McDermott Will & Emery, LLP

Client Situation

McDermott Will & Emery LLP was leasing 203,000 square feet at 600 13th Street, NW with a lease expiring at the end of 2012. With a scarcity of large blocks of space within the District, the firm turned to Studley (now Savills Studley) to evaluate its real estate options.

Consideration Analysis

Studley immediately determined that relocating would allow McDermott to house its operations in a more efficient and well-designed floor plan. After conducting a survey of the market for potential existing buildings or development sites, 500 North Capitol Street emerged as an option for a possible development site. Essentially, this was a location where the law firm would have a "blank canvas" for which to design its own space. After extensive analysis, McDermott concluded the new space would be more efficient than the firm's existing building. In addition, the law firm would be able to have more prominent building signage and far more growth options than what was available in its existing office building.


After a series of negotiations, Studley secured a 172,000-square-foot lease for McDermott Will & Emery to relocate to 500 North Capitol Street. As part of the deal, the building would be completely renovated and upgraded with state-of-the art technology, including new mechanical and electrical systems, elevators, and an entirely new, glass facade. The building was designed to achieve LEED Certification through the US Green Building Council and the lease included options to expand and the possibilities for further development.

The lease signing marked an unprecedented, historic move, where a law firm chose to relocate from the central business district to Capitol Hill. In this completely refurbished new location, at the corner of North Capitol Street and E Street, N.W., McDermott will be the primary occupant and the building will be known as "The McDermott Building" with noteworthy signage posted. McDermott's attorneys and staff will now be within steps of the U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court, the SEC, the FTC Annex, the Tax Court, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center Complex, the Library of Congress and Union Station. The law firm is expected to take occupancy in its new building in November 2012.

Summary Information

  • Property: 500 N Capitol Street, Washington, DC
  • Transaction Size: 172,000 SF
  • Transaction Type: Lease Relocation
  • Service Line: Office

Meet the Team

Zambo, Lois

Zambo, Lois

Vice Chairman, Co-Regional Manager

London, Steven A.

London, Steven A.

Executive Managing Director