Law firms aren't known for their effective use of office space. This is a problem because office expenses directly affect the bottom line: if you're wasting office space, you're wasting money.
Office occupancy expenses are second only to a firm's lawyer compensation, according to the 2015 Client Advisory by Citi Private Bank. This isn't an inherent problem, but many firms are still struggling since the recession, so every penny counts.
Need to maximize the value of your square footage? These office trends can help:
Rethink Your Support Staff
Many law firms are cutting back on office expenses by decreasing support staff. This may not be the best decision for your firm. Thankfully, there's an alternative to simply cutting back: you can relocate your administrative offices to cheaper space.
By employing administrative staff in other markets, you can save on office space while cutting down on labor costs. For example, a firm in San Francisco may consider hiring administrators to work outside the Bay Area, where both real estate and employment wages are off the charts.
Implementing new technology can be costly and time consuming in the short term, but in the long run it can save you money and make your whole life more efficient. Here are two quick tips:
1) Go paperless. In the digital age, it makes sense to replace your law library with a digital archive. Beyond that, it's possible to run nearly your entire firm without wasting a single piece of actual paper. If you need help or inspiration, there are plenty of resources to help you make your law firm paperless.
2) Consider the benefits of a virtual office. By setting up a virtual office, you can facilitate client meetings and fun your firm successfully while maintaining the lowest possible overhead.
As office space costs continue to rise, you may need to consider jumping ship and simply relocating. This is a current trend even for large law firms. For example, San Francisco-based firm Littler Mendelson PC is opening a new location in Kansas City. Littler Mendelson made this decision shortly after another large firm, Sedgwick LLP, relocated its back-office staff to the same building.
Why Kansas City? It's cheaper.