When you’re designing a law office, first impressions are extremely important. After all, clients seek your firm out for help with legal issues where they share very sensitive information with you.
It’s vital that your office’s interior design and office furniture presents the impression that your firm is professional and trustworthy, so that potential and existing clients feel reassured when they walk into your office for a consult, and not turned off or unsure that they can rely on you.
In addition to a law office design that looks reputable in your client-facing areas, it’s also vital that the essential elements of your modern law office be designed well for the efficiency and productivity of your team. Being a lawyer can be a stressful job, with long hours, so creating a space where your team can feel comfortable spending a lot of their time is paramount. Use our 3D space planning services at Juniper to help you design the work environment most suitable for your workforce.
How Can a Floor Plan Help Law Offices Be More Efficient?
The floor plan for any office––law firm or not––can have a direct effect on the workplace environment, as well as the quality and quantity of the work that gets done there.
Unfortunately, in a poorly designed office, an employee can spend more time navigating the disruptions than on doing the work.
- Too much noise and your team can’t focus.
- Too quiet and it might not look or feel like a workplace anymore.
- Too closed off and it could create a stuffy, stifled feeling for your team.
- Too open and it might start to feel overcrowded, or like there is no real privacy.
Every type of floor plan has its own pros and cons, and you absolutely have to consider them all, especially when designing a legal office layout or building plan. The interior office floor plan has to be carefully considered to ensure everyone on the legal team can work effectively, and still utilize discretion when required.
For instance, you might need to have a private office for each higher up so that they can hold private meetings with potential clients, whereas the research team might need a coworking space to bounce ideas off of each other to make sure nothing is missed.
Many law firms have resisted the idea of an open floor plan because of the nature of the industry and the privacy required when speaking with clients, but it can certainly be helpful for research teams and collaborating on a tough case.
Additionally, more law firms are trending toward creating the same-sized office spaces throughout the building, to help eliminate potential distractions like jealousy because one team member has a larger office than another. Knowing how to set up a coworking space could be incredibly beneficial and knowing the difference between a coworking office vs office could be beneficial as well.
Ultimately, the floor plan design of a law firm can directly affect the capacity of each individual to work efficiently, and by having a designated space for everything, you can help take the focus away from mundane tasks and actually give people a chance to focus on the important stuff.
What are the Best Law Office Floor Plan Design Ideas?
While there are no ‘rules’ per se, there are certainly some tips to keep in mind as you begin to design your law firm layout.
Install Proper Lighting
This tip is really for designing any office, whether it’s a law firm or not; always, always install proper lighting. Every space should be thoroughly illuminated as it creates a sense of clarity and professionalism.
The human brain often associates dark spaces with sinister and bad things, whereas light-flooded places are often considered good and clean; always consider this when designing.
Any and all sources of natural light should be utilized as much as possible. Additionally, make sure the floor plan is created while keeping in mind the direction of the light.
For example, a conference room should have ample illumination to create an inviting environment; a coworking space should have multiple lighting fixtures so that each individual has at least one light source they can adjust to suit their unique needs.
Include Glass Walls and/or Partitions
While on the topic of maximizing light in a law firm, another tip to mention is incorporating glass walls in your design. While it’s understandable that all rooms may not be able to have glass walls for the sake of privacy, that doesn’t mean some can’t.
Some rooms––such as meeting or conference rooms––can benefit from the sense of transparency and openness that glass walls create while still offering privacy and a soundproof environment, especially in a law firm. Glass walls can not only make the room appear and feel larger than it is, it can also make the area surrounding the room appear more open, too.
If you’re using a cubicle workstation setup in your startup office design, glass partitions can help offer similar effects.
Be Clever with Color
For a law firm, colors can be extremely helpful in giving an office space a sense of professionalism and intelligence, possibly with a hint of luxury, without compromising on style or going overboard with it.
To do this in a subtle way, always keep color theory in mind. Some colors, such as blue, are often associated with productivity and professionalism, whereas the combination of black and gold is often associated with money.
A hint of bold color in the right places can ignite sparks of creativity, however these bolder colors should not be overdone, and always be balanced out by neutral colors.
Maximize Your Floor Space
In many law offices, management will always try to reduce floor costs as much as possible and it’s no secret that a larger law firm needs a lot of people for grunt work. However, your floor space can be maximized if designed efficiently.
To do it, you need to first determine the various needs of your law firm. Ask yourself some questions, like:
- How many meeting and conference rooms do you need?
- How many private offices will you need?
- How many storage spaces will be necessary?
- How many team members do you expect to utilize coworking spaces?
Once you have this data, you can then more efficiently distribute the floor space and utilize every square inch of your law office to the best of your ability.
Remember that though coworking spaces can be one of the best ways to utilize your office space, and some people might work better fitting into a coworking space instead of working in individual offices, you should still respect your team’s individuality and the privacy of your clients.
Design a law office that includes smaller booths and work rooms where people can go to focus on the task at hand, or work on something in private, and have offices reserved for client meetings that respect their privacy, in addition to open lounge areas and coworking areas.
Consider Your Team’s Physical and Mental Health
A law office floor plan design should also consider the physical and mental wellbeing of your team members and try to support them as much as possible. A design that treats employees like mindless machines will undoubtedly harm their mental health, as well as their physical wellbeing.
To take this into consideration, create a design that includes ergonomic furniture that supports the body while working; include some relaxation areas where your team members can take breaks and relax, and a kitchenette or coffee bar for snacks. You can even incorporate plants into the design of the law firm as plants are well-known to help relieve stress and foster calm.
Don’t Skimp on Your Tech Needs
Every design for a law firm must consider the various technical accessories that are necessary for your office to work smoothly and seamlessly, and incorporate those things into the design, rather than adding them as an afterthought.
For example, you can design a designated printer station, with enough space for a couple of people, as well as the accessories required for printing. Similarly, your conference room can include whiteboards or smartboards, as well as audio and visual systems.
Consider Your Maintenance Costs
While designing a law firm floor design, the cost of maintenance for your various design elements should also be kept in mind. Look for furniture items that are made of durable, long-lasting materials so that maintenance is as low as possible.
Choose paint options that are easy to keep up with and touchup, flooring that is durable, and be willing to spend a little more upfront to keep costs down over the long term.
Designing an efficient law firm layout is no easy task and there are a lot of considerations to be made. Take your time, and design it right the first time. Partner with Juniper office furniture solutions for all of your space planning and office renovation needs. You’ll save yourself a ton of money and headaches in the long run!