A satisfied client is given a tour of the firm's new office
Firms should have less flashy offices to enable them to lower their fees, say in-house lawyers in RollOnFriday's survey.
"I hope firms take on learnings from the pandemic," said a senior in-house lawyer in banking. "We don't care if you have chosen to lease fancy city centre offices - it doesn't benefit us so we won't be impressed when you increase rates because of it."
"We don't mind where your lawyers are based (most of the time I have no idea!) so stop trying to charge twice as much for an NQ based in the South when I get better service and quality from a cheaper, more qualified lawyer who happens to be in the North," added the in-house lawyer. "The pandemic has shown that, when everyone is working from the even keel of their box rooms, quality should be the driver for reward, not location."
Another in-house lawyer agreed that firms should allow "more virtual working by lawyers" and "get rid of the willy waving ostentatious offices" in order to "pass the cost savings" to the client.
"Wfh has demonstrated over the last 18 months that firms don't have to show off with palatial City HQs," said another client.
"It seems a dick move to make private practice lawyers completely revert to life as it was in 2019, unless they are weird and want to be knackered, stuck in traffic and then wondering about who brought the stinky lunch into the office," said another respondent.
"Lawyers, like other businesses, shouldn't be using offices in the same way as they did pre-COVID," said another respondent. "We want to instruct firms that have a similar mindset to the way we'll work in the future, so they are in tune with us, embrace technology and don't appear to be out of touch".
Of course, firms that signed up to long leases for brand-spanking new offices prior to the pandemic, will be locked in for a while. And many staff accustomed to working in comfortable surroundings back in the office, may not welcome a change in quality, location or ditching the office swimming pool. So disgruntled in-house lawyers may have to put up with attending meetings at firms with floor to ceiling views over the City in lavish surroundings for some time.
Are you an in-house lawyer? Then please, take RollOnFriday's poll for in-house lawyers: