(Reuters) – Virtually each large legislation agency can brag about having places of work in cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
However what about locales off the crushed monitor, particularly glamorous ones just like the Hamptons, Aspen or St. Thomas?
As legal professionals hesitantly return to the workplace following the COVID-19 pandemic, a perennial legislation agency actual property query is getting a brand new twist: The place does it make most sense for big corporations to retain a bodily presence domestically?
The pandemic proved legal professionals can work from nearly anyplace successfully and effectively. However consultants inform me that doesn’t imply corporations trying to scale back overhead ought to rush to shutter their far-flung outposts.
If something, the other.
“I discover that corporations are extra versatile on small places of work nowadays with the main target actually on the expertise,” mentioned Lisa Smith, a principal at Fairfax Associates.
Take into account Greenberg Traurig.
In early 2022, the two,500-lawyer agency opened two new places of work on Lengthy Island, New York — one in Bridgehampton, well-known as a playground for the luxury and highly effective, and one in Backyard Metropolis (OK, not precisely paradise).
Govt chairman Richard Rosenbaum informed me the brand new outposts have aided the agency in attracting and retaining legal professionals “who not need to commute” into Manhattan.
Furthermore, the Bridgehampton workplace presents proximity to a shopper base of company principals, funding bankers and such who “due to the pandemic are more and more spending numerous time within the Hamptons,” he mentioned. “So-called small markets will be very precious to purchasers and finally precious to (authorized) expertise and the agency.”
As a advertising bonus, the brand new workplace is within the coronary heart of Bridgehampton on Montauk Freeway and incorporates a distinguished Greenberg Traurig signal. “We’ve gotten emails from actually everywhere in the world from individuals who noticed the signal asking ‘What, are you guys all over the place?’” Rosenbaum mentioned.
(So … a bit like a high-class model of plaintiffs’ legal professionals freeway billboards?)
Lengthy Island co-managing shareholder Brian Doyle mentioned the workplace can also be a success with colleagues visiting the Hamptons. Agency legal professionals from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Boston and Tel Aviv, in addition to those that usually work in Manhattan, have all made use of the area, which might accommodate greater than 20 legal professionals, he mentioned.
The Backyard Metropolis workplace, whereas missing in jet-setters, presents proximity to native courts and companies, plus a neater commute for Lengthy Islanders than schlepping to Manhattan.
Authorized marketing consultant R. Bruce McLean, a associate on the Zeughauser Group, known as Greenberg’s transfer “an attention-grabbing tactic” to encourage legal professionals to return to the workplace, however added, “A query is, are you able to be all over the place your legal professionals need to stay?”
Possibly not all over the place, however a number of different large corporations additionally supply legal professionals an opportunity to observe high-end legislation whereas dwelling in prime trip spots.
For instance, 800-lawyer Duane Morris has a small workplace in Truckee, California, a gold rush-era ski city close to Lake Tahoe, prompted by particular shopper wants.
With a number of ski areas together with Palisades Tahoe (previously often called Squaw Valley) and Alpine Meadows as purchasers, Duane Morris legal professionals within the occasion of a catastrophic or deadly damage — suppose snowboarder versus snowcat — can “get out to the resort at a second’s discover,” associate John Fagan informed me. That permits them to help with the investigation and speak to resort workers beneath the umbrella of attorney-client privilege.
Fagan, who received his begin as an affiliate engaged on an enormous wrongful dying swimsuit in opposition to Alpine Meadows after an avalanche there killed seven individuals in 1982, mentioned purchasers balked at paying legal professionals to drive 4 hours from San Francisco to Tahoe for depositions.
In response, Fagan’s predecessor agency Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft, which merged with Duane Morris in 2005, opened the Tahoe workplace 35 years in the past.
“I gladly volunteered” to work there, mentioned Fagan, an avid skier and considered one of two legal professionals plus a paralegal based mostly within the workplace close to the jap fringe of Truckee.
Holland & Hart’s Aspen workplace goes again even additional. It was the Denver-founded agency’s first regional outpost, launched in 1965 when Aspen’s growth was in its heyday.
Whereas ski business purchasers have been the preliminary driving drive, work now contains land use, actual property growth, environmental and pure sources and personal shopper providers, each regionally and as a part of firm-wide groups.
Companion Mark Hamilton is considered one of eight legal professionals and 4 employees who work from Aspen, the place the agency for many years has owned its workplace constructing on East Most important Road.
When Hamilton tells legal professionals exterior 400-lawyer Holland & Hart the place he’s based mostly, he mentioned their response is usually the identical: “Gosh, how’d you work that out?”
It’s not all champagne powder although. “The price of dwelling in Aspen makes it not a easy calculus, even for a profitable lawyer,” he mentioned. “It’s not for everybody.”
As a bonus, the 7,000-person city presents ample alternatives to rub shoulders with potential purchasers. Just like the Hamptons, a “disproportionate quantity” of the wealthy and highly effective “come via Aspen on a regular basis,” Hamilton famous. “It’s a gathering place for individuals from throughout.”
For legal professionals preferring solar to snow, it’s arduous to beat Ogletree Deakins’ workplace in St. Thomas within the U.S. Virgin Islands (a territory of america since 1917).
Companion Charles Engeman informed me he “packed up and moved to the Virgin Islands” 30 years in the past after quitting his job as an affiliate at Goodwin Procter in Boston.
He practiced with a neighborhood agency for 10 years, then joined 875-lawyer Ogletree to open a five-lawyer workplace in St. Thomas, the place he mentioned it stays the one Am Legislation 200 agency based mostly on income with a neighborhood presence. Workplace legal professionals give attention to defending employers, particularly these within the tourism business, in labor and employment issues.
Overlooking the good turquoise waters of Lengthy Bay, the workplace additionally makes a pleasant recruiting hook, Engeman added, with legislation college students typically asking “Oh, how do I get to that workplace?”
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