Thanks to the pandemic, law firms of all sizes have considered new ways of going about their everyday business, with hybrid work models shaping up to be the winning approach for most firms. But what good is having dedicated office space for attorneys when they’re going to be working from home so frequently? Many law firms have been trying to decrease their real estate footprints following the coronavirus crisis, and employees working remotely is making it even easier for firms to accomplish this goal.
So, which firm is ready to shift to a “100% hoteling” model? That would be Northern California midsize firm Farella Braun + Martel, which plans to completely eliminate fixed offices for attorneys when it moves to a smaller space next year. Here’s more from the American Lawyer:
The rationale for the change is twofold, according to real estate partner Tony Ratner, who’s overseeing the transformation. Recognizing the reality that most attorneys will only be coming into the office once or twice a week, a vastly consolidated floor plan is the only way to ensure that visits take place in a vibrant and energetic environment. And it also allows the firm to meet sustainability goals by tailoring office space to what’s actually used.
“Only with hoteling can we achieve the right size and the sense of sustainability that we wanted from our new space,” Ratner said.
With the help of space and occupancy management technology startup Maptician, should lawyers need to go to the office, they will be able to see a map and photos of the space before selecting an office to reserve. “I wanted something that people wouldn’t be afraid of: they could just open the mobile app or web app,” Phyllis Medler, the firm’s director of facilities and business services, told the American Lawyer. “It’s simple and easy to use without all the bells and whistles.”
How will this turn out for Farella Braun + Martel? Hopefully as well as it already has been, since Maptician is currently being used in the firm’s office space. Medler says some lawyers have given up their assigned desks to work in different spaces when they head into the office.
Is this the way of the future for midsize and Biglaw firms? Only time will tell, but at this firm, lawyers will say adios to their own office soon.
This San Francisco Firm Is Poised for 100% Hoteling. But It Needs Technology to Make It Work [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.