The District Wharf in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kit’s Lens/Shutterstock.com)

Fish & Richardson will move into new offices along Washington’s southwest waterfront on Monday.

Fish bypassed the K Street corridor to become the first Big Law firm moving to The Wharf, a major multibillion-dollar development taking shape along the Potomac River.

Terry Mahn, managing principal of Fish’s D.C. office, said lawyers and staff getting an early peek at the new offices have been “delirious,” as it’s located in an area that’s “just not like Washington.”

“We’re a firm that likes to think that we’re different,” Mahn said. “[The new office] fits with our image of who we are.”

Fish’s 120 attorneys and staff in D.C. will now call the top two floors of a 250,000-square-foot building at 1000 Maine Ave. S.W. home. The color pink is featured throughout the offices—paying homage to D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms—and the office’s flooring gives the look of “liquid poured pebbles,” according to the firm.

But the move isn’t all about the aesthetics. Fish was drawn to the neighborhood because of how it fits the firm’s business.

The leading intellectual property firm has represented tech industry leaders dating from Thomas Edison to Google, and Mahn said the location is much better for its attorneys. The new location is closer to the U.S. International Trade Commission in D.C., the U.S. Patent and Trade Office across the river in Northern Virginia and nearer to the Eastern District of Virginia courts, too.

Mahn said the firm looked at about 45 different properties nearly three years ago, when it was ready to leave its old offices at 1425 K St. N.W., and The Wharf location was the only one that ended up receiving the unanimous support of the firm’s D.C. leadership. The firm signed a 16-year lease on the space at The Wharf in November 2016 and spent the last year living out of offices in The McPherson Building on 15th St. that were vacated by Kaye Scholer after its merger with Arnold & Porter, as the end of Fish’s lease on its old space and opening of its new space did not perfectly match.

Mahn said the move should not have any impact on the firm’s bottom line, and the lease is structured so that the firm could give back space if it desired. The firm is not making information public about the cost, but the first phase of The Wharf development including Fish & Richardson commanded office rents exceeding $70 per square foot, according to the Washington Business Journal.

A 2016 report showed Washington rents running from $69 per square foot for firms renewing their leases to $80 per square foot for space in a new building.

The only concern Mahn said the firm had in selecting the new space was the staff’s commute to the new location in southwest D.C.

Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority stops flank the new firm’s offices, however, and Mahn said The Wharf has a shuttle service for those not wanting to walk to the nearby stations.

 

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