The Corner Cubicle: New Lawyers Should Forget About Palatial Offices

By Andrew Lu on August 01, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Gunning for that corner office with the views? Well, you better act fast as lavish corner offices are quickly being replaced by cubicles and shared workplaces

As an industry, law firms move at a conservative pace. And the law firm office environment is no exception. Over a decade ago, tech companies began adopting open work spaces where a CEO's office would be almost indistinguishable from a secretary's.

Other companies quickly followed suit as knocking down walls saved money (more space was used) and encouraged collaborative working environments. Now, law firms are getting aboard as some of the Big Law firms have downsized.

Real estate expenses can be the single-largest fixed expense for a firm. Think about it, a large law firm in Manhattan or San Francisco could pay up to $2 million a month just on rent, reports the Journal. With the economy being what it is, it makes sense for firms to cut costs with their real estate costs.

But even as law firms downsize, you should probably not expect a complete office-free environment anytime soon. Unlike the tech industry, law is a service industry and partners will need their private space to schmooze clients. Even the CEO of a tech company would probably bristle at the idea of an important legal meeting being held in a firm cubicle.

Still, some firms have taken steps such as eliminating corner offices. These firms now use these valuable spaces for uses like employee gathering places and conference rooms. In addition, many firms already require that junior lawyers share an office.

As law firm continue to deal with the rough economy, an up-and-coming young associate may want to adjust her dream law firm office from that corner office with a view to that cubicle near the bathroom.

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