Square foot costs divided into occupancy costs calculate an in-house lawyer’s office footprint

A month ago this blog dropped the bombshell that facilities costs for US law departments range around $25 per square foot (See my post of Jan. 29, 2009: based on US office rates nationwide.). That post left room to ask: “What is the typical square footage used by a US in-house lawyer?”

Glad you asked. Data from the Altman Weil 2008 Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey at 144, tells us that median “occupancy expenses” per lawyer range around $16-$18,000 per year. The upper quartile figures climb 50 percent above that range. So, if $25 per square foot is a reasonable figure for office rent and if $17,000 a year is the occupancy cost of a US lawyer, that means the lawyer enjoys has an office (and appropriate allocation of hallway, conferences rooms and other spaces) of about 700 square feet. The office itself is likely to be the major portion of that expense.

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