In an article highlighting how law office environments are evolving, the Commercial Observer discussed Katten's New York workplace and the changing layouts of legal offices with Chris DiAngelo, managing partner of the firm's New York office, and Scott Vetri, partner and chair of the firm's New York Real Estate practice.
The Commercial Observer offered an overview of several factors underlying the trend toward new legal workplace designs, which are increasingly implementing a range of office configurations that are downsizing individual workspaces, providing more shared spaces for collaborative work and group gatherings, and offering amenities and settings that support employee well-being. Further, the article underscored that ongoing changes in the legal industry will continue to prompt law firms to rethink their office space.
The article pointed out several features of Katten's New York office located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, including its on-site cafeteria and sitting areas, "grab-and-go pantries" on all practice floors, ample conference space and rooms, and, most notably, outdoor terraces. Individual offices in Katten's New York space "offer mute testimony to the uncertain world law offices now live in," according to the Commercial Observer, which noted that every individual office is the same size. While some offices are assigned to attorneys who come in daily, other offices are used sparingly.
"We still don't know — we, the industry, not just this firm — what the future of Manhattan office work is going to be," Chris told the Commercial Observer. It noted that Chris was instrumental in relocating Katten's New York team from the firm's longtime office at 575 Madison Avenue to the Rockefeller Center location in April 2022. The move coincided with the launch of KattenFlex, which is the firm's flexible return-to-office policy.
Touching on the pandemic-driven transition to remote-work arrangements, the Commercial Observer explained that many firms considered the concept of hoteling — which eliminates assigned seating and makes space available for employees to reserve on a daily or weekly basis.
"We did explore hoteling. And we did implement hoteling, but probably not to an extreme," Scott said. He indicated that Katten would continue to consider hoteling "as our space needs may evolve."
"How One Manhattan Firm's Office Reflects Big Changes in the Legal Industry," Commercial Observer, November 22, 2022