Every now and then, an editor runs across a magazine article that he wishes he had run in his own publication.

That’s what happened earlier this month when I came across a piece in the online version of a California county bar publication. The topic is trends in law offices, and it opens like this:

“The law firm industry is currently undergoing a significant transformation affecting both large and smaller firms, urban as well as suburban, that cuts across all subcategories of legal specialization. There are a number of issues simultaneously impacting the legal industry ranging from increased cost efficiencies, major changes in technology, cultural differences between attorney age groups, as well as the globalization of industry and commerce including law firms.

“At the same time, there is a greater understanding by architects, design gurus, attorney administrators and partners on the importance of design, layout, decor and functionality of the law firm office on recruitment, attorney retention, client and staff satisfaction, competition within the same legal subsector and increased bottom-line profitability.”

Congratulations to the Contra Costa County Bar Association for this great content. You can read the entire piece here.

Gibson Dunn law office design

Down in the article, I noted that the author addressed that hoary old beast, the law firm library. You may have seen that I wrote about libraries yesterday. Here is what the Contra Costa Lawyer piece had to say on the topic:

“Once the hallmark of a law firm’s heritage, bookshelves with rows and rows of law text, regulations, interpretation and rulings used to line many hallways. Major firms had entire law libraries with thousands of square feet of bookshelves, law books dating back to the 1800s, and ample space for research. However, over the past twenty years those symbols of firm stability have been almost entirely replaced by online resources. There is a growing realization that not only are most law libraries seldomly utilized, and that they may now portray old-school thinking not in line with modern technology, there are also economic considerations. Just a 500 ft2 space can cost the firm $150,000 at a $30/ft2 annual rent figure over a 10 year lease. If this amount was invested in technological upgrades how much more efficient would attorneys and legal assistants be in accessing legal information online?

“Mobile devices allow research from almost anywhere, while wireless connections facilitate printing and collaboration. There is also a growing use of legal outsourcing, either in the form of legal staffing companies or offshore research.”

In the October issue of Arizona Attorney, we’ll have some content on mobile lawyering (though we still love libraries!).

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