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TheScientist101

Do lawyers ever have really "grand" offices?

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Posted (edited)

This is a totally random question, but I've been wondering it for a while and thought I would just ask the ls.ca hive. 

I noticed that Hollywood always portrays lawyers' offices (especially partner offices) as being very large and grand - normally consisting of a personal washroom, a couch, a meeting table a large desk etc. However, in my experience, lawyers offices are not often that large - or grand. They usually consist of a desk, some chairs and book shelves. Sometimes partner offices are marginally larger, and they may include one additional small table for in-office meetings but it's not noticeably better than other lawyers' offices. 

Do the offices portrayed in Hollywood lawyer movies/tv shows actually exist in real life?

I mean, if they do exist I could understand a justification for such an office is the lawyer is facilitating client meetings in their personal office. However, I don't think that lawyers ever actually meet clients in their personal office - normally we do that sort of thing in a firm board room. So, why would a firm even justify spending the money on something like really fancy partner offices? 

Like I said - it's a random question that has absolutely no bearing on anything really pertinent - and I'm assuming (like almost all things from Hollywood) these kinds of partner offices really don't exist, but I'm interested to know none-the-less. 

Edited by TheScientist101
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Criminal defence lawyers that charge very high fees sometimes have very spacious offices that they actually meet clients in. 

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I think you'd see this sort of thing at a smaller firm. If you have a lucrative practice and are setting up your own space, why not ball out?

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I was surprised by how not grand the partner offices in New York biglaw firms are.  Very, very ordinary. 

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5 minutes ago, NYCLawyer said:

I was surprised by how not grand the partner offices in New York biglaw firms are.  Very, very ordinary. 

Jails aren't known for being very grand.

 

;)

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A couple of the partners at my firm have very nice offices, but they brought in their own furniture. Otherwise, most partners, even senior ones, have the same desk chair combo as me, just larger and with more "stuff". 

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7 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Jails aren't known for being very grand.

 

;)

Fair point. But if Goodfellas taught me anything it’s that there are well heeled prisoners with better setups that well heeled biglawyers. 

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I once interviewed with a lawyer that had a very spacious office (large desk, chairs to sit in around the desk, sofas, a coffee table, and lots of space to spare). His office was effectively the entire floor of a 3 story townhouse with other lawyers occupying the other two floors. I know he has an assistant and other support staff but don't know where they work from as I didn't see any workstations for them.

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Agreed.  At best some older lawyers have some cool art. 

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6 minutes ago, msk2012 said:

I once interviewed with a lawyer that had a very spacious office (large desk, chairs to sit in around the desk, sofas, a coffee table, and lots of space to spare). His office was effectively the entire floor of a 3 story townhouse with other lawyers occupying the other two floors. I know he has an assistant and other support staff but don't know where they work from as I didn't see any workstations for them.

A lawyer I know has an office that looks like an architecture firm. Tons of light, standing desk, full-wall whiteboard, design table for client meetings. He owns the building he's set up in so he just did what he wanted. 

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Yes, there are lawyer offices that are very spacious and grand, and yes, some lawyers meet clients in them. But clients aren’t the only people that you might want to invite into your office. There are also other lawyers, media, accountants or other professionals, etc. Also some lawyers/partners figure that they spend so much time in their offices, they may as well make them enjoyable places to spend time. 

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4 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I feel like Providence providing that justification means she has a very grand office ;)

No, not at all, but I aspire to some day! 

I do have a window with a great view and I am good with that. 

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While going through the interview process on Bay I was invited into partner offices at a number of firms.. for the most part they were a little larger than the standard small associate office, had additional seating, sometimes cool art or impressice plants (in one firm large potted trees seemed to be popular lol). But certainly nothing like what is seen on Suits. I suppose the reception area of a handful of firms was Suits-esque but that would be the extent of it 

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I also interviewed at a handful of criminal law chambers(?) and found those offices to be much more impressive than those of the corporate lawyers 

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I've been at some small offices that are really nice. But I didn't see the individual lawyers' offices. They had great reception areas and we met in really nice boardrooms. There are client confidentiality issues in having outsiders into your actual office.

I did get into the personal office of a lawyer who has a firm in a really nice townhouse in Yorkville. The common areas were spectacularly designed, but his own office was ... a normal sized office with a desk computer and meeting table.

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8 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

 There are client confidentiality issues in having outsiders into your actual office.

Out of curiosity, what are the issues? It seems to be the norm for other professionals to meet clients in their own offices.

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You can't let people see client confidential information, so if you're going to be having people in your offices, you have to keep your desk clear of any of it. Much easier to meet in a boardroom and bring the one necessary file along.

Paperless offices will change that calculation, but most offices aren't there yet.

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Posted (edited)

No. We have equal natural light access rights for everybody so in many cases, if your office was renovated within the last 15 years or so, you may not even have a window.

Edited by Jaggers
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