updated on 26 October 2022
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This comes to light following a recent survey that concludes that around half of law firm leaders say their firms will be reducing the amount of space they occupy. This is true of Hill Dickinson, who are set to halve their office space in Manchester within the next 18 months.
This is part of a wider move within the firm towards remote or hybrid working, with their Liverpool headquarters having been reduced back in 2021. The firm’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Jackson said: “Working practices have changed. We don't need the space anymore and we don't think working practices are going to go back to what they were before the pandemic.”
The survey mentioned above was produced by HSBC and was carried out between May and July of this year, before the so-called cost-of-living crisis set in. More than 76 firms responded to the bank’s survey, ranging in turnover from £18 million to more than a billion per year.
In a similar attitude to Hill Dickinson, two thirds of the HSBC’s respondents said they’re continuing to repurpose remaining office space for a more collaborative, hybrid approach to working. A further 29% confirmed that they’ve achieved the reduction they felt necessary.
Some firms, however, seem to be bucking this trend and the pull of the City is seemingly becoming stronger. Addleshaw Goddard recently signed a 15 year lease on a new office, opposite the Bank of England. Meanwhile, magic circle firm Clifford Chance is looking to leave its current home in Canary Wharf for the heart of the City.
According to The Times a spokesperson for Clifford Chance as stated: “We can confirm that our publicly announced review is ongoing and that we are in advanced negotiations”. The potential developer and landlord of the proposed new office block Great Portland Estates has confirmed that it’s in “advanced negotiations with Clifford Chance regarding a potential significant pre-letting”.
Will these firms make it into the next LCN Feature on ‘Law firms with Instagrammable offices’? That remains to be seen.