Recent Trends In Law Firm Office Leasing

Increasing number of law firms are seeking more “vanilla” space, without costly wood paneling, extensive tenant improvements. Especially important if clients are “fee-sensitive”. Practical vs. impressive.

Landlords are offering much lower tenant improvement allowances. Firms must do more with less, re-use existing build-out, or contribute to cost of build-out. This does not mean that a firm still can’t get major build-out allowances — just that the trend is headed toward less.

Attorney firms seeking either to grow or reduce may save substantial monies by seeking already built-out law space, and/or space swap with another attorney firm.

The ability to sublet to “associate” attorneys might be critical in allowing built-in expansion or future downsizing.

Shrinking law library How often does one actually use some of those books? Reducing the law library by 150 square feet at $1.75 per square foot saves $262.50 per month, or $15,750.00 over a five-year term. This can instead purchase several complete computer systems with CD ROM stacker-units.
LLP — The Limited Liability Partnership may cause some Landlords to require personal financial guarantees, letter or credit, or other security depending on the particular landlord, the project vacancy rate, amount of tenant improvements, and other specific factors. This security might apply to part or all of the up-front re-tenanting expense, and/or part or all of the leasehold commitment.

Exit Strategy — Ability to sublease/assign with profit recovery, or shared profit with landlord less expenses. Early termination option (usually difficult to obtain due to detrimental impact on Landlord financing). Layout design allowing for segments of premises to be sublet or terminated without a major impact on entire space.

Jeff Weil

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