LSAG Legal Briefs - Vol 2

L easing demand for the U.S. legal sector remained robust through Q3 2019. With 9.49 million square feet (msf) leased year-to-date (YTD), total activity was just above the 2018 figure of 9.48 msf. Across the United States, 5.2 msf of new transactions and 4.3 msf of renewals were recorded. This statistic of law firms relocating at a rate higher than renewing follows the 2018 trend and supports the trend of fleeing to quality and new building product in major markets throughout the country. The legal sector accounted Fall 2019 Law Firm Market in Review BY CHRISTA DILALO, DEREK DANIELS (CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD)

for 3.4% of all U.S. leasing activity, unchanged from the same period in 2018. The most notable market share was in San Francisco and New York City, where 6.2% and 5.0% of all YTD 2019 leasing was executed by law firms, respectively. With a robust legal sector market and solid profit margins increasing in 2018 and anticipated to close out with profit increases again in 2019, the legal sector has fully recovered from the 2008 market crash as it relates to real estate.


0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6

0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8%


5.0% 4.8%

% of All Leasing

4.0% 3.7%


2.9% 3.1%




Source: Altman Weil; Cushman & Wakefield Research

these major markets was 19,305 square feet, while secondary lease transactions averaged 7,795 square feet. In addition to transactions being larger in square footage, major market leases were also more heavily

The country’s top 10 premier markets accounted for 5.2 msf of the legal sector’s total activity, with New York City’s 1.4 million square feet of leasing leading the way. The average lease transaction size among

4 | Legal Sector Advisory Group | ADVISING FOR EXCELLENCE

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