Metropolis Law Sector Report 2018

Initial findings from the 2018 Metropolis report on office relocation in the UK Law sector revealed that 360 legal sector firms were involved in office property decisions in the year to end 2018.

The survey also found that over 7m sq ft of office space was transacted or required by occupiers searching for alternative space over the last year by law sector firms.

The report found over 120 firms searching for space that were interviewed by Metropolis researchers. Over a half of requirements were prompted by upcoming lease expiries, backed by expansions, mergers and restructuring.

The biggest law sector office deals in London involved leases signed for HQ relocations by Freshfields, DLA Piper, Sidley Austin and Minster Law.

Outside of London, Clyde & Co had the biggest office transaction, with a deal to occupy 69,000 sq ft in the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Simmons & Simmons signed a 12-year lease to occupy the top two floors (27,000 sq ft) of the Aurora building in Finzels Reach, Bristol, from January. Hogan Lovells will take over the eighth floor (23,388 sq ft) of The Colmore Building in Birmingham’s business district, where it currently occupies 7,620 sq ft on the tenth floor.

Leeds will house a relocation by Walker Morris, which announced that its 500 staff, who are currently split across two buildings in King Street, will relocate to a flagship office in 33 Wellington Street next summer. The building, in the city’s business district, is currently undergoing a comprehensive £10m refurbishment.

In a sign of things to come, Knight Frank points out that magic circle firm Allen & Overy has developed its Fuse incubator in its London headquarters while Mishcon De Reya has created MDR Lab – its programme for tech start-ups in the legal sphere – in its London office.

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Lawyers racing for space

The annual London law sector report from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) calculates 33 London law firms are looking for office space. This headline figure reinforces research this month by Metropolis which has reported 31 new London law firm requirements so far in 2014.

JLL report that although the cost of prime office space is rising to £60 per square foot, the increasing costs and squeeze on available space that the total amount of space from all current London law sector requirements is 871,000 sq ft, of which 372,500 is under offer.

In the first three quarters of 2014 have been 14 transactions involving law firms, equating to 400,000 sq ft which is a slight drop on the same time last year. Firms agreeing deals recently have included Macfarlanes, Mishcon de Reya, Howard Kennedy, Davis Polk and Ropes & Gray.

JLL have identified a trend for companies to look further ahead. Traditionally law firms would start planning 2-3 years before the end of a lease, but because of an impending development squeeze in London, this could rise to as much as five years. The longer time periods also enable firms to influence fit-out.

Looking ahead, Metropolis is discussing future lease expiries with firms such as Dechert (60,000 sq ft), Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (60,000 sq ft), Plexus Law (30,000 sq ft) and Mills & Reeve (10,000 sq ft) which could prompt further searches.

Metropolis Law Report – 2.6m sq ft required

Metropolis Law Report 2014

Law Sector Office Activity in London and the UK

Metropolis has just published its latest report on law sector activity in London and the UK.  The 10 page report looks at law sector office activity trends, requirements, letting deals and fit-out analysis. It was compiled by our research team using Metropolis lead data.

Highlights include:

  •  Across the UK, there are currently 140 identified law firm office requirements totalling 2.6m sq ft
  •  There are over 100 London law firms with lease expiries or breaks coming up in 2014-16
  • 50% of the space taken by legal firms so far in 2013 is recently built or refurbished grade A space
  • US and international firms move more frequently than UK-based firms

The report also features our top 10 list of law firm property advisors, law firm interior architects and law firm fit-out contractors.

Metropolis Law Report 2014

Please contact simon@metroinfo.co.uk if you would like further details on the report.