A fascinating study looked at collaboration on papers in terms of academics’ physical proximity. Professors and grad students who had offices near each other, it turns out, published papers of higher quality, as determined by subsequent citation counts of their papers. This quantification of proximity’s value appears in the Harvard Mag., May-June 2011 at 12-13.
When a department’s lawyers have offices near each other, they can informally learn from each other, share ideas, cross-pollinate. That potlatch of knowledge can be fertile as compared to small bands of lawyers in isolated offices around the globe. The trade-off is that lawyers next door to their clients probably create more value than lawyers next door to their lawyer colleagues.