Lawyers have to make decisions on their offices: Make it nice? Or make it inexpensive? Rarely do the two concepts coincide.
We spend a lot of time in our offices. Other than our homes, this is it.
This came to mind when I saw an article in the Sunday real estate section of the Times on my old stomping ground: The Woolworth Building.
My office was on the 8th floor, overlooking Broadway (and ticker tape parades) and City Hall Park (and the people who’d shout and scream at Mayor Guiliani).
I loved that building. As I walked into the office each day through the lobby of this gothic style skyscraper — once the world’s tallest, with its vaulted mosaic ceiling, gargoyles, and crowds of tourists gawking at its magnificence — I couldn’t believe I actually worked there.
And I enjoyed going in to work. It made me feel good to be there. I was productive. And it was a fine contrast to the windowless office that I started my solo career in, with a big mirror that I bought to give it the illusion of something bigger than a glorified closet.
Since leaving the Woolworth, each of my offices has been nice. Spacious. Welcoming. With pictures of my family filling the walls. The diplomas are on the wall behind me, where I don’t need to look at them.
Today’s rumination isn’t just for those looking for offices for themselves, but those in charge looking for their staff. Do you want them to look forward to work or do you want them miserable coming in? While this formula isn’t ironclad, I think it has a lot of validity, both for lawyers and staff:
Comfortable office = productive lawyer
Don’t be cheap unless you absolutely have to. Remember how much time you’ll spend there, and make sure it’s a place you want to go to each day.
Great article. I’m in the Woolworth Building now and I love it.
I’m sure you both are aware that if you walk two blocks north along Broadway, to Warren, that what little remains of terminus of the very first subway system in New York City will be beneath your feet. The one-car, demonstration-only service was powered by compressed air, and ran for one block south, to Murray, underneath Broadway. It failed to catch on and was abandoned, later to be absorbed or demolished in other construction projects.
To me, this is much more interesting than the City Hall subway station which, though strikingly handsome, has been closed to the public for decades.
Ah, New York.
Ah, the things you learn by blogging about your office.