Law firms were unable to sidestep the wrath of the pandemic, as was the case for nearly all office-using tenants, particularly those located in downtown areas with a high dependence upon mass transportation.
However, unlike many other office tenants, law firms – particularly local and regional firms – were quick to reduce or eliminate their work from home strategies. Private offices, a staple of law firm office design, significantly reduced social distancing concerns allowing for a faster return to the office than other industries.
Despite the quick return, the pandemic’s impact will be seen for years to come as firms reassess their traditional ways of doing business. Flexibility will remain paramount, whether it’s early termination/contraction language added into a lease agreement or a functional change in the design of the office that will allow them to easily demise a portion of their space in order to sublease it.
In addition, productivity will remain a key metric in a firm’s assessment of its space needs. While many lawyers and employees have been as productive, if not more so during the pandemic, uncertainty remains whether these levels are sustainable over the long run.
We recently conducted a survey with our advisors on the opportunities and challenges facing law firms in a COVID-19 environment and have compiled those results in this North America Law Firm Services Group | 2021 Spotlight Report.