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Inside The First Office Open At The Wharf's 1000 Maine

Fish & Richardson has completed its swim to the water's edge. 

Fish & Richardson The Wharf 1000 Maine
Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine

The law firm moved into its new digs at The Wharf's 1000 Maine April 30, the first tenant to begin working at the development's new trophy office building. Bisnow took a look around the new office, which follows the latest in law firm trends and shows the appeal that has lured companies from the central business district down to the waterfront. 

The 59,300 SF office on the 10th and 11th floors represents a consolidation of Fish & Richardson's footprint. Its last long-term lease was for 72K SF at 1425 K St. NW, though it moved for one year into a smaller space at 901 15th St. NW as it prepared for the move.

The firm's intellectual property-focused D.C. office is the second-largest of its 12 branches. The space was designed by Gensler and constructed by Hitt Contracting

Fish & Richardson in November 2016 became the first law firm to sign on at The Wharf, a pioneering move for a sector typically constrained to the CBD. CBRE's Mark Minich represented the law firm, while JLL's Brian Dawson leased the building for the developer, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront. Another major law firm, Williams & Connolly, is reportedly in talks to move from its CBD office and lease a large block of space in The Wharf's second phase.

1000 Maine The Wharf
The 1000 Maine office building at The Wharf, where law firm Fish & Richardson recently moved in

The 250K SF office building at 1000 Maine Ave. SW is near the western edge of the waterfront development. Fish & Richardson is alone in the building for now, but it will soon be joined by Washington Gas, which signed a 70K SF lease at the building in April 2017. The Wharf's other completed office building, 800 Maine, opened in October with tenants such as the American Psychiatric Association, Van Scoyoc Associates and a MakeOffices coworking space.

To the east of 1000 Maine is The Channel apartment building, with concert venue The Anthem on the ground level. To its west, multiple smaller buildings are under construction that will soon feature retailers such as Potomac Distilling Co., an Italian food hall by Masseria chef Nicholas Stefanelli and Rappahanock Oyster Bar.

Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine
The view from Fish & Richardson's conference room in The Wharf's 1000 Maine

At least a dozen dining spots have already opened at The Wharf since its October grand opening. Fish & Richardson Director of Operations Barbara Mannix said the firm's employees were quick to explore many of the food options during lunch. She said the retail amenities and overall buzz of the development factored into the firm's decision to move there. 

"We were originally looking at K Street, and then all of the sudden this development was coming up and everybody got really excited," Mannix said.

Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine
Fish & Richardson's private balcony in The Wharf's 1000 Maine

The law firm also made the quality of the views available from the office a key factor in its decision, and the space on the top two floors of 1000 Maine did not disappoint. In addition to the rooftop amenity space available to the entire building, Fish & Richardson has its own private balcony overlooking the water. 

"The views were really important to the attorneys and clients," Mannix said. "When the views became apparent, the attorneys were all on board." 

The building also has a fitness center on the second floor available to all office tenants and an underground parking garage with a bike storage room. Fish & Richardson, which brought roughly 120 attorneys and staff to the new office, has about 40 parking spaces reserved. 

Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine
Fish & Richardson's conference room in The Wharf's 1000 Maine

In the southwest corner of its top-floor space, the law firm has a conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. The room overlooks the waterfront development and offers views of the Arlington skyline, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.  

The conference room also offers a larger table than its previous space. The 30-seat table fits all of the principals in Fish & Richardson's D.C. office, while the 18-seat table at its old space forced some to sit in chairs behind the table. 

Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine
One of the common areas in Fish & Richardson's office

Fish & Richardson's footprint consolidation strategy mirrors a trend occurring across the law firm sector. The firm reduced the space it occupies by designing single-size offices for all attorneys, rather than the traditional law firm practice of having larger offices for higher-level executives.

The firm was also able to remove much of its file storage space, converting many of the documents to digital formats. It still maintains a file room in the new office for ongoing cases, but it is much smaller than the room at its previous home. 

Fish & Richardson's office in The Wharf's 1000 Maine
The kitchen in Fish & Richardson's office

The office's kitchen features new touches that the firm didn't have at its last space, such as an espresso machine and sparkling water on tap. Next to the kitchen it has a large open space with tables, chairs and cushioned benches. The office has an interior staircase between the 10th and 11th floors, better connecting the attorneys on both levels. 

The firm introduced some new, modern elements to the individual attorneys' offices, including sit-stand desks and sliding glass doors. The firm greatly increased the number of meeting and conference rooms compared to its old space after finding its rooms would consistently get overbooked.

The firm regularly works on trials involving the International Trade Commission, which is based nearby at 500 E St. SW. Mannix said its attorneys often bring clients on ITC cases back to the office for preparation before and during trials, making it necessary to have several meeting rooms of various sizes.