Miller Thomson’s Move to 725 Granville is a Game-Changer. Here's Why.
Miller Thomson’s move to a wide-open, single-floor office at 725 Granville signals a sizable shift in the local legal world, with more firms seeing their workspace as the ultimate brand statement in the battle to lure talent and clients.
Colliers International’s Dan Jordan and Colin Scarlett, seen here, helped Miller Thomson find its new digs. The firm was the first to take space at the office component of Cadillac Fairview's Pacific Centre redevelopment (Microsoft and Sony Pictures Imageworks followed). The pavilion-style office, which Miller Thomson occupies in 2016, will have modular workstations and customizable breakout rooms, plus a café, balcony and landscaped atrium. Key is that staff will be located on a single floor: an accessible, collaborative 48k SF space. “A floor that big is completely unique to the Vancouver market,” Colin says.
There hasn’t been much new office supply in Vancouver through the years, Dan points out, so most law firms have been in the same spot for decades. “And the way somebody worked 20 years ago isn’t the way they work today, or how they’ll work in 20 years.” He and Colin, who lead Colliers’ law firm practice group, in recent years have visited 20 cities researching the future of the legal industry and its approach to office space. A fascinating finding: a third of London law offices are open plan, “which surprises most lawyers,” Colin says. “The goal is to be more collaborative and transfer knowledge more efficiently.”
One firm in London, DWF, uses unassigned seating at its 20 Fenchurch St office (above); another, Addelshaw Goddard, has a concierge instead of a receptionist (an idea from Ritz-Carlton’s customer-service chief). Vancouver's not there yet, but Miller Thomson is leading the charge toward a more evolved office. “There’s massive change afoot here,” says Colin, noting deals are in the works with other law firms seeking state-of-the-art spaces. “The new workforce is looking for something different, and firms are seeing lease expirations as an opportunity to significantly change the way they work.”