Getting justice for victims of auto accidents is serious business. But that doesn't mean lawyers have to work in offices that reflect that solemnity. Alan R. Goodman, 48, a trial lawyer in western Massachusetts, has managed to distinguish himself from his colleagues by creating a distinctive office. "You'll find no wood paneling and starched shirts in our offices, " he says. "This space reflects a commitment to having fun at work. And a more creative atmosphere unleashes creativity."
In August, Goodman opened a satellite office in Northampton, Massachusetts, a fashionable town in the Berkshires. (His main office is in Springfield.) But these digs will never be mistaken for the halls of Harvard Law School. A tile-and-AstroTurf entryway leads to a receptionist, who sits at a desk fashioned from an off-road tire. One wall is decorated with dozens of orange road cones. Other walls have murals, one of which shows two Barbie-and Ken-like figures riding in a convertible and proclaiming, "Justice Was Served!" Ceiling "tiles" are actually road signs.
The space, designed by Faster Fine Arts in New York City, has even ruffled a few establishment feathers. A lawyer from a downtown Boston firm wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe. He attacked Goodman's "law office-cum-amusement park." Goodman, ever the fiery advocate, shrugged off the criticism. "People get the message that we're not ordinary lawyers," he says. "We're more creative. Even if the business they do with us isn't very happy, at least they can feel happy when they're here."
Contact Alan Goodman by email (email@example.com).
A version of this article appeared in the September 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.