Posted Date: December 5, 2016

Legal office spaces are evolving

As the video explains, many legal offices are beginning to shift from a traditional office configuration — having individual separated desks and closed-in offices — to open concept workspaces, with increased collaborative areas.

The offices depicted have unique features for fostering collaboration, using new technologies, and have ample space for meeting with clients.

Here’s an expansion of what brings these legal offices into the 21st century:

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Borden Ladner Gervais’ Toronto office moved to a new location on Bay Street last October, giving the firm the opportunity to expand their client meeting space by 70 per cent. The firm has a floor dedicated solely for meeting with clients.

The space features glass walls enclosing meeting rooms and smaller private offices, allowing natural light into the building, penetrating through to central corridors.

Meeting rooms feature portraits of early managing partners as well as a digital room booking system by each door (which appears as a small wall-mounted screen) for last-minute gatherings. The technology also expands into the meeting rooms since multipurpose screens could be used like a white board or for video conferencing.

Caravel Law

Formerly known as Cognition LLP, Caravel Law’s Toronto office is described by lawyer Steven Pulver as “down to earth” and “minimalistic but beautiful.”

The firm’s open concept space serves as a drop-in workspace for their lawyers, who have the option to work from home, and a meeting space for clients. The space also features stand-up work areas and a treadmill desk to promote health.

Caravel Law has two large boardrooms and one “campfire space” where team meetings take place weekly. The space is designed to be cozy, with Muskoka chairs surrounding a circular wood-filled table.

Expensive art installations in the space are kept to a minimum in order to reduce the indirect cost to clients for legal services. But, the space does have a vibrant mural painted by the reception area — a colourful graffiti-style design of the firm’s old name, Cognition.

In the same area, chopped up ties hang from the ceiling, remnants of a unique initiation ceremony, representing each of the firm’s lawyers “severing ties from Bay Street.”

Deloitte LLP

Deloitte lawyers work in-house in Deloitte’s new Toronto headquarters on Bay Street, which was officially launched in early October.

The office has no permanent work spaces and the lawyers could work anywhere in the building that’s most suitable to the work they’re doing, whether it’s at a traditional desk, a stand-up desk, a tread-mill desk, in the cafeteria, on a coach, or in a group meeting space.

The office even has its very own wellness facility containing massage rooms, a meditation centre, prayer rooms, and a gym that provides classes free of charge.

The goal of the space is to promote inclusivity — everyone’s opportunity for workspace is equal and braille accompanies text on signs throughout the building.

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