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Allen & Overy picks new City HQ

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Move date of 2027

1-2 Broadgate — via Hayes Davidson

Allen & Overy will relocate to a new “environmentally friendly” office in London by early 2027, it confirmed today.

The move will see the magic circle player’s 1,800 lawyers and staff leave One Bishops Square, its City HQ since 2006, and occupy new digs just a stone’s throw away at 2 Broadgate near Liverpool Street Station.

The new HQ will be significantly smaller, with the firm reportedly taking up a minimum of 254,000 sqft compared to the 500,000 sqft it currently occupies.

A&O says the switch to a more “sustainable modern office” will play a key role in helping it meet its commitment to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 as approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

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“The new office space is a step-change in terms of energy consumption and better reflects the way we want the firm to work in the future,” A&O managing partner Gareth Price said. “The building will contribute to an estimated 80% reduction in our annual London office carbon emissions as well as having market-leading certifications for its environmental impact and the wellbeing of those who will call 2 Broadgate their place of work.”

The move follows a summer which saw Skadden sign a 15-year deal to take up three floors in one of the Square Mile’s new skyscrapers, and Travers Smith announce it was moving to a new office redevelopment in Farringdon in 2025. More recently, Kirkland & Ellis confirmed it was leaving the iconic ‘Gherkin’ building for a newly constructed building at 40 Leadenhall Street.

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13 Comments

mc

lower overheads = more salary?

Anon

LOL dream land. More like higher PEP.

Kirkland NQ heavy hitter

Yes, 110k by 2027 if you’re lucky.

Former A&Oer

Let’s hope the new office has a bit more of a soul than Bishop’s Square, which has great facilities but is also impersonal and feels like an airport at times.

DBY

What 🙁 You don’t like the plant wall that looks like it has been transposed directly from the Qantas lounge ?!

Jealous

A *lovely* airport, though. It’s far nicer than my current US firm’s offices.

Anon

Environmentally friendly is just a buzzword for cost saving these days. How’re they going to fit the same number of people into half the space? Hot-desking galore

Have actually been to the current office

If you knew what you were talking about….Current office is subleased on certain floors and is super inefficient in terms of use of space – it’s cavernous and has so many client meeting as deputy dining rooms that are well beyond what’s needed. This is still a massive lease in terms of areas…suspect it’ll be plenty.

Anonymous

WFH I suspect?

Neil

They are going open plan

Realist

For their sake, I do hope not. A&O are against us in several matters, and I like the people there: I wouldn’t wish open plan on my worst enemy.

Open plan offices are awful. They are tolerable for ‘non-cognitive work’, i.e. the sort of jobs in which people spend much of their day chatting about who has done what or whom on Love Island, rather than actually using their brain and generating work product for clients, but they are atrocious for lawyers. In my experiences, lawyers all end up wearing noise-blocking headphones, hating the workplace, and trying to work from home instead. It absolutely makes sense for support staff to work in open plan environments: firms don’t need to spend money for secretaries, paralegals, marketing, IT, project management teams etc. to be in offices, but fee earners need to be able to concentrate.

The economics podcast Freakonomics did an excellent podcast on the evolution, and failure, of open plan offices, in November 2018. Helpfully it is available with a transcript and hyperlinks to other sources, here: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/open-offices – it includes lots of useful observations, such as, ‘an empirical study of open offices finds that the primary benefit they are meant to confer — more face-to-face communication and the good things such communication can lead to — that it actually moves in the opposite direction’. See also these articles: https://www.cnn.com/2012/10/04/business/global-office-open-plan/index.html and https://web.archive.org/web/20120120202633/http://www.thesoundagency.com/2011/sound-news/more-damaging-evidence-on-open-plan-offices/

Firms adopt open plan because they care more about saving money than they do about (a) the quality of fee earners’ work; or (b) fee earners’ happiness. Those firms which have adopted it have presumably have assessed that their lawyers have no alternative but tolerate open plan. Personally, if I worked there I would have spoken to my recruiter to help me draft an escape plan somewhere more up market where I could do my best work.

Anon

A&O moving into….shipping containers

can I get a job there please

Alpha firm

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