Corner Offices Are Out; Collaboration Is In. Say Hello to the New Law Firm.

In January, the law firm Crowell & Moring traded its New York offices in an early 1980s building in Midtown Manhattan for a newly built space on the West Side, with sweeping views of the Hudson River and New York Harbor.

But the move was not just about gaining a better view. The law firm’s previous office layout was “essentially wasted space,” said Philip T. Inglima, the firm’s chairman. Crowell & Moring makes better use of the square footage in its new location, which includes features like sit-to-stand desks, video technology for hybrid meetings and double-pane glass for soundproofing, Mr. Inglima said.

Larger law firms nationwide have been shedding space even as they have added lawyers. The unexpected staying power of remote work has hastened the goal of many to downsize their real estate.

“We don’t have everybody in the office all the time, and that’s why we don’t necessarily need that larger footprint,” said Sharis A. Pozen, the law firm Clifford Chance’s regional managing partner, for the Americas.

The rule of thumb used to be 1,000 square feet per lawyer, but the new benchmark is closer to 600 square feet, said Thomas Fulcher, a vice chairman at Savills, the real estate services firm.

As a result, law firms are doing more with less.

Capacious corner offices, epitomized by shows like “Suits” and the 1980s hit “L.A. Law,” are rare, replaced with collaborative spaces and multimedia-equipped conference rooms. Lawyers of all seniority, including the so-called rainmakers, now sit in offices of similar size with uniform furniture.

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