No-one who has been to the head office of a high-end law firm, can fail to be dazzled. The atriums can be 100 feet high. The conference facilities seat 300. The modern art is tasteful and transparently pricey. And it is all to wow clients and new hires.
"Law firm moves in London rank consistently as some of the largest and most valuable deals, according to property agent Cushman & Wakefield", reports the FT. Freshfields' new head office, for example, of 250,000 square feet is set to cost a reported £16.5m per year.
But how does this foot with hybrid work patterns and digital first interaction? If the staff aren't at the office, and neither are the clients, then engaging on-line is clearly critical in attracting talent and clients. So how much resource should be put in to that endeavour?
Given that the future is digital, and the digital tends to monopoly structures (see Amazon, Google and the rest), I would suggest that it would be extremely ill-advised to spend anything less than half of those off-line costs on digital operations.
The pandemic has freed up very considerable savings for law firms, but they must be reinvested or the digital reality will bite.