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Freshfields set to ditch Fleet Street HQ in favour of new City skyscraper

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Magic circle giant will reduce its London floor space by a quarter in the process

Via 110 Bishopgate
Via 100 Bishopsgate

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has put pen to paper on a deal that will see it ditch its plush Fleet Street headquarters for a brand new City skyscraper.

The magic circle outfit — which offers around 80 training contracts annually — has signed a lease to take over around 300,000 sq ft of office space at 100 Bishopsgate (pictured). Due to be completed in 2018, the new tower will have 37 floors and stand over 180 metres tall.

Artist impression
Artist’s impression

But lawyers at the firm needn’t clear their desks just yet. The lease on Freshfields’ current office space — which was handed a B rating in Legal Cheek’s exclusive law firm survey — doesn’t expire until 2021.

According to The Lawyer (£), the move will see the firm reduce its London floorspace “by around a quarter”. This follows the firm’s recent decision to relocate its low level legal work to a new Manchester support hub.

The firm — which had considered moving into London’s iconic Gherkin building at one point — will be in good company. Legal neighbours will include the likes of Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis and Squire Patton Boggs.

Legal Cheek has contacted Freshfields for comment.

UPDATE: 15 February 12:10pm

Freshfields has now confirmed it will move into its new City HQ in 2021. Signing a 20-year lease, Legal Cheek understands that the magic circle giant will pay in the region of £16 million per annum.

26 Comments

Anonymous

I’m sure Freshfields lawyers are delighted. Battery chicken open-plan office spaces in a tower are the best.

(36)(6)

Anonymous

It’s going to be swish!

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Why does it have to be open plan? Surely they’ll design it to their specification?

(6)(1)

Anonymous

They’re downsizing from the current Fleet Street HQ – how else do you think they’ll manage to fit everyone in, given the office headcount stays roughly the same?

(9)(5)

Anonymous

by shifting people to Manchester obviously

(23)(8)

Anonymous

It’ll be great, they can merge their Christmas parties with Allen & Ovaries.

The fun will be positively palpable. Hoots and larks aplenty. Bishopsgate like Rio in Carnival week.

(21)(2)

Anonymous

Its call activity based working – not open plan – the right space to do the right work

Given most city legal firms offices are on average less than 50% utilised, its is a very achievable outcome!

(2)(3)

Anonymous

“activity based working”? Are you just recycling the corporate mental masturbation catch phrases you’ve heard during the last group meeting? You must be new around here…

Anonymous

If only they were free range, and not battery. What they need is…fresh fields, not cages.

Yeaaaaaaah!

(31)(1)

CC Partner

Come back when you have a pool, and unfortunate trainee to clean it, losers.

(12)(5)

DaTruth4Word

I notice the Legal Cheek survey and description of law firms-this is an excellent addition to the website and will really push Legal Cheek even further forward.

Despite the negative naysayers (who are always complaining about the site yet are always found on the site…complaining), Alex and the team have done a fantastic job and with the interesting events that are held, etc I can say Legal Cheek beats Rollonfriday any day and is my number one choice for fun, entertaining, non-dry legal news and reviews.

(2)(17)

Anonymous

Hi Alex.

(32)(2)

Dr Freud

”DaTruth4Word” eh?

Interesting choice of name Alex, trying to speak ‘ghetto’ are we?

(22)(3)

Anonymous

Cementing its status as the best MC firm.

(21)(10)

Julia McKenzie

It was better when I was in it.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

I did not know LC was a lease-rating agency.

(2)(0)

ObjectivityISKey

No word on Latham having anything yo do with this site or Squire Patton Boggs or Kirkland and Ellis. I think only Freshfield have a lease.

(0)(2)

MC (donalds) trainee

Latham are across the road. I think that is what is meant by neighbours?

(3)(0)

ObjectivityISKey

I initially thought so too but Kirkland and Ellis nor Patton Boggs are the only firms in that area so why discuss them unless they are also moving into the skyscraper.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Fair point. If anything McDermott Will & Emery are literally across the road in the Heron Tower! Not to mention shops like Reed Smith & Mayer Brown (Broadgate Complex), HSF, Shearman, A&O, Akin, the list goes on!

Smells like promotion tbh…

(2)(0)

ObjectivityISKey

Exactly perhaps Latham, Kirkland & Ellis and Patton Boggs are moving to 100 Bishopsgate.

Problem is no other legal news website has confirmed this! So I don’t know where Legal Cheek got this information from.

Anonymous

I don’t think so. Both Latham and Kirklands have long leases on their present offices. SPB are about to make a move as their lease expires in 2021, but there’s no indication so far they’ll be moving into 100 Bishopsgate.

WhistlenKate

Kirkland and Latham have swanky offices.

Squire Patton Boggs lease ends in 2017 not 2021.

The owner has said they want to do repairs by 2017 and so SPB will be moving out then.

Frankly to boost that firm’s reputation they need to move into a new office…from what I hear from colleagues of their current office it’s about as mediocre as the firm’s reputation.

MC (donalds) trainee

So Freshfields are taking 300k sq ft of the building. That will take up the majority of the ‘high rise’ portion (which totals 350k sq ft) though could obviously be a mix of the mid rise and high rise. The lower 15 floors are already leased to ‘Jefferies’ and ‘RBC’. That leaves approximately 130k sq ft of space to allocate (around about 7 floors).

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Will they be able to design the floors as they wish? Surely that would eliminate any idea that it has to be ‘open plan’. I just assume that partners would factor such a decision into the vote.

MC (donalds) trainee

Freshfields will be able to spec it out to suit the firms needs. If you look at the website for the building that CC are in you can get a fairly decent idea; illustrative floor plans for finance and corporate are open plan, whereas a legal layout is made up of offices around the perimeter with storage/conference rooms and support bullpens in the centre.

That is not to say that open plan is completely out of the picture. One of the partners dealing with it gave an interview to the Lawyer or Legal week earlier in the year in which he made the comment that open plan and hot desking would be considered as alternatives to traditional legal offices. BUT with the amount of space that has reportedly been leased, I imagine it will be an office layout.

Comments are closed.