When leading Dunedin law firm Gallaway Cook Allan moved uptown to what might be loosely termed the city’s ‘warehouse district’, eyebrows were raised among both their professional colleagues and – perhaps – the firm’s clients, too.
But there was nothing to fear, despite the fact that the move was one that took the firm boldly both into the past by way of its relocation but, much more importantly, into the future in terms of it’s growth, adoption of a paperless operation and a high-tech, campus-cool atmosphere.
Moving from premises spread over five floors downtown, the firm took the bold step of moving into the warehouse precinct with a move that has stimulated continued development into the area by other businesses.
Gallaway Cook’s requirements required a buy-in from the building owner, but he was happy to develop something into an exciting space for the firm to work. With a small group of three partners, CEO Matt Gorman the team moved ahead with the plan that pushed the boundaries both design-wise and in terms of what some of the older partners were expecting.
It worked and it worked well. The clients are happy. The lawyers are happy. And the designers and architects are happy with accolades and awards following the move.
Gallaway Cook Allan CEO Matt Gorman (pictured above at front in ‘the move’ to the new offices) has worked in offices in the UK, Europe and the United States and says the new space in Dunedin “is as good as anywhere I’ve every worked”.
The modern space in the older quarter resemble something quite different from the traditional law firm.
Using the natural light and space of the warehouse permitted the firm to create similarly light and open space, suitable for clients and lawyers alike.
With a large floor plate of 1800 square metres with the central atrium and the division of spaces, the light, airy offices create a special feeling of space for those working or visiting the area.
As well, the firm was able to make the most of the natural finishes, like brick and timber, evidenced in the boardroom area.
The firm’s strong move into a technically advanced, paperless office environment has also seen cloud-based phone and practice management systems and touch screens in meeting rooms and a huge, markeable screen in the boardroom (below).
The space has a ‘public hub’ and a ‘winter garden’ which is described as an ‘ambiguous space’ where both staff and clients can mix, creating what Matt Gorman says is a friendly, welcoming environment.
The working hub is open plan, but the firm were well aware that some partners did not want to sit and work in open spaces, leaving a 50/50 split with 10 offices and four ‘pods’ in the open plan space with sit-or-stand offices.
As well, there are separate areas to meet as well as library space.
“There are plenty of places to go to meet or talk,” says Matt Gorman.
The firm has gone so far as to set up it’s own beer in the Wintergarden, creating something that is both unique for the firm, as well as the clients and creates a social atmosphere with a distinctive point of difference.