June 1, 2020
Firms trim real estate costs, shrink offices
"The COVID-19 pandemic has forced BigLaw firms to abandon their most opulent offices and transform their lawyers into remote workers, revealing to many firm leaders that their enormous real estate costs might not be as justifiable as they had been in decades past."
Rethinking real-estate options to balance a prestigious location with the cost savings and efficiency of remote work options is attainable.
"Experts say the pandemic is sure to accelerate a trend among law firms to cut back on the kind of real estate typified by current offices. Real estate, after all, is usually firms' highest expense after salaries. Firms have already been experimenting with ideas like shared offices and remote work, and the austerity that may be required to make it through the oncoming downturn is likely to budge even the most change-averse firms."
Centralized models leverage the benefits of Lean Six Sigma (LSS), and are ideal for supporting shared space for flexible location, and highly collaborative teams. Efficiency is getting work done correctly on the first attempt. Increasing automation, and process mapping workflows always highlight 'choke-points' and identify the non-value added 'wastes.'
"I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of secretaries never come back [to physical offices]... Same with accounting and billing. A lot of attorneys wouldn't mind the same opportunity."
Waste in real-estate/workplace models is not hard to find. Remote options will drive its reduction. The larger issue is ensuring productivity remains high and employment/labor risks remain low through the evolution of the office model.