Sherry Cushman, Executive Managing Director and Leader of the Legal Sector Advisory Group at Cushman & Wakefield, stopped by Phoenix on her 2017 National Symposium Tour. During her U.S. tour, Sherry took a deep dive into the National Legal Sector Benchmark Survey results and their impact on law firms across the country. From business development and technology to succession planning and future trends, attendees of the Symposium are well equipped for the evolving business and workplace of the future.
Putting an emphasis on company culture, millennials, technology and collaboration, Sherry says law firms in particular need to better maximize their office space. This may mean cutting back on the traditional larger offices for partners.
Big law firms in New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are starting to think outside the box by implementing more open floor plans with glass offices and moving away from traditional button-down locations. For example, heavyweight law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is moving to the new Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s West Side. Therefore, if the HQ office is more modern and forward thinking in its floor plans and office designs, that can spur the same trend in regional offices such as in Phoenix.
Blaine Black, Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, says the challenge is getting law firms to be risk takers and early adopters to new office space concepts. In regional legal markets, such as Phoenix, this is especially true where most law firms are located downtown, midtown or at Camelback and 24th Street with traditional office layouts.
In other sectors and businesses, including restaurants, it often takes a risk-taker to move forward with a new idea. However, that isn’t always common in the legal sector and in second-tier markets such as Phoenix. Sherry is seeing a trend with more innovative law firms following in the footsteps of technology and creative companies with smaller individual offices featuring more open collaborative spaces and designs aimed at technology and preferences of millennials.
At the end of the day, law firms needs to think about future workers (i.e. millennials) when they are scoping new office places and work spaces. All businesses, including law firms, have the same goals – recruit, retain and grow!
Sherry Cushman is an Executive Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield and is the Leader of the Legal Sector Advisory Group.