Real estate is one of a firm’s largest fixed expenses. Today, firms are moving to reduce that cost in two ways:
1. Changing the configuration and usage of the office space
2. Moving their offices to lower-cost locations
Cutting-edge firms are looking closely at how they use their space — even using data to re-evaluate the use of certain areas. If four conference rooms sit idle 50 percent of the time, for example, the firm knows it can turn two of those rooms to other uses — perhaps as a pool of cubicles for paralegals. By using technologies, processes and expertise to track and analyze conference room and other space utilization, firms can reconfigure real estate utilization in ways that maximize their revenue per square foot.
There’s no doubt the size of the law firm office is shrinking. Am Law Top 200 firms have reduced space usage by 15 to 20 percent according to Colliers International 2015 North America Outlook1. The average size of a senior partner office used to be 15 by 15 feet, but that has shrunk to 10 by 15 or even 10 by 12 feet, about the same size as associate offices. In some cases, firms are getting rid of the partner’s corner office entirely, using that prime space for team meeting rooms instead.