Firms cut office space and Nightingale court due to close

updated on 21 February 2022

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Magic circle firm Clifford Chance is among several firms reportedly assessing the amount of office space they will need in a post-pandemic world, with many having already introduced flexible working arrangements.

Clifford Chance’s global headquarters in Canary Wharf could see space significantly reduced following property agent Cushman & Wakefield’s 12-month “strategic review”. According to the review, the space required is much less than what was needed pre-pandemic when 100% office working was the norm. In response to the pandemic, the firm introduced a long-term flexible working policy in June 2021, enabling its UK lawyers to spend 50% of their time working remotely.  

The multinational firm has been based at 10 Upper Bank Street in Canary Wharf since 2003, with the lease not set to end until 2028.

Further north, Pinsent Masons LLP is set to cut desk space by 20% in its Edinburgh offices as it moves to new premises on Morrison Street. The reduction in space is part of the firm’s efforts to adapt to hybrid working.

Currently, the firm has “no set requirement for people to come in to the office, people are trusted to consider what is best for clients, teams and themselves, whether this be working from home, the office or a mixture of the two”, according to a spokesperson for the firm.

The relocation is reportedly aimed at improving the firm’s environmental tags and boosting its environmental, social and governance credentials.

Meanwhile, in a “disappointing” move, the Monument Nightingale court based at etc.venues is due to be shut down in April, only six months after opening in September 2021 despite the continued backlog in cases.

Working across four floors, with two hearing rooms, the Nightingale court has hosted trials from the Old Bailey and Isleworth, Snaresbrook and Harrow crown courts. A replacement court is being sought, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking about the closure, Clair Waxman, the City’s victims’ commissioner, said: “I have been repeatedly calling on government for more Nightingale capacity, not less, as London is struggling to deliver justice. More court capacity should include a dedicated court for sexual violence cases, to help prioritise some of the most vulnerable victims.”