In the past, law firms operating in New York used to house their firms in downtown Manhattan, close to the financial center that helped create most of their business. Those law firms started moving out of Manhattan in the 1980s to set up shop in midtown. The firms rented beautiful offices in brand new buildings on Lexington and Third Avenues or offices in the West 40s and 50s. If you are wandering around the Avenue of the Americas today you will get a tour of AmLaw 100.
According to Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal, the trend of moving to midtown might be changing. Law firms are now trying to save as much money as possible, and one method is cutting back on office leases. The law firms are looking at office spaces downtown and further West in the city. Kusisto wrote:
“Law firms don’t like to pay too much for office space because even junior associates expect offices, and because rent money comes out of the partners’ pockets.
Now other large firms are looking Downtown and to the new Hudson Yards development, trading less-prime locations for cheaper rents and the benefits of being in new construction.”
After they spent 13 years in midtown, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP moved its offices downtown to 7 World Trade Center in July. Other firms with new leases are those of Morrison & Foerster LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP. They have rented offices that are very technologically developed and prepared for today.