Law firms changing office needs, putting developers on their heels
November 13, 2011
By: Jonathan O'Connell

Washington office developers and landlords are salivating at a glut of law firms whose leases expire in 2016 and 2017.

For every law firm that signs a lease in a new building, another landlord is left with a vacancy, however, and the needs of law firms are changing fast enough that filling the departed space is becoming more difficult. ...

... This is partly a result of changing organizational structures at the firms, said Tom Fulcher, executive vice president at the brokerage firm Studley, which represents many of the area law firms. Law firm offices that were designed in the 1980s or 1990s, he said, typically provided space for an administrative assistance for every one or every two partners; now one for every four is the norm. As firms shift, the extra desks sometimes either sit empty or are used for storage. ...

... Also disappearing are law libraries and even the grand corner offices for senior partners, Fulcher said. “Now what you’ll have is the offices are all the same size and the corner a lot of time will be conference space,” he said. ...

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