In this week’s National Law Journal and Legal Times, we look at the options Washington firms are weighing as they consider the real estate market and new development. Among the city’s largest firms, these five are “deciding” what to do with their office locations.
• Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
• Latham & Watkins
• Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
• Steptoe & Johnson
Will they move office locations, or will they stay? Each has a lease end date approaching in 2016 or 2017.
In the interactive map below, yellow dots identify those five firms. Firms that will not consider moving for at least three years are in red. Green bubbles show the three firms that are building new office locations: Arnold & Porter, Covington & Burling and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Click on each bubble identifying a firm for more information about the office and its lease.
Also take a look at the map below displaying the density of lawyers at the city’s largest firms, with about 130 full-time-equivalent attorneys or more. This heatmap shows the firms’ lawyers in their current locations.
Hover over the map to see how foot traffic will change once Covington, Arnold & Porter and Pillsbury unload their moving vans.
One more thing: As I researched this story, I searched for public documentation of leases. The District of Columbia allows for landlords and tenants to file versions of their lease agreements publicly. These documents – truncated “memoranda of lease,” rather than the full leases themselves — don’t include how much the firms pay in rent. (In short, real estate is typically the second largest expense for a firm behind personnel costs.)
However, these memos may show details about the nature of the space, the length of the leases, and renewal and renovation options. They’ve also got maps.
Not all firms have their lease memos on file with the city. But, for instance, two large firms with major custom-built buildings are online – Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr on Pennsylvania Avenue, and Covington & Burling at its soon-to-open CityCenterDC location.
Covington’s documents are especially interesting because its lease at CityCenter runs much longer than the traditional 10- or 15-years that firms often sign for. This lease, on file in 2013, runs until 2036, with an option to renew for another eight years.
You can search for these documents at this D.C. government site.
Set the search type to “name/square/lot,” key in the first name of the firm you’re interested in seeing, and select in “document types” only the “lease” option.
– Katelyn Polantz