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When Andrew Glincher, CEO of the Global 100 law firm Nixon Peabody, broke the news to his attorneys in Washington, D.C. that he was remodeling and that everyone’s office was going to be the same size, he got some pushback.
“I had a couple of people that didn’t want to give in,” Glincher said “I finally said to them, ‘All of your colleagues are doing this. If you think you need a bigger office than your colleagues, I guess that’s OK.”
But Glincher made it clear he was not thrilled with the concession. He informed the recalcitrant space hogs that they would be required to pay the difference each month between what their space was costing the firm and what the smaller uniform spaces were costing.
“Nobody took me up on it,” Glincher said of his offer.
That was in 2015. Since then, Nixon Peabody has equalized its offices in Los Angeles and in New York City. This January, the firm’s offices in San Francisco and Boston will get the same treatment. Glincher says it’s all about developing a work space that demonstrates the firm’s unique values and culture.
“The idea is to send a message: We’re all equal it doesn’t matter what your job is, everybody is treated with the same respect,” Glincher said. “I have the same discussions with the folks in the mail room. It doesn’t make a difference.”
In Washington, D.C., the average size of the offices is 140 to 150 square feet. In San Franciso, offices will average about 120 square feet. There are some architectural challenges – beams and other obstacles – but the space is gutted to start from scratch for the best chance to achieve parity among office spaces.
Crain’s New York Business noticed Nixon Peabody’s renovation in 2017. The law firm’s office was named one of Crain’s 5 coolest offices in New York for 2018.
Crain first described the incredible views of Midtown from the Nixon Peabody space, writing, “Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a 360-degree view of the cityscape, and glass walls allow sunlight to permeate the Perkins & Will-planned digs.”
The New York business publication next recognized Glincher’s equal-spaces-for-all approach: “The company also has used its space to break down traditional hierarchal barriers. Corner offices have been eschewed in favor of meeting rooms outfitted with standing desks, and collaboration rooms are scattered throughout to encourage lawyers across disciplines to brainstorm.”
Glincher extends his groundbreaking approach to attire, favoring business casual for both men and women.
“The clients I’ve served and continue to serve, most of them like the business casual approach,” Glincher said. “If I walked in with a tie, they’d cut it off.”
If he’s asked to speak somewhere, Glincher usually dons a suit and tie, but sometimes goes with an open shirt. On Fridays in the summer, it’s blue jeans and a golf shirt for the CEO.
“I really try to encourage people to come up with new ideas and do things differently,” Glincher said. “We don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. Giving people freedom has created a much more innovative culture.”
Glincher says his approach has resulted in more than transparent offices and casual dress.
“If you look at the Top 100 law firms only 30 percent had positive income improvements two years in a row,” he said. “In 2016-2017, we were one of them. You can never point to one thing, but I think a working environment and culture of collaboration are important.”
December 30, 2018 at 06:22PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs