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Slaughter and May calls off new office search, will stay at Bunhill Row until 2036

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Decision comes amid widespread adoption of WFH

Slaughter and May will stay at its Bunhill Row headquarters for another 16 years after deciding not to move office following an extensive search that started last year.

With business’ priorities shifting amid widespread adoption of remote working following the Covid-19 pandemic, Slaughters has committed to remaining in it current City of London gaff — where the firm has been located since 2002 — until 2036.

The decision may see some envious glances cast from magic circle rival Freshfields, which signed up to a very expensive deal for a very big new London office at 100 Bishopsgate, a swish new skyscraper, before the Coronavirus hit and WFH went mainstream.

In a statement, Slaughters’ executive partner, Paul Stacey, said that Bunhill Row is “an important part of our identity and is recognised as such by our staff, clients and all those connected with the firm.”

Readers of Slaughter and May’s profile on Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List will know that the office contains a dining room where every partner has their own pigeonhole and napkin. The building, which is directly opposite The University of Law’s Moorgate Campus and next door to fellow law firm Trowers & Hamlins and Cass Business School, also features a striking water feature in the entry lobby.

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26 Comments

Alan

Good on them. WFH is not maintainable. 1-2 days a week sure, but not as the norm.

(32)(10)

Anon

lol at Freshfields signing up to 100 Bishopsgate at the top of the market. What would that (half empty) building cost now I wonder?

(20)(3)

Postgrad

Freshfields’ move was smart, in my opinion. Expensive, but worth it.

Office space matters – it draws in talent and clients, even more so for Freshfields as 100 Bishopsgate will serve as global headquarters. The former base at Fleet Street was becoming a problem.

Moving to better accommodation makes sense. Others think so too, since the building is pretty much full – tenants include the Royal Bank of Canada, Jeffries and Paul Hastings.

(18)(15)

cadwaladr massif

y u forget about us u fool

(11)(0)

Question

If so why did Freshfields move its HK office to the sh*te-end of nowhere?

(9)(1)

Anon

Freshfields (and Royal Bank of Canada, Jeffries and Paul Hastings etc) have been unlucky. The future is reasonable but not too flashy offices like Slaughters, 2-3 days a week WFH and a much more spread out workforce.

(17)(1)

Old Guy

You don’t realise the cost of working in an office in London. The move was a great idea pre-Covid. Now, it is clearly a bad deal, and likely they could have 5-10% off the lease in today’s market. We still have at least 1 more year before this whole thing fully blows over, during which time Slaughters will assess work patterns. They will definitely end up saving money which is always great, even if it just means they can get a better deal now.

(9)(1)

FlourPour

If they’re using the office as a marketing strategy I suggest the money could have been better spent..

(4)(2)

Spam Lolz

Actually the new office is smaller than the old one. FBD had been planning to downsize for a while. The move would have been costly and made at peak but there shouldn’t be any problems with the offices themselves. Except for the fact that now they are miles away from the courts. The litigation department must be pissed off.

(3)(3)

Genuinely interested to know

Curious about Slaughter and May. People slag them off but they still seem to have the best reputation of the Magic Circle firms. Would you choose them over a US firm like Latham or Kirkland? I have heard the partner prospects are far better but that’s a long way off.

(9)(23)

Play the long game

I’d go Slaughters over US as you have a chance of making partner. Once your are a partner on £1 million+ the differences between associate salaries, which feel like a lot at the time, become insignificant.

(14)(14)

Assoc

I don’t think you should join a firm based on the chance of becoming partner. The chances are low everywhere, and you will probably end up leaving before you have a sniff of equity. Also, the gulf between associate salaries at US and U.K. firms can be very significant, actually. US firms increase faster, and so the gap just increases. Slaughters and Latham are obviously two great options to have and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at either, but I would always opt for a US firm (a good one.)

(25)(3)

Peter

Depends on the person. I’m going to be an equity partner. I am very intelligent, sharp, and I am great with people. Really great in fact.

(7)(14)

FlourPour

Well you’ve certainly got the arrogance part nailed.

Global law firm partner

Don’t join a US firm. Sacrificing your 20s and 30s isn’t worth it. Join a decent UK shop, have a life when you are young, move up the ladder, and enjoy life as a partner.

(22)(6)

Sensible

Impossible question to answer without knowing your preferred practice areas. If you want to do corporate work for large listed companies, go to Slaughters. If you want to do PE / banking (sponsor side), go to Kirkland. If you want to do banking (lender side) go to Latham.

(9)(3)

My daddy works at FF and I go to Exeter University

“which signed up to a very expensive deal for a very big new London office”

great commercial analysis there

(28)(0)

CMS Trainee

FBD are bums in the legal world. Don’t even compare them to Slaughters. Would be like comparing OC to us.

(14)(8)

OC trainee

looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool f u

(6)(1)

Anonymous

And that would be the wrong comparison because…?

(0)(1)

SM

I wouldn’t really call it a “striking water feature”. It’s a puddle that makes the whole atrium smell like a swimming pool.

(26)(2)

Freshfields

You’re absolutely right on the Freshfields point, frankly we’re gutted to have an incredible new office in a perfect location that the firm can afford due to prudent financial management and a strong year across practice groups. I really wish I could look at the Tesco Express from my office window rather than the whole of London in every direction 🙁

(32)(12)

FlourPour

Why are you looking out the window? Is that billable?

(2)(0)

Make it make sense

Curious to know why Legal Cheek brought Freshfields in to this. They’ve opened a new office in Silicon Valley, gone ahead with the London office move and are one of the few firms not to cut salaries/take other measures that affect juniors. Surely evidence they’re doing very well for themselves, not to mention huge deals/mandates such as AstraZeneca recently?

(18)(2)

Makes sense

(3)(6)

Martin McFleigh

I wonder if we will have flying cars and real hoverboards in 2036.

I’m still miffed we didn’t have them in 2015!

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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