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    July 24, 2008  
 
 

LAW FIRM LIFE
IN GEORGETOWN


 

Some may think the only businesses in Georgetown are sleek bars, clothing boutiques, and upscale cupcake vendors. And that if just possibly there's a law firm, it must be a row house furnished in mahogany and paintings of fox hunts. Fair readers, let Katten disabuse you of that dated perception with the following tour.

 

Yesterday we joined managing partner Roger Furey, right, to see the firm's new 2900 K Street abode, which its 57 lawyers moved into Monday. The 72,000 sf space sits just across the street from its former home of 18 years on Thomas Jefferson Street, but now has even better views of the Potomac and a decidedly hip neighbor, the new Swedish Embassy (aka House of Sweden). In keeping with what appears to be a new arms race among firms for coolest reception-area art, Roger and Eric Kuwana, Deputy Chair of the firm-wide litigation practice, show us the Katten entry—giant slabs of onyx sandwiched around adjustable lighting. The space, designed by Gensler, takes up three floors of the new building and includes space for 90 attorneys—a number Roger thinks Katten may reach in the next three years. Appropriately, 2900 K is owned by a real estate fund of Katten client the Carlyle Group.

 

Behind the lobby, the entire second floor is given over to conference rooms. The desire for the modern-day conference center was one of the reasons Katten didn't renew its lease at the old building (also: improved HVAC and contiguous space). We propose calling this nook the Kitty Katten Lounge. The conference rooms aren't quite ready for prime time, as their marble tabletops made it safely over from Greece but got damaged on the truck ride from Jersey to Chicago, where they were to be customized to accommodate telephone hookups and—not a misprint—inlaid paper shredders.

 

A touch of old school: Roger made sure the office had an actual library with these old-time reference things called books, which are made of printed pages that are pasted together with bindings and . . . oh, never mind. Here Roger pretends to be interested in the U.S. Code with librarian Louire Russell.

 

Offices along the east side jut out over Rock Creek, where partners report a surprising amount of kayak traffic during the day. Every touch of landscaping along the creek bed had to be approved by the National Park Service. Roger, who's litigated 20 years in intellectual property cases, now appreciates a whole new universe of regulation.

 

Eric sat on the four-partner design committee that tended to details like the ledges on secretarial stations. They're slanted to make signing documents easy—and also to keep them clean. Just try to pile a stack of accordion folders on that and watch what happens.

 

The tile work in the kitchen has been getting rave reviews, with a few attorneys finding inspiration for home projects. This was one last important stop on our tour, having nothing to do with Katten's 15-year tradition of putting out bagels and donuts twice a week, including moments before we snapped this picture.

 
 
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