Tour the offices of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. (HSPRD) with Mark Dym - shareholder and founding lawyer - and the first place he'll lead a visitor to is a seemingly unassuming hallway off the lobby. To the right is a modern conference room with etched glass for privacy. On the wall opposite the room, hangs the front page of The Selma Times-Journal dated March 21, 1965. Four framed photos follow. These are not just any photos, but a rare set of color images of Martin Luther King, Jr., taken by Bernard Kleina in Chicago from 1965 to 1966. During those months, King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had embarked the Chicago Freedom Campaign, a bold initiative designed to address the de facto segregation in employment, education, and housing endemic to the city.
These photos are a centerpiece of HSPRD's office and a symbol of the seminal historical moments that have compelled the firm's founders to pursue a practice committed to equitable client outcomes and social responsibility in the communities they serve. As one of the largest civil rights and constitutional law firms in the country, HSPRD strives to defend constitutional rights, fight discrimination, and challenge misconduct by government agencies. Their notable civil rights cases have ensured more equitable outcomes and opportunities for thousands of individuals.
Wight & Company - with a project team led by Janet Lougée - has twice partnered with HSPRD for a renovation of their office, crafting a space that is reflective of the firm's culture and welcoming to the lawyers, staff, and clients who walk through the doors. As Mark explained during a recent conversation in the currently quiet office, "We needed an inviting space that our people want to spend time in and Wight helped us achieve that. Janet and her team are customer sensitive - they took the time to truly get to know our firm and recommended vendors that were great partners throughout the process. The result is a place that staff love to bring their families to. We all take pride in our work and this office."
The latest renovation, completed about two years ago, brought the firm to the forefront of the use of technology to enable confidentiality and efficiency in all practice areas. Since technology enhanced conference rooms can challenge acoustical privacy, Janet suggested that a sound-masking system be installed to run the length of the corridor parallel to the conference rooms. The colors throughout are neutral but warm in order to create an inviting feel and a sense of comfort. HSPRD wants their clients to see themselves reflected in their surroundings. The office is designed to convey a sense of trust and quality in the services, without any intimidation about visiting a law firm in a high rise in the Loop.
Throughout both renovations, HSPRD Director of Operations Daniel Cervantes played a key role in matters large and small. A member of the staff for 20 years, he has advocated for significant technology upgrades and transitioned the firm to more sustainable practices. The City of Chicago's Department of Environment has awarded HSPRD a Tenant Achievement Award as part of the Chicago Green Office Challenge. Daniel also spearheaded the transition to remote work under COVID restrictions. Remarkably, many of the technology upgrades made during the last renovation made the office better situated to work from home than many other law firms.
That's not to say that HSPRD isn't grappling with how, when, and to what extent their workforce will return. The good news is that the firm's partnership with Wight means they're experienced in thinking creatively and focusing on flexibility in their use of the space. Just as the old law library is now a state-of-the-art Zoom conference room, so will other areas evolve.
At Wight & Company, we believe a workplace is only as successful as the quality of the human experiences within it. We don’t just design physical places, we design opportunities to nurture connection, be they in the break room or over (yet another) Zoom meeting to review a digital deposition.
The changes we made during their renovation are visible in the form of new carpeting, fixtures, and furniture, but the impact made far exceeds the physical space. It is a privilege to partner with companies like HSPRD, which value the experience of everyone who spends time in their office. We are proud to support their commitment to relentless, dedicated advocacy in pursuit of their clients' interests.