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Clifford Chance could cut Canary Wharf office space

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Re-evaluation comes as firms continue to embrace flexi-working

Clifford Chance’s London office

Clifford Chance is reportedly considering reducing its office space in London as law firms across the City continue to embrace more flexible working arrangements.

The magic circle giant drafted in a property agent last spring to help conduct a year-long “strategic review” of its office space requirements in the post-Covid word.

This review is now understood to have concluded that it will need far less square footage than in pre-pandemic times, The Telegraph reports, and follows the firm’s decision to allow lawyers and staff to work remotely for up to 50% of their time.

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The newspaper goes on to claim as much as two-thirds of its office space could be slashed, although it’s not clear if that figure includes space that has already been sublet under longstanding agreements dating back several years.

CC is currently based at 10 Upper Bank Street, a skyscraper in Canary Wharf which scored an A* in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey thanks in part to its much-raved about swimming pool offering views across the City (pictured below). The firm has been located at this site since 2003, with the lease due to end in 2028.

Clifford Chance’s swimming pool

But this isn’t the first time its been reported that CC is re-evaluating its office requirements. Last summer, Estates Gazette (£) said the magic circle player was on the hunt for a new London HQ of between 300,000 and 400,000 sq ft.

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22 Comments

Ex-CC

Please stop saying that the swimming pool has views across the City. It’s on the 5th floor with views into another CW tower…

That’s not to say that the pool isn’t an amazing perk (save the risk of ending up swimming next to a certain very hairy, very senior partner…)… but you just look daft when you get such basic facts wrong.

(50)(3)

Basic facts?

Like any senior partner would go in the pool lol

(7)(20)

CC Insider

What a bizarre comment – they do use it. I often see Partners in the gym too and taking classes (although mostly with the personal trainers).

(33)(1)

Chad

Any partners lifting impressive weights?

(10)(0)

Anon

Can’t think of anything worse than swimming with colleagues and seniors and being reminded of work, or even worse, talking about work. Better joining a proper health club and making friends outside of work.

(53)(1)

You got played

LOL. Say goodbye to your swimming pool and meet your new friend, Hot-Desking.

(25)(5)

Hot desker

Hot desking is a nightmare.

(31)(1)

CC Insider

Why do these articles and comments always focus on the pool?! I promise you no one cares about the pool except people on LegalCheek. I do love the on-site full size gym (better than rest of the MC having spoken to new joiners from elsewhere), hairdressers, bar, cafes etc. It will be a real shame to lose them but a lot of associates reluctant to come in and are opting for home working. At least the firm is supporting this. I know several US firms are planning on going back to 5 days in office. Swings and roundabouts.

(30)(2)

Associate

Haven’t seen CC Gym but rate the A&O one

(6)(6)

CC Insider

CC has a full-service / full-size Nuffield Health. We have spinning studios and even squash courts. It’s nothing short of fantastic! Not sure why people speak about the pool so much given other amenities are better (imo).

(23)(3)

Former Spital Square Resident

A&O gym is absolute s h i t e

(2)(1)

Anon

Do any of the MC hot desk (lawyer wise)? I can’t see it happening…

(0)(1)

Neil

A&O will be doing so in new office

(7)(1)

Anonymous

I reckon they’ll see quite a lot of leavers then, as with any BigLaw who adopts hot-desking.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Oh nooo! What will the fragile ego snowflakes do if their beloved pool disappears! 😱

(3)(8)

Anonymous

Someone’s bitter they didn’t get a TC offer….

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Somebody say office space?

(0)(0)

Get Real

This was only prolong the great resignation.

Part of the allure (and justification) of BigLaw was big offices with lots of perks. It made the long hours and high pressures seem more bearable.

Now you want people to grind 14+ hours of doc review in a 50/50 split between a shared flat in Croydon/Mile End and an office that looks like an Ikea-inspired call centre? That’s the life right there.

(16)(3)

Anon

Quite the opposite. As MC’s trainees, my friends and I would rather be in the comfort of our own flats/family homes than the office if we’re going to have do long hours/work late.

(6)(4)

Dissident child

This is not big news.
10 Upper bank street has floors and floors of meeting rooms that are becoming more and more redundant because clients also prefer zoom calls. Even before the pandemic most of the times those rooms were largely empty.

Offices are big enough to be shared by 3 people rather than 2 (as is currently the case). Then there are internal offices which don’t get used that much. So, all in all, considering that many will continue the 50% working from home thing it doesn’t seem to difficult to reduce office space by 30% or more. Side is just being used more efficiently. No need to hot desk.
As to the perks, is possible that any savings translate into better WFH allowances. If rather have that than a swimming pool.

(4)(1)

Anon

Yeah…ok…nothing to do with partners at these firms thinking about how they can fatten their draw…🤨

(1)(0)

Ex-CC Insider

I left CC almost 5 years ago, and even back then you could work from home a couple of days a week. I heard things had become more conservative after David Bickerton finished up, but it must have swung back to the status quo.

The earlier comment that US firms require people to be in the office is nonsense, as if those firms are one amorphous group. Maybe some US firms do, but I work from home on a full time basis. Firm also doesn’t care where I base myself, so long as I get the work done (and fall within the tax rules).

CC insider, more often than not, must be a firm representative. I do not miss that place one iota.

(1)(2)

Comments are closed.

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