I’m typing this in a newsroom, the second-floor space of Law Bulletin Media’s River North building. I’m at my desk with the chair at the exact height I prefer and the computer screens cocked to the exact angle I want. My coffee’s in its proper spot. My computer wallpaper is the cover of a 1936 pulp called “The Whisperer,” although I’m thinking of changing it back to the cartoon of Superman getting tagged as Clark Kent on Facebook.
In short, I’m home.
This issue is all about the spaces where we work, the towers and offices where the legal practice happens in Chicago. The issue houses our second-ever Spaces survey, a look at the trends within legal office space in Illinois. What firms have multiple offices? What firms are considering uniform spaces? Who has a huddle room and how’s that working for them? We look at all those questions and more.
For the Spaces feature within the Spaces issue, we looked at McDermott Will & Emery, who moved from the Franklin Center at 227 W. Monroe St. in late March to the recently opened River Point at 444 N. Lake St. The international law firm is the anchor tenant in a building that has, since opening this year, changed the city’s skyline and became the Chicago home of firms including DLA Piper and Michael Best & Friedrich.
As always, if you have a space you’re proud of, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This issue also looks at a group trying to create a different kind of space, a restorative justice community court. In this innovative approach to justice, victim and nonviolent offender meet not in front of a judge and jury, but around a conference table to create a space to sit, talk and hash out their differences.
The Lawndale Christian Legal Center recently received a $75,000 grant to help Cook County make this happen. We sat down with the center’s Executive Director Cliff Nellis to talk about what this will mean for justice in the North Lawndale neighborhood.
Also taking law to a new space in this issue is Katten Muchin Rosenman associate Alyse Sagalchik, who once a month staffs the Katten legal clinic after hours at Jose de Diego Community Academy. Her story of pro bono volunteerism shows the impact lawyers can have, whether in the courtroom or the former nurse’s office of a Humboldt Park grade school.
Finally, two features that would stretch the Spaces metaphor to the breaking point, but are solid pieces of legal journalism I would be remiss if I didn’t mention. Staff writer Sarah Mansur dug deep to see how local banking and finance lawyers are advising their clients amid the Trump administration’s changing financial policies and appointments, and reporter Lauren Duncan looks at the future of court reporters. Jobs are plentiful and pay high, but courts and staffing agencies are having trouble finding young stenographers to replace retirees.
It’s an issue about the spaces where we work, and the work we produce there. It’s an issue about the spots we get to raise the chair, adjust the screen and set the wallpaper exactly the way we want to.
I hope you’re happy with the work you’re producing and the space you’re producing it in. I know I am.