A Family Affair: How a Law Office Design Proved There Is a Difference

To Caroline Munley, the requirements for the office expansion project were pragmatic ones. Due to their success, Munley Law was out of space and needed to expand into the former dental office next door. During our Visioning Meeting, we heard this need, as well as the desire to make the space more open and modern. But as we asked questions and listened deeply, we heard so much more…

The Munley family’s roots in the Northeast Pennsylvania run deep—back through an age of coal and iron and pioneering railroads…back to a time when courageous immigrants built the foundation of a nation. The family’s history of service to the people of the region goes back for three generations in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, including Marion Munley, who made history as Secretary of the House, the first woman to serve as an officer in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Cut from the same strong cloth of his forebears, Bob Munley embarked on a life and career dedicated to the pursuit of justice.

In 1959, after serving his country in the Korean War and graduating from Temple University School of Law, Bob Munley founded his own legal practice, the Law Offices of Robert W. Munley. In 1964, Bob was joined by brother James and the firm became known as Munley & Munley. In 1972, Bob’s wife Bernadine joined the firm as the office manager and administrator. Bernadine recognized the importance of achieving justice for the downtrodden, and she was instrumental in the firm’s transition from a general practice to an award-winning personal injury law firm.

Bob’s passion for the law and Bernadine’s penchant for business was an inspiration to their six children, five of whom grew up to become lawyers and join their parent’s in the firm.
Today, the firm is known as Munley Law and continues to set the standard in personal injury law and champion the rights of injured victims and their families. They are the voice for the voiceless.
As we heard this story, we were overwhelmed and inspired. If we were this inspired, surely others would be, too, so we knew we had to tell it. You often hear the expression “If these walls could talk.” Well, that’s exactly what we set out to make them do. We knew we could create a beautiful, modern, functional space that would carefully transition the more traditional office to the new office. We also knew we could add another layer to our design—and this layer would tell a story. This layer would make the walls talk.
When we completed the design, we were thrilled to know that the “Town Center” we created was a hub of activity where impromptu meetings for cases occurred regularly over a cup of coffee. We enjoyed hearing that the staff loved their new offices and appreciated all the natural light. But the story that touched us the most was the reaction of Bernadine Munley when she walked through the completed space and read the stories on the walls. She read the testimonials of clients telling heart-swelling accounts of how Munley Law guided them through their darkest times. She read the wise tag line of the firm highlighting that there is a difference, choose carefully. But when she saw the family photos overlaid with the story telling the rich history of the firm, her eyes welled up with emotion…and pride.

The Branded Environment we created at Munley Law illustrates the difference that they make. The testimonials comfort and give confidence to clients while also inspiring employees. The history of the firm shows that law is a passion in the family. They live and breathe it. The law is in their DNA. We used the Munley Law logo and tag line in the Town Center to reinforce the brand and abstracted the logo to create the graphic applied to the glass office fronts for a touch of privacy. The space tells their story so they don’t have to. After all, they don’t have time to; they are too busy working hard for their clients.

DxDempsey specializes in Strategic Branded Experiences that aren’t “just a pretty space,” but which tell a story, inspire customers and employees and focus on well-being. All of this positively impacts the bottom line. We love the relationships we have with our clients, especially when we learn something from them. In this case, the writing was on the wall: There is a difference. Choose carefully.

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