Attorney-Client Conference Rooms
Attorney-client conference rooms provide a private space that attorneys can use to confer with their clients or a small meeting area to be used by anyone having business with the court. In the overcrowded conditions of most courthouses, attorneys can be seen meeting with their clients in public-waiting areas, the cafeteria, the law library, in the back of courtrooms, in telephone booths, or any place that is available. Surrounding noise and confusion distracts from a meaningful exchange between client and attorney. Clients are often reluctant to discuss personal matters that directly relate to a case in such an open atmosphere. The private viewing and signing of documents for trial also become difficult.
These rooms are often interchangeable in nature with the victim/witness rooms previously described. The number of rooms needed will depend upon the type of proceedings and their location. Domestic and juvenile law cases often require additional rooms. At least two rooms, and up to four rooms, per courtroom, should be provided.
Attorney/client conference rooms should be located near the courtroom, either adjacent to a courtroom vestibule and victim/witness room, or off the public corridor. If the room adjoins the courtroom, additional soundproofing to prevent conversations from being overheard may be necessary. Attorney/client rooms should not open directly into the courtroom because of disruptions this will create.
The room should be provided for attorneys to confer with colleagues, clients, and witnesses in private.
The attorney/client conference room should be soundproofed to maintain the privacy of conversations, particularly if it is located adjacent to a courtroom or the public corridor.
The room should comfortably accommodate a table with four to six chairs.
The room should be wheelchair accessible.
A viewing panel in the door should be provided so that potential users can see if the room is occupied.
The attorney-client conference room should be a minimum of 90 - 100 square feet. Often, attorney-client conferences involve multiple litigants, witnesses, or family members. It should accommodate four persons.
Attorney/client conference rooms and victim/witness-waiting areas may be designed to be interchangeable. A dedicated telephone in each room is not necessary, but access to a telephone should be convenient. Electrical and data/telecommunications outlets may be provided so that court staff may work (phone and computer) in the rooms at other times.