City law firms cut office space

updated on 12 January 2021

City firms have revealed plans to reduce office space, as lawyers forecast remote working to become the new norm.

Despite the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, Slater & Gordon and Dentons have both cut entire offices from their real estate portfolios; Slater & Gordon moved out of its City office in September 2020 as its two-year lease came to an end and Dentons permanently closed offices in Aberdeen and Watford.

DWF hopes to save £600,000 annually by cutting its office space and varying lease terms across its network, according to the Law Gazette.

International firm Gowling WLG revealed that it had introduced a new property strategy prior to the pandemic’s outbreak and has since cut its office space.

Baker McKenzie is continuing with its plans to move to 280 Bishopsgate in 2023 but has reduced the original space it was due to occupy by 10%. The move comes as part of the firm’s “long-term growth plan”. Meanwhile, magic circle firm Linklaters has signed a new lease agreement for a 14-floor office at 20 Ropemaker in the City.

Principal of legal consultancy at Jomati and former managing partner at Clifford Chance, Tony Williams said: “Many firms may be reluctant to make long-term decisions until the pandemic is over and there is greater clarity as to future work patterns and their impact on office space requirements.”

It has been predicted by Edward Sparrow, chair of the City of London Law Society, that remote working will become “mainstream”, with the pandemic having proved that working from home does work.