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Baker Donelson to Move Offices to The Model Mill

Baker Donelson, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country, will move its Tri-Cities office to The Model Mill, the landmark building undergoing a revitalization that has been a catalyst for the vibrant redevelopment of the Walnut Street Corridor.

Baker Donelson's nearly two dozen employees, including 13 attorneys, will move to the new location by January 2021. The law firm will occupy roughly 6,800 square feet of space in The Model Mill.

Other anticipated Model Mill tenants include the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, the East Tennessee State University National Alumni Association and University Advancement, and Summers-Taylor, Inc.

"The addition of a nationally recognized firm such as Baker Donelson to The Model Mill development is very exciting. We look forward to them being a part of what we know will be a very dynamic environment as the revitalization of this important part of our community continues," said Grant Summers, who is president of Summers-Taylor and is overseeing the development of The Model Mill.

Baker Donelson's office in The Model Mill will have a significantly smaller footprint than the Firm's current location at 100 Med Tech Parkway, which is roughly 15,000 square feet. The ability to reduce square footage is attributable to a number of factors, including the Firm's PaperLite initiative, which is focused on storing information electronically to reduce the use of paper and eliminate onsite filing cabinets. And unlike traditional law firm spaces in which larger offices are reserved for more senior members, Baker Donelson's individual offices will all be a similar size: between 100 and 160 square feet. All workstations will also be equipped with sit-stand desks.

The Firm will also be utilizing "hot desking," which will allow multiple employees to share a single physical workstation during different time periods.

Jennifer P. Keller, Baker Donelson's president and COO and a shareholder in the Firm's Tri-Cities location, has been actively involved in the planning for the new location, and notes the Firm took a different approach with this office than it typically has for its other 20 locations.

"As we began planning, we knew we wanted to have a space that was as efficient as possible," said Ms. Keller. "Utilizing shareable spaces will help us achieve that. Many of our most senior people in the office, including myself, will be using shared workspaces."

Ms. Keller also notes that, despite the impact of the pandemic on office environments, Baker Donelson still felt it was a priority to have a physical office presence. "While many of us have become accustomed to working remotely in these last few months and we've been functioning quite well, collaboration, mentoring and camaraderie are so integral to what we do. We're excited about the prospect of a new location that allows us to do that in the most efficient way possible."

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Johanna Burkett
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