Maybe some brandname law firms can get away with the new trend: Establishing Gilded Age kind of offices. Those allow for special events. And they regularly serve clients fine cuisine and provide them access to a wine bar. In The Wall Street Journal, Sara Randazzo details this. Mayer Brown LLP's New York office is an example of a law firm adopting such lush surroundings.
But, come on, even the folks on "Downton Abbey" are recognizing the need for cost-efficiency. This coming season will feature plenty of belt-tightening.
What reasonable client entering aristocratic quarters doesn't panic, thinking: Hey, my company is indirectly paying for this. Increasingly, corporate clients have to be accountable, just like every other department, for their budget. So, they must go in search of the best deal.
Frequently when I am involved in writing the text for board presentations, the client tells the graphics staff to make the visuals look "cheap." Otherwise some member of the board will make a point of the assumed expense which went into the seven-minute talk. Heads will roll.
Perception is everything. Law firms simulating a "Downton Abbey" elegance will be perceived as wasting clients' money.