2023 Legal Sector Leasing Trends (May 2023)

Insights from Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace Consultants HOW THE LEGAL WORKPLACE I S CHANGI NG

Shifting Space Allocations

Staffing Efficiency/ Shifts and Career Growth Models › Administrative staff workstations have been replaced by resource centers, which offer flexible space for administrative assistants, paralegals and other project specialists. › Secretarial support, as measured by the number of attorneys each supports, has grown from 4-6 to more than eight attorneys per secretary. Roles are being staffed centrally, not necessarily within practice offices. › Decision makers are incorporating employee commute-time analyses in location strategies and offering flexibility with when and where employees work. However, law firms continue to be clustered in the highest rent districts, generally in CBD submarkets.

The Office Dilemma

Digital Transformation › Digital transformation of transactional legal work is a major opportunity. As legal tech is adopted, staffing and mentorship models for associates fresh out of law school may need to shift. › Attorneys are becoming more self-sufficient and their work more digital, reducing the need for administrative staff. › Libraries and file storage rooms have become obsolete and are being replaced by spaces for attorney collaboration.

› Attorney office sizes have reduced to 180 sf or less, with most in the 120-140-sf range. Universal office sizes and desk sharing are on the rise, and firms are targeting lease sizes that average 500-700 sf per attorney. › Smaller and shallower floor plates—20,000-25,000 sf—have become desirable, as support space needs have greatly diminished. › Law firms are taking a holistic approach to health and wellness with sunlit space, sit/stand desks, movement-inducing floor plans and healthier snacks.

› In center-core buildings, linear footage required for attorney offices often dictates a larger floor plate than what firms need for interior space. As a result, interior offices are often used to maximize the use of all square footage. › In line with maximizing space, firms are increasingly adopting hoteling to optimize space usage. Hoteling promotes flexibility by allowing attorneys and staff to

reserve offices, conference rooms, and desks on an as needed basis.

› Firms with too much space and long lease terms face a saturated sublease market should they decide to offload excess square footage.

Cushman & Wakefield | Legal Sector Advisory Group


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