Charles Russell Speechlys makes 'significant' investment in City HQ in agile working push

Charles Russell Speechlys is moving its litigation and dispute resolution department into a newly fitted-out floor in the firm’s London headquarters, in a bid to encourage its staff and partners to embrace agile working.

The ninth floor of the firm’s 5 Fleet Place offices (pictured) has been redesigned as an ‘agile-ready’ space, with 92 permanent desks for fee earners and secretaries and 46 other hotdesk positions in a variety of setups.

The firm took back the 10,700 sq ft space last year, having previously sublet it to two occupiers in 2009.

Construction sector head David Savage has overseen the project, which began last summer.

He said: “We’re not breaking the link between an individual lawyer and their desk at this point, but we want to encourage people to move around more. It’s not just an office fitout project – this is how we think the office working environment should be for our lawyers in the future.”

The firm is also revamping the technology available to the department, with all permanent desk positions fitted with a sit/stand desk and all fee-earning staff offered agile devices of either a laptop or tablet.

Savage declined to comment on the total cost of the revamp, but described the investment as “significant”.

He added: “It’s intended to demonstrate to our people what a positive collaborative working environment looks and feels like, with an emphasis also on their personal wellbeing – hence the adoption of 100% sit/stand desks, for example.”

Property litigation partner Emma Humphreys has also worked on the project, with the firm engaging office fitout company Overbury as its contractor and Harmsen Tilney Shane as workplace designer.

Charles Russell Speechlys managing partner James Carter said: “We saw this as an excellent opportunity to look at how the business needs to operate in the future and how our people want to work.

“The flexible space it offers gives us increased collaboration and deeper relationships, essential to the growth of the business going forward.”

The firm, which was formed by the November 2014 merger of Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham, last year saw revenue grow 3% from £140m to £144m, with partner profits up 8% from £393,000 to £426,000, and earlier this year it sealed a merger with City sports law boutique Couchmans.