Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Client Situation

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (Cadwalader), the oldest law firm in New York City, was seeking new space to accommodate its growth, as well as was looking to consolidate its New York operations into one location.  Studley’s (now Savills Studley) extensive law firm experience, market knowledge, building infrastructure knowledge and financial expertise were deciding factors in winning the assignment.

Consideration Analysis

The firm’s 100 partners were intent on selling its downtown headquarters at 100 Maiden Lane. Cadwalader hired a broker to market the building for sale and simultaneously engaged Studley to investigate relocation alternatives. The sale of the building created complex tax implications that Studley analyzed and interpreted for Cadwalader. In choosing between relocation alternatives, specifically, Midtown versus Downtown, Studley was able to attain $10 million in Downtown municipal incentives for its client –the highest per employee incentive package ever received in New York City. This enabled the firm to commit to staying Downtown, where it had been operating since 1792.


The most appealing location for Cadwalader was One World Financial Center.  The complex three-way negotiation involved the firm, Brookfield Financial Properties and Lehman Brothers, but Lehman was able to terminate it's lease obligation allowing Studley to deal directly with the landlord.   The final lease terms included 460,000 square feet at below-market terms of a sublease with all of the benefits of a direct lease.  The deal structure also allowed for 350,000 square feet of contiguous expansion options over the term of the lease to accommodate the firm’s substantial projected growth.  Lastly, Studley negotiated access to Dow Jones’ individual back up generator and cooling tower for the firm.

Since the completion of the initial lease, Studley has exercised options for 65,000 square feet.  In addition, as a result successfully representing Cadwalader in New York, Studley represented the law firm on a 90,000-square-foot lease in Washington, DC.

Summary Information

  • Property: One World Financial Center, New York, NY
  • Transaction Size: 525,000 SF
  • Transaction Type: New Lease, Sublease
  • Service Line: Law Firm Practice Group, Office