The newly rebranded law firm Duplass APLC makes moves in Jefferson Parish
In January 2023, law firm Duplass APLC moved from its former, labyrinthine offices in Lakeway Center to a new, 13,400-square-foot space in Metairie Towers. For the interior renovation of the Metairie Towers offices, the company worked with Terri Dreyer, owner and founding partner, and Kelsey Chappuis, designer, with NANO Architecture | Interiors.
The new space needed more natural light and the law firm wanted to place collaboration, as well as privacy, at the heart of the concept. Duplass APLC managing shareholder Michael Pfister and the NANO team recently visited with Biz to discuss the new space.
What were the design team’s goals?
Kelsey Chappuis: The client’s former office, before moving to Metairie Towers, consisted of divided space and maze-like corridors. So, in response, we had to provide a new dynamic office floor plan that was bright, collaborative and modern. The new layout aligns with the firm’s culture, while also seamlessly achieving both privacy and collaboration — a crucial balance for any law firm.
What was the biggest design challenge?
Chappuis: Other than windows in individual offices, there are only two exterior windows in the main public areas. Since our main goal was to design an open, bright, spacious environment, the limited windows immediately posed a daylighting challenge for us. We had to focus on maximizing as much natural light as possible. Through extensive daylighting studies, we strategically designed clerestory windows above the doors to each of the private attorney offices that had their own windows. That way, we were able to let natural light permeate through the central spaces, while still ensuring attorney privacy and staying on budget.
What is the standout feature of the design?
Terri Dreyer: An incredibly unique aspect of this project is how the central spaces form an exceptional sequence. The progression from the reception area, leading to the conference room and then culminating in the library, creates a central axis within the open office plan. Also, the custom millwork shutter system provides a subtle backdrop of privacy, reminiscent of many of the distinctive architectural elements found throughout New Orleans.
How would you describe Duplass Law Firm and its clientele?
Michael Pfister: Formerly known as Duplass, Zwain, Bourgeois, Pfister, Weinstock & Bogart APLC, the newly branded Duplass APLC is an established litigation defense firm servicing clients throughout the state of Louisiana. Our lawyers are seasoned trial attorneys who understand the importance of prompt communication, accessibility and efficient case management. We represent clients ranging in scope and size from small, local businesses to multinational Fortune 100 and 500 corporations and their insurers.
How do you promote a positive work atmosphere for the staff?
Pfister: Our attorneys and staff are our largest asset and providing them with both a meaningful work-life balance and inclusive, positive work atmosphere is paramount to the firm’s success. Our partnership is comprised of parents and caregivers who understand firsthand the importance of building a family-friendly, positive work environment that keeps our team members happy and engaged in their work. We offer flexible remote work schedules, but also work hard to create an office environment that makes our staff and attorneys excited to come in and collaborate with each other in-person. We have built our new office space with that in mind; we have added more communal areas; a new, robust breakroom; and various seating and coffee stations throughout the office for people to gather. The tenure of so many of our team members is a testament to this commitment — close to half of the firm’s professionals have been a part of Duplass family for over 10 years — nearly twice the national industry average.
What are your biggest challenges?
Pfister: Like so many other employers throughout the nation, we continue to remain focused on recruiting and retaining the best talent amidst a shrinking workforce. We must be diligent about continually self-evaluating and evolving our operations in ways that not only benefit our clients, but our employees.
What goals are you looking to meet in the next 12 months?
Pfister: As it has been for many years now, the theme is diversification — both of our client base and our internal teams. We are always keeping an eye on the business of litigation, looking to expand our work throughout various peripheral industries and practice areas as they expand and contract. Even more critical, however, is that we continue to develop a workforce as diverse as the matters we represent. We have made considerable progress in these efforts over the past year and hope to continue to build upon that foundation going forward. We understand, however, that creating a diverse workplace and expanding our professional reach does not stop with a new hire or the onboarding of a new client; we must also have the right practices, policies, mentorship programs and education in place to promote and support these initiatives.
Years in Operation
Persons in Charge
Michael Pfister, Managing Shareholder
Terri Dreyer, owner and founding partner, and Kelsey Chappuis, designer of NANO Architecture | Interiors
Furnishings and Art
Furniture, NANO; Furniture elements, including acoustic felt panels in the conference room and reception area, AOS Interior Environments.
Number of Employees