Freshfields inks deal for larger N.Y. office as firms reassess space needs

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A nameplate of the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP office is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany December 16, 2019. Picture taken December 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

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  • Freshfields signs 15-year lease in Manhattan for early 2024 move
  • Firm has added over 200 U.S. lawyers in recent years

(Reuters) - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said on Wednesday it has signed a lease for a larger office in New York, as many law firms reconsider their space needs due to the growth of pandemic-era remote work.

London-founded Freshfields, which has recently focused on adding lawyers in the U.S., will move from its current office in midtown Manhattan to 3 World Trade Center in early 2024. The 2,800-lawyer firm said it signed a 180,000-square-foot lease, occupying four floors of the skyscraper in lower Manhattan.

Freshfields is at capacity in its current office, which the firm moved into in 2011, according to Andrea Locklear, Freshfields' U.S. chief operating officer.

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Locklear said in signing the 15-year lease for its new office the firm sought to accommodate its growth and redesign the space "according to the way we work now."

The firm currently requires three days per week of in-office work, according to a spokesperson.

Freshfields said it has hired over 200 lawyers in the U.S. in the last three years, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. The firm landed in Silicon Valley in 2020, and in June moved into new office space in Redwood City, California.

The firm opened in New York in 1977, according to its website. Its late 2019 recruitment of New York dealmaker Ethan Klingsberg and his team from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton kicked off a streak from rival law firms in the city.

Law firms Cozen O'Connor and Kelley Drye & Warren also have offices in the 3 World Trade Center building, which opened in 2018.

As firm leaders reconsider office space needs, other law firms are also opting to relocate rather than renew as market conditions are favorable to tenants. In the first half of 2022, relocations made up 63% of law firm lease transactions by square footage, according to a recent survey by commercial real estate brokerage Savills Inc.

Some law firms have downsized office space in major markets since the start of the pandemic, including Jenner & Block and Perkins Coie.

Leasing activity picked up in the second quarter of 2022, with the law firms surveyed by Savills leasing a total of 1.6 million square feet, compared to 1.1 million square feet leased in the first quarter of the year.

Read more:

Law firms opt for office relocations as attorneys return to in-person work

New Freshfields regional head says firm won't add more U.S. offices for now

Freshfields to open in Silicon Valley, swipes top partners from U.S. firms

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at