Temporary offices for some short-term needs of law departments

A statement in Bus. Week, May 7, 2007 at 71, ought to astonish us all: “About 60% of the office space that companies pay so dearly for is now a dead zone of darkened doorways and wasting cubes.” On any given day, how many offices of legal departments sit empty as their occupant travels, telecommutes, roams the halls of clients, spends time at a law firm, or works on a flexible schedule?

The solution for many companies, as described in Business Week, is to turn to companies that provide for short periods professional-quality offices, with all the amenities of receptionists, conference rooms, lounges, and cappuccino makers. With companies like Britain’s Regus Group PLC, where offices are available in 950 locations in 400 cities around the globe, the model – pay for it if you use it on such things as video conferencing and support services – can “typically save about 30% over a permanent office.”

Notwithstanding cubicles for a few lawyers, the day has not come when law departments will shift from assigned offices to temporary, offsite hotelling. But the opportunity to forego the associated costs of using offices of expensive law firms – small items like associate rates – could be valuable for such variable and unpredictable uses as onsite discovery teams, M&A due diligence work and trials.

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