Clifford Chance eyes £1m of savings with trial of open-plan working

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  • So, people, having spent all this time navel-gazing have we discovered anything other than some superfluous belly-button fluff?

    Thought not.

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  • I think complex drafting requires silence, or something close enough. I know senior associates who struggle to draft even when their doors are closed because the secretaries outside are loud. Comparisons to other professions is unfair. Work in investment banking is far more collaborative than law, which is often quite solitary. I accept this will vary to some extent from department to department.

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  • Since when was investment banking a profession?

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  • Open plan working is prevalent across many professional services firms. For every egotistical antagonist to vetoes OP working, I can show you a moduso operandi of the benefits and efficiencies gained to workflow. RE sector, Accountancy, strategy houses and funds clients are all engaged in OP working. Noise get used to it, its a way of working and remember OP + efficiency = increased PPP

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  • No longer are law firms hugely profitable, cash-rich organisations. Of course open plan does have a cost-saving element to it, but one born of necessity for the growing majority of firms these days. Better to be open plan than to have your own corner office and no cash to pay drawings. Law firms are just businesses and are (finally) having to operate with the same level of economic discipline as every other business sector on the planet as competition increases, clients get more sophisticated and cash availability is reducing. So long as open space is properly planned and done to the right quality, it isn't anything like a call centre - it's just more flexible space with more income generated per square foot. Nothing to worry about - it's just sensible business management.

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  • Unbelievable comments on thread - what makes lawyer's work as so special that they are unable to work in an OP space?!

    I have worked open plan for sometime at a large city firm, I actually prefer it, encourages people to be tidier. There are quiet rooms if you need it or headphones for those who need to drown out noise. Yes some people moan but in my experience many people moan about any change.

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  • I moved a team doing professional indemnity litigation, some of it substantial and document heavy, to open plan. Some of it was very intensive, document heavy work. I expected a backlash, but having looked at the office to which we were moving I considered that traditional rabbit hutches would be a disaster. I took the flak but after people had moved in, the only complaint I received was that it was too quiet! The whispering was distracting. So I made a point of not whispering. However, it does not save a lot of space. I think it is a better way to work, particularly for supervision, but it does not mean you can double thee number of people in a given space.
    So far as the comment about information barriers is concerned, if you are too close in open plan, you are probably too close anyway. It may work for client-imposed barriers but would not satisfy Chapter 4 of the Code.

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  • "Hello

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