As most of your know, I run a law firm that specialised helps people through their separation and divorce. I love my work and helping people through that part of their life, particularly because I have been there too. I also love my food and being creative, tying the two together has always been a challenge.
When someone is facing divorce and separation, it is a very stressful time, for most. I often find that clients are quite anxious to come in for an initial appointment for a variety of reasons, sometimes so much so that they are in tears by the time they sit down with me. They often express that they never imagined that they would ever be here, that they were nervous about getting legal advice or that they feel guilty for finding out what their legal rights are. All of that is understandable, no one gets married for it to end in divorce. If you have ever been there yourself, you may relate.
Last year when I was needing to move my office because we had grown and needed a bigger space, it gave me the opportunity to think about how I want clients to feel when they come in to get advice. I want clients to feel less stressed, empowered to make great decisions and comfortable being there. My first thoughts are, that a traditional law firm office would make me feel uncomfortable and intimidated which is the opposite to how I want our clients to fee. One of my favourite places to be is in a cafe. It is relaxing, fun, its a place to discuss everything that is happening in your life with a friend, you can help yourself to the paper and a water and sit where ever you please. That is the sort of environment that I wanted to create for the clients that come to our firm for help. PLUS I love everything that I do over here in the Real Food Pledge space that I wanted to see if I could bring more of this vibe into my law practice. So with the help of an amazing interior designer Tracey-Lee, we set about designing a office based around a cafe setting. It was such a fun project and we created something fabulous. The best thing is that I get to work there everyday!
We got rid of our reception area, we scrapped the stuffy office feel and we replaced it with a homely cafe kitchen. When our clients walk in to our office, they can help themselves to tea and coffee, biscuits and the paper. There are charging docks for their devices and a nice relaxing outdoor space.
Our new office in the law practice is very un-lawyer like and more cafe-like. I love it, the Caldwell Family Lawyers team loves it and most importantly, our clients love it! Our clients seem happier, more relaxed and while they still have to face some very difficult issues, our cafe provides a welcoming space for them and their support people.