowing a hybrid split between remote and in-office work.


Robyn Henry, Director of Administration, walks through Conrad O'Brien's post-pandemic office plans in The Legal Intelligencer article, including the plan to use a trial period for returning to the office once vaccinations become more widely available.


"'I don’t think everyone will be back in the office all at once five days a week,' Henry said in an interview. 'That would be too much of a culture shock at this point.'... During the trial period, attorneys and staff would stagger their days in the office, while firm leaders solicit their attitudes toward the new approach in multiple surveys. And based on the feedback form those surveys, Conrad O’Brien will devise its new and renewed work-from-home policy, Henry said."


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