Take a look at an NYC office that calls itself the 'future of law,' where sharks hang from ceilings and meetings are held on repurposed bleachers

AxiomHollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Axiom, an alternative legal services provider that calls itself the "future of law" for its innovative approach, is headquartered in New York City.
  • The office has bright orange furniture, open floor plans, glass walls, and playful "shark" decorations to add to its inclusive company culture.
  • Here's Business Insider's exclusive look inside Axiom's headquarters.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

One of the most innovative law offices in the country looks a lot like a Silicon Valley tech startup.

Axiom, a New York-based legal-services providers, differs from other law companies by integrating technology and data into the legal aid they provide for their clients.

This is no accident: CEO Elena Donio is a former tech hot-shot. Donio's 20-year tech experience includes working as an executive at Concur and sitting on the boards of PayScale and Twilio.

Read more: The CEO of a company that calls itself 'the future of law' says she still can't escape sexism at work - but she's on a mission to prove mentorship can break the glass ceiling

But Axiom doesn't just operate similar to a tech company - it looks like one, too. Much like Apple or Google's open offices, Axiom has done away with the cubicles found in traditional law firms.

"Legal has long prided itself in being all about judgment, all about risk avoidance," Donio told Business Insider. "And so, disrupting in that space has been a long and rewarding journey. I feel like we're at this really interesting moment where everything from the gig economy to the future of work is matching up with this dissatisfaction on the law department."

Here's an inside look at the alternative law office that calls itself "the future of law."

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Axiom's headquarters is located in New York City. The office does away with the secrecy of traditional corporate offices by using glass walls and large windows that open up space for everyone.

Axiom's headquarters is located in New York City. The office does away with the secrecy of traditional corporate offices by using glass walls and large windows that open up space for everyone.

The office is also characterized by bright orange furniture. Around the office, you can see bright orange shark memorabilia as a play on the joke of lawyers being cut-throat "sharks."

The office is also characterized by bright orange furniture. Around the office, you can see bright orange shark memorabilia as a play on the joke of lawyers being cut-throat "sharks."

There are no cubicles, and everyone sits in their own space. Even CEO Elena Donio doesn't have her own room, and instead sits at a desk next to the rest of her team.

There are no cubicles, and everyone sits in their own space. Even CEO Elena Donio doesn't have her own room, and instead sits at a desk next to the rest of her team.

Axiom offers its employees impressive flexibility: a large number of Axiom attorneys don't work full-time, but can opt for three-day weeks or take months off. Many employees come to the office for work, but the company offers flexible work schedules and parental leave to allow for greater diversity.

Axiom offers its employees impressive flexibility: a large number of Axiom attorneys don't work full-time, but can opt for three-day weeks or take months off. Many employees come to the office for work, but the company offers flexible work schedules and parental leave to allow for greater diversity.

Some of Axiom's furniture comes from recycled materials. The bleachers in the team's main gathering area were taken from a high school. Lawn chairs and other backyard furniture can also be found around the office.

Some of Axiom's furniture comes from recycled materials. The bleachers in the team's main gathering area were taken from a high school. Lawn chairs and other backyard furniture can also be found around the office.

Donio said the biggest challenge she faces at Axiom is the "inertia" within the legal industry. In tech, innovation and trying new things was never questioned; law, instead, tends to be risk averse, she said.

Donio said the biggest challenge she faces at Axiom is the "inertia" within the legal industry. In tech, innovation and trying new things was never questioned; law, instead, tends to be risk averse, she said.

Donio aims to show her clients the better value Axiom's attorneys bring compared to counsels: "The challenge is really helping [clients] see how to utilize flexible talent, and why it represents a push in the right direction toward efficiency, but not a sacrifice in risk."

Donio aims to show her clients the better value Axiom's attorneys bring compared to counsels: "The challenge is really helping [clients] see how to utilize flexible talent, and why it represents a push in the right direction toward efficiency, but not a sacrifice in risk."

Instead of having to get bogged down by the "partner track treadmill" or work for one client, Axiom's attorneys can choose the work they want to do, without sacrificing the fact they help on the biggest commercial contracts and the largest tech-companies in the world, Donio said.

Instead of having to get bogged down by the "partner track treadmill" or work for one client, Axiom's attorneys can choose the work they want to do, without sacrificing the fact they help on the biggest commercial contracts and the largest tech-companies in the world, Donio said.

"It's all about, in a way, restoring the honor to the profession to the people who have lost it somewhere along the way," Donio said. "We give them that opportunity to reclaim that space, and to feel really great about it."

"It's all about, in a way, restoring the honor to the profession to the people who have lost it somewhere along the way," Donio said. "We give them that opportunity to reclaim that space, and to feel really great about it."
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