Since the 2008 recession, the legal world has found itself in upheaval. A record number of firms are merging, growth has been sluggish and demand for services has declined. Because of unprecedented changes in law firms’ needs, there has been an overall shift to cutting back on the amount of commercial space occupied. Real estate brokerage firm Savills Studley, which operates a law firm practice group, released a report last Friday indicating that law firms are indeed occupying less space, and this trend will likely continue.
“As partnerships, law firms have always been mindful of costs, but what we’re seeing now is a true paradigm shift,” said Lisa Davidson, an executive managing director of Savills Studley, in the report. “Law firms as a group are, for the first time, really starting to question traditional assumptions about how they use space, who sits where, and how to maximize flexibility to prepare for what the future may bring for their business.”
Prior to the 2008 recession, the square footage allotted to attorneys was similar to many industries’ allotment of space. With a relatively strong employment picture for law offices, there was every indication that this upward trend would continue. There was also a real distinction between partner offices and segmentation among associates, creating more of a hierarchy in space allocations.
However, the 2008 crash was catastrophic for many firms, and law employment still has not rebounded to pre-recession levels, thereby forcing firms to reassess their spatial needs...Report: Law Firms Cut Costs by Reducing Space
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