Cool Cribs: The Apple of Law Firms
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox's clients range from Apple and Google to Cirque du Soleil. So when the IP boutique recently remodeled, the new space had to be as innovative as the clients.
We took a tour with COO Rob Burger and managing partner Mike Ray. The firm stayed at 1100 New York Ave, where it's been for 21 years, but added another floor and 33,000 square feet. To make the reception area behind them more welcoming, they hired a concierge, whose job is to stay out in front of the desk, interacting with visitors. (She kindly offered us a cappuccino.)
Here's a panned-out view of the reception area—no wood paneling or mahogany in sight. The ceiling panels add decoration and more importantly, sound-dampening, to the open office. The firm consulted with sound engineers about how to minimize noise traveling, and has many engineers itself, with more than 60 of its 170 lawyers and IP experts holding PhDs in science or engineering. (We assume the walls are reinforced to hold all the diplomas.)
We made a beeline for the game area, where Rob and Mike demonstrated their skills on the shuffleboard table. Nearby is skeeball and a pingpong table (which Mike brought from home). Since the firm represents many tech companies, they've given the office more of a West Coast tech company feel. There's even a light, glass-walled room around the corner for training.
These top-of-the-line coffee machines behind Rob are manned by two full-time baristas. It's a first-of-its-kind service for DC law firms, though there are rumors that others may follow in Sterne Kessler's lead. (We can vouch for the Franke FM800's excellent espressos.) Rob tells us they invite clients to stop by when they're in town, grab a coffee, and relax in one of the many communal areas (or play a round of skeeball), even if they don't have a meeting with the firm.
Here's a before-and-after we snapped in one unfinished section of hallway. (It's the closest we've ever been to time traveling.) Offices are glass-walled with partial frosting, while the numerous conference rooms have privacy shades. Gensler did the architecture, HITT was the general contractor, and C2C was the project manager.