Philadelphia area law firms are reconsidering how they use their office spaces. Firms are re-examining the number of professionals that need to be in the office at any given time, as well as the types of spaces needed to conduct business. Not all firms, however, are looking to eliminate space. Some, for example, are looking to reduce storage space and to increase collaborative meeting and conference spaces.

From the Philadelphia Business Journal:

Weber Gallagher lawyers will eventually return to work at the firm’s headquarters at 2000 Market St. and no longer have a designated office. Instead, they must log onto an online portal to reserve one as if they were booking a hotel room. …

Law firms used to give attorneys larger offices as a reward as they advanced by bringing in business and taking on leadership roles. Some of those offices could be 250 square feet with four windows. Firms have always figured out how much space they needed by counting the number of lawyers and then figuring out how many windows were on each floor to correspond.

The advent of the personal computer gradually changed that approach — eliminating or greatly reducing the need for law libraries and paper file storage. Lawyer-to-secretary ratios have gone from 1-to-1 to 5-to-1 at many large and midsize firms, with plans for that number to hit 10-to-1 in the coming years. …

The relentless drive toward efficiencies over the past 20 years has led to a lot of empty space on the interior of floor plans. Law firms have flirted with interior lawyer offices, introduced a larger variety of collaborative work spaces and break areas, as well as cut back on individual lawyer office sizes, as most clients wind up being ushered into conference space. But not having a dedicated office at all is something new for lawyers.