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San Francisco Law Firms Reinventing Offices


San Francisco law firms are feeling the pinch. At $65k/attorney rents, local firms are paying higher per attorney rents than any city aside from Washington, DC, and New York, reports The Recorder. Firms are cutting back on their space and finding creative ways to use the space they have, similar to national trends. Declining fees and lackluster employment trends are also to blame for the space reduction.

Firms decreased the per attorney space from a historical average between 800 SF and 900 SF to a current level between 750 SF and 875 SF, based on JLL data. Paul Hastings recently decreased its office to 40k SF at 101 California St (above) from 70k SF.

Silicon Valley law firms competing for office space with tech companies also are paying high rents with an average of $50k/attorney. Average space per attorney is down to 750 SF compared to 950 SF.

Firms are pushing to have leases that last three to five years instead of 10 so they don’t get locked into today’s rents for the duration. They also are seeking out spaces vacated by other law firms.

Law firms are shrinking individual partners’ offices to be the same size as associates and decreasing the size of their libraries. Some have even moved administrative staff to offices in the East Bay.

Boroumand Smith took its cues from tech and offers a collaboration hub where lawyers can host meetings, have lunch with clients, or relax and play foosball. The new design also offers a lot of glass, which gives individual lawyers the feel of having a larger space and more connectivity to the rest of the office. [TR]