According to a recent Cushman & Wakefield survey, roughly two-thirds of law firms polled spent 4-7% of gross revenue on real estate last year. While firms have been downsizing, some still spend millions of dollars on physical offices.
This year, however, the practice of law has greatly shifted with many lawyers utilizing virtual offices, live reception services and on-demand legal support in place of the traditional office setup. In fact, plenty of firms are looking to short-term extensions instead of long-term contracts, as the ups and downs in 2020 have caused many firms to seek flexibility in their future overhead costs.
Richard Gurak, a founding partner of Advitam IP, LLC, a U.S.-based but globally-focused intellectual property law firm that regularly receives referrals from roughly 30-plus different countries, says fancy office space is secondary to great counsel.
In 2012, after he and his business partner Michele Katz left their former AmLaw 100 firm, Husch Blackwell, to launch Advitam IP, they knew office space would be one of their top costs. They sought space in downtown Chicago with little overhead for which clients would be billed, a decision that dually allowed them to put more resources toward quality talent with many years of IP experience. They eventually outgrew their first location, moved to Amata Law Office Suites, a community of more than 700 attorneys and seven Class-A offices in downtown Chicago, and have since grown their firm to 15 attorneys and staff.
“Amata’s office ... is perfect for us,” Gurak said. “Not only for the location, but for the professional atmosphere that it provides us as well as multi-layers of staff and legal support services. … They absolutely tailor their services specifically to attorneys.”
Gurak prefers to spend time identifying experienced and dedicated lawyers to bring onto his team. He believes most clients value experienced attorneys’ services and people skills more than their physical office. He particularly thinks respect, organization and attention to detail are important, as these qualities often convey how attorneys represent their clients.
With Amata’s Class-A downtown office space, remote working technology, live receptionists, experienced paralegal team and community of more than 700 attorneys, he says Amata helps them raise the bar. He thinks his small but highly capable team is on par with big firms’ capabilities. In fact, they can adapt to important business changes in 24 hours or less, which could be a month-long process at a large firm.
“Amata is very fertile ground to plant those attorney-to-attorney relationship seeds to establish a strong referral network,” he said. “They are constantly striving to make themselves better. We plan on being here for quite a while.”
Call us or visit our website and take an online or in-person tour of one of our seven downtown Class-A spaces to learn how our legal support services can help you successfully grow your law practice.