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Tucker Ellis Customer Case Study

Our old space was quintessential
‘old-school law firm’ in design and function,
featuring a lot of dark wood and heavy furniture.
Moving to these new offices has been
a total night and day switch.

Details shine with Silea Casegoods, Attract Executive Seating, and Camille Guest Seating.



Design Firm: ASD ARCHITECTS
Location: Cleveland, OH

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When Cleveland law firm Tucker Ellis outgrew its original offices in the old Huntington Building at 925 Euclid Avenue in the heart of downtown, the firm’s management knew two things for certain. First, Tucker Ellis wanted to remain downtown. Second, it wanted to be an active contributor to the city’s redevelopment efforts.

“Starting in 2005, we looked at every available, existing downtown space,” recalls David C. Hargis, Tucker Ellis’ Chief Operating Officer. “Nothing we saw met our needs. We realized we needed new construction.

That’s when the still nascent Ernst & Young office tower project, part of Cleveland’s Flats East Bank revitalization project, caught the firm’s eye.

“It was the perfect way for us to support and stay in downtown and continue our investment in Cleveland,” Hargis says.

Situated strategically on the Flats East Bank where the Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie, the glass-clad Ernst & Young tower is the first multi-tenant office building constructed in downtown Cleveland in 20 years. In June 2013, the firm moved 245 employees to the new offices and has since grown to boast 128 lawyers, 109 administrative staff members and 39 paralegals for a total of 276 employees now in the space. With this move, Tucker Ellis becomes one of two main tenants – along with Ernst & Young -- in the 23-story, 400,000-square-foot, Class-A office building, which now is more than 90 percent occupied.Spanning four floors, 8-11, for a total of 108,000 square feet in the new office tower, the firm’s space represents more than just a change of address. It also marks a dramatic change in tradition and style.

“Our old space was quintessential ‘old-school law firm’ in design and function, featuring a lot of dark wood and heavy furniture. Moving to these new offices has been a total night and day switch,” Hargis notes, as he gestures to the bright walls and perimeter offices with floor-to-ceiling windows.

The outer perimeter provides a true, stunning 360-degree view of the city, the banks of the twisting and turning Cuyahoga River and the wide, open expanse of Lake Erie. Every window offers an interesting vantage point of the city and its environs.Not only is the new space brighter than the old, but it’s also more efficiently planned. In the former headquarters, offices varied in size, with some as large as 20 by 12 feet, depending on a lawyer’s rank within the firm. As in many traditional firms, Tucker Ellis’ office sizes in the Huntington Building connoted a sense of hierarchy, with partners boasting larger spaces than associates.

With the move to the newly constructed headquarters, the firm’s design committee, in conjunction with architecture firm, ASD Architects out of Atlanta, changed the game. The attorney offices, all lining the glass perimeter, are the same size, measuring in at 10 by 14 feet – even the corner offices.

“We fielded concerns about the reduced office sizes before we moved in,” recalls Denae Wunderle, Tucker Ellis’ director of office administration and human resources, who spearheaded the move. “Those concerns vanished when our lawyers saw the new space.”

In the search for just the right furniture solution for the attorneys’ offices, the facility design team turned to a client, contract furniture leader HNI Corporation, for inspiration using vignettes designers from ASD created using products from different HNI companies. The firm selected office and conference room solutions from Gunlocke, long known for designing and producing fine-quality wood furnishings. Tucker Ellis’s Los Angeles office installed Gunlocke’s Medley line in its space roughly five years ago, but the Cleveland headquarters required something a little more flexible for the small office footprints. The answer? Silea.

All Silea configurations feature easy-to-access, integrated power and data features for clean, simple wire management, giving the lawyers the ability to place technology anywhere on the worksurface. The casegoods also are constructed from Gunlocke’s signature, durable and attractive engineered wood. These features further sold Hargis and the design team on the line.

Because the Silea line can be configured in many ways, Tucker Ellis decided to offer its attorneys four different storage and workspace layout options. The firm also offered, for each option, the choice of a standard work surface or an adjustable sit-to-stand feature. Three of the four options were u-shaped. Storage size and options varied among the layouts, combining mixes of overhead and lateral storage.

"The most popular option has been the sit-to-stand solution,” Hargis says. “Now, those who didn’t initially choose it are asking if they can switch to it.”

Since the move, Tucker Ellis already has added 23 new attorneys and additional support staff. It’s now in the process of building out an additional half floor of space on the 7th floor.

“In this move, we took an exceptionally bold step in our design and in the fact that we standardized the size of our private offices,” Hargis says. “Now that we’ve lived in the space for a year, we all agree that there isn’t much we would change about it. The more efficient floor plan and the furniture have worked out for us and will continue to work as we continue to grow.”

 

SLEEK AND EFFICIENT

This compact design drove the furniture selection, as the sleek, efficient office spaces couldn’t hold the traditional, heavy wood “lawyer” desks, credenzas and bookcases. Attorneys’ offices needed to be streamlined, yet efficiently planned for workspace and storage needs. Reduced storage is offered in each office, thanks to a firm-wide push to move to increasingly more electronic file storage options and more efficient onsite central filing systems, as well as offsite options for longterm needs.

 

A FLEXIBLE APPROACH

Silea, a forward-thinking casegoods collection, provides the customizable flexibility Tucker Ellis required in its new lawyers’ offices. It also allowed the firm to maintain consistent design integrity from office to office, thanks to the collection’s scalability of footprint and sleek, modern aesthetics.

 

CONNECT AND COLLABORATE

Gunlocke’s contributions to this new, modern space didn’t stop at private offices. The company also installed Converge conference tables, featuring custom granite or glass tops, in several conference rooms, including a large, centerpiece table with a tapered granite top in a videoconferencing center.