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Office layout, law department productivity, and how not to design a law department

Deep in a story about Computer Associates’ law department, Corp. Counsel, Vol. 13, April 2006 at 93, nestles this sad description of the 50-or-so-lawyer department’s one-time configuration:

“The office itself was poorly organized, an impersonal, wide-open space with cubicles, where even the most privileged conversations were easily overheard. Lawyers had desks, but few had offices, so they had to keep confidential documents locked in drawers at all times.”

No doubt, desks for lawyers is a best practice. The new general counsel, Kenneth Handal, set about to give lawyers private offices, “neatly stenciled lettering on glass doors,” and “conference rooms designated for exclusive use by the legal staff.” Many in-house attorneys do not know how fortunate they are.

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