ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY and easy-to-use technology is a major feature of Minter Ellison’s new fit-out in its Adelaide office. And in opting for a modern interior design, Minters hopes to change client expectations by setting itself apart from rival law firms.
Taking over the old home of the Federal and Family Court, Minters moved into client AMP’s Grenfell building six weeks ago, choosing to refurbish the existing premises both from a fashionable and green perspective.
“You can’t underestimate the environmental impact of building a new building. Recycling is very much something we have focused on,” said chief operating officer Steven Schuurmans.
“We’re all getting wiser on our impacts on the environment, and this was a real opportunity where we had the opportunity to make some choices, and we did take the green choices wherever we could.”
The largest firm in Adelaide, Schuurmans said it expanded from 150 staff to 250 in the past five years. Considering its size in the market, Minters felt it had to be smart about the way it allocated funds for a major refurbishment. But at the same time, it also wanted to differentiate itself from competitors.
“I researched so many law firms, and to be honest, they kind of all look the same,” Schuurmans said. “A big part of what we’re doing here in Adelaide is proving that not all law firms are the same.”
To that end, Minters elected polished concrete floors along with exposed air-conditioning ducts, cable trays and concrete ceilings. “It’s the type of fit-out where it’s not very ‘law firm’. It’s very ‘advertising agency’; breaking the mould sort of stuff.”
The firm has also redesigned its conference rooms, so that everything is wired together for the client’s convenience. The six boardrooms can open to one large conference room. But individually, they are networked with an AV system that allows an array of documents to be discussed and easily modified during client meetings.
“Every surface has a use, whether it’s an acoustic use, or it’s a whiteboard, or it’s got a big AV system,” Schuurmans said. “We can sit down with our clients, [with] the AV system fully networked, and work on their documents together.”
But despite substantial changes to the look of the office during the refurbishment, Minters took care not to alienate its potential client base.
“I think it’s smart without being opulent. In terms of the market that we work in, I think we have to be very clever about that so that it’s not overstated,” Schuurmans said.
The Adelaide refurbishment follows Minters’ installation of ‘green’ carpet on the client floor of its Sydney Office, as well as a firm-wide involvement in the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Challenge environmental program, which seeks to reduce electricity usage and CO2 emissions by businesses.