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The old axiom about location being the key to commercial success applies to law firms as much as to any other business. Ever since our founding more than 100 years ago, White & Case has located its offices where our clients are. Today, as a global law firm serving numerous multinational entities worldwide, we regularly find that when business brings our clients to Washington, our own workspace is often called on to do double duty as their visiting office while they are here. That’s a main reason why White & Case recently made the decision to lease nearly 120,000 square feet at One Metro Center, a large building that opened in 2003 at 701 13th St., N.W., directly across the street from our current office. Back in 1996, when we moved into our current space at 601 13th St., N.W., we had 56 lawyers and dozens of legal assistants, secretaries, and other support staff. Today, White & Case in Washington has nearly doubled in size. As we’ve grown, we’ve had to reconfigure existing space and expand within our current building. But as our lease expiration drew near, we recognized that our space and infrastructure needs had outpaced the building’s available capacity. Chief among our needs is providing better access and support to our clients. For example, we need more conference space in various sizes to meet a growing demand that not infrequently involves hosting meetings with five different clients from five different countries in a single day. Also, we are in daily contact with White & Case lawyers throughout our international network of 37 offices, and we need space for our colleagues to work in while they are here in D.C. — especially when they are accompanied by visiting clients. Our expanded facility needs do not end with meeting space. Clients visiting Washington often have other work to do in addition to meeting with their lawyers. They require breakout rooms, computer and Internet capabilities, and video conferencing facilities to stay in touch with their own colleagues and customers. In seeking new space to meet these growing demands, we also sought capacity to handle anticipated future growth over the next 15 years that would allow us to keep lawyers and staff consolidated on firm-designated floors. Working with Spaulding & Slye Colliers to assess our space and infrastructure needs and evaluate potential sites, we negotiated an anchor tenant position in One Metro Center. The new location enables us to meet enhanced demands for better technology and improved litigation support, as well as options for additional future space. At the same time, we retained the benefits of the Metro Center location that our clients and lawyers value. Metro Center provides great access to Washington-based clients and to the courts, Capitol Hill, and the federal agencies with which we work. It also offers staff a great atmosphere, superior amenities such as restaurants, nearby shopping, and gym and exercise facilities, as well as a convenient commute. Tishman Speyer Properties, the international developer, developed the new space. As an anchor tenant, we will occupy more than a quarter of the building. The facilities will have a litigation support center with extensive “war room” capability and a state-of-the-art conference center featuring a large multipurpose room for conferences, attorney training, and social functions. The space is being configured to foster a close-knit environment for client teams and practice groups, and to provide continued opportunities for multioffice interaction. Studios Architecture designed the space, and the James G. Davis Construction Corp. is the general contractor. Studios consulted with partners, associates, legal assistants, secretaries, and others in the office and worked with a small committee of partners and the office administrator to design floor plans that could be utilized immediately, as well as be flexible enough to accommodate future growth. Construction begins next month, with an anticipated move-in date in early December. Our new home at One Metro Center will symbolize White & Case’s strong and strengthening ties to Washington and offer a welcoming environment for clients and staff worldwide. Above all, the facility will help us better serve our clients from around the globe whenever business brings them to the nation’s capital. Victor J. DeSantis is the executive partner of the Washington, D.C., office of White & Case. Established more than 30 years ago, the D.C. office provides full-service legal counsel, including in-depth capabilities in antitrust, international trade, litigation and international dispute resolution, corporate defense, Internet technology and media, taxation, corporate and commercial transactions, international project finance, and energy.

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