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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

GIVE ‘EM SPACE - As tumbleweeds blow by their reception desks, most law firm leaders are contemplating shrinking their office space—or wondering if they even need it at all anymore. But in the southeast, at least two firms are bucking that trend. As Meredith Hobbs reports, Barnes & Thornburg and Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry just expanded their offices in Raleigh and Atlanta, respectively. The two firms’ expansion plans were in the works before COVID-19 threw the industry a curveball, and both firms shifted course to design for the likelihood of remote work as a permanent feature, which included shrinking the amount of individual space per timekeeper. Still, Barnes & Thornburg’s Raleigh managing partner Allen Baum and Chamberlain’s longtime Atlanta leader David Aughtry both remain convinced that office work is a necessary ingredient for success. “I worry about the professional environment and the intensity of interaction,” Aughtry said of remote work. “You can’t make strong lawyers out of people working from home in gym shorts.”

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