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Open Office Floor Plans for Law Offices: Yay or Nay?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

More and more law firms are adopting the holy grail of office floor plans, the open concept office. These floor plans eschew private working spaces for more collaborative spaces.

Maybe having client meetings in wall-less cubicles sounds less than ideal. But, for the small amount of time that lawyers actually spend meeting with clients compared to doing other work, conference and meeting rooms can provide the necessary client meeting spaces.

Surprisingly though, the trend is continuing to increase in law firms throughout the U.S. and the world. Whether or not it's time to remodel your office, you might be wondering if giving up the traditional law firm floor plan might be right for your firm.

What's an Open Office Floor Plan?

Typical open office floor plans don't have many private offices. Like open concept living spaces, open office spaces allow people to see across the office, and have large co-working spaces, or desks that are near to each other, or even connected, but not blocked off or hidden from view.

Rather than private offices, there will usually be a few "phone-booth" rooms, as well as small, medium, and large, meeting rooms, that can be used for meetings or when employees do need private work stations for a few hours or a day.

Open Floor Plans for Lawyers

While it may feel like you're working out there alongside your secretary and paralegal, rather than being up high on your pedestal in your office, being right there could very well lead to the increased productivity of your staff, and your own. No more hiding the fact that you like to snooze for 10 minutes every morning.

Another benefit comes from the increased level of collaborate with colleagues that is likely to occur when there are no walls separating you. More conversation about cases are likely to occur, and that means that the legally fascinating and challenging issues will get discussed more.

Don't Like It?

If you don't like the idea of open floor plans for lawyers, you're not alone. After all, closing the door and burying your face in a stack of pleadings without being interrupted is often required. Not to mention, the whole lawyer-client privilege and confidential document handling problems that come along with a lawyer's desk being out in the open. In a co-working space, there are confidentiality issues with leaving your desk for lunch while there is active casework on it.

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