“When I just embrace my creativity it’s really powerful for my work,” Tim Whiting said. “It’s really powerful for me personally.”
This mantra from the founding partner of the Whiting Law Group flows throughout the newly designed law firm. But it’s showcased to the world in the form of the firm’s new 29,000-square-foot office on the fourth floor at 901 W. Jackson Blvd. in the Greektown neighborhood. The new office opened in May.
Whiting and his firm — which focuses on trucking collisions — spent more than a decade in the Loop, located with the scores of other Loop offices.
“As my practice grew, I started to realize that doing trial work for my office required more creativity,” Whiting said. “On top of that, I just got burned out of the Loop. It’s congestion and the hustle and bustle of it.”
Whiting also recognized that his clients weren’t completely comfortable in his old office. They didn’t appreciate having to drive downtown, find parking and walking in and around the downtown office. This was especially frustrating, Whiting noted, for clients who were recovering from injuries sustained in the trucking crashes the firm was handling.
“When you’re hurt or grieving … that’s an extra stress I didn’t feel they needed,” he said.
Whiting knew he had to break away from the same old scene for himself and his clients. Whiting teamed up with Stephen Young of Stephen Young Designs to turn the Greektown loft into a comfortable and functional office, but also one with a little extra.
The pair clicked immediately. Young learned his client’s personal style preferences and realized that Whiting brought more to the table than a typical client.
“I started by learning his taste, his aesthetic sensibilities and what makes him tick,” Young said. “He has impeccable taste.”
Whiting said he wanted the office to have a creative vibe and have a high-end design. But he needed some critical elements to help Whiting Law Group flourish.
There was its mock trial/focus group room. Whiting needed a functional space where he can work with focus groups complete with visual presentations as well as recording capabilities so the firm can learn what did and did not work and adjust for the actual trial.
“It’s also a war room to prepare for trial, outlined with erasable and projectable whiteboards,” Whiting said. “I would give Stephen these ideas and he would put it all together in a design-worthy, functional plan. He’s just a master at creative design and it became (this office).”
The mock courtroom is where Whiting Law Group does some of its most intense work in the lead up to trial, but Young was able to soften and enhance the style of the offset with a sliding gray barn door that closes off the room to the rest of the office.
“It was thinking about a full vision to tie what he does and the type of work they do into a design,” Young said.
Be our guest
Whiting and Young also emphasized the initial look and feel a client will walk into when they arrive at the Whiting Law Group office. The first thing they see is a striking red wall with the firm’s name prominently displayed. Clients comfortably flow to the right and into a cozy public area with couches, chairs and a large, wall-mounted television.
“Handling truck accidents are hard cases because they require a lot of legal strategizing, there are a lot of moving parts and many go to trial,” Whiting said. “I wanted our branding to be tied into the design of the office. It was interesting how deep this went and how elaborate it became. And we now have it. It was worth all the hard work.”
A traditional lobby area was a nonstarter for Whiting. The firm doesn’t have a receptionist. He wanted clients to have as close to an in-home experience as possible at the office.
“When they come in here, it has a real comfortable vibe,” Whiting said. “I have sat out there and met clients on their cases in the lounge area. They’re just sitting on the sofa with a pillow. We turn music on. It’s a unique, cool experience.”
Young added: “It’s inviting. You don’t get that a lot when you walk into an office. Many times, it’s a very corporate feeling. Here it is nice because you can see the brain of the office from the lounge. It’s very transparent.”
Whiting and Young are continuing to fine tune the look of the office, with art pieces being installed to add to Whiting’s personal touch. The heavy lifting with the office is complete and the partnership created a space meant to transmit the special feel Whiting was striving to create.
On top of that, the new offices are located in a quieter, less hectic part of the city.
“It’s a really unique space and opportunity for us to maximize our practice,” Whiting said. “We can offer our clients a great place for them to come and feel good about their legal experience.”