Over the last two years, the average law firm in New York City have been decreasing the size of individual offices for partners and associates as part of a greater trend toward smaller workspace. And that change in lawyer office sizing has been more pronounced for partner offices, as per the recently compiled data.

As New York rents continue to increase alongside the ongoing pandemic situation, attorneys invest extra time working remotely- Consequently, law firms are increasingly taking on new premises with smaller lawyer offices.

According to a new survey from Colliers, annual office rates in Manhattan have stayed over USD 73 per square foot for the past year, with the average rent being right at USD 73.05 per square foot.

For this series, Law360 polled a broad spectrum of legal firms, from small businesses to the biggest in the country, and firms of all sizes took part.

As per feedback from the ten law firms that took part, the average partner office size in New York shrank from 193 square feet to 178 square feet between June 2016 and June 2018, while the average associate’s office shrank mildly from 137 square feet to 133 square feet during the same time duration.

Partner Office Size Dropped Than What It Was 2 Years Ago

From 2016 – 2017, the average size of a partner office increased significantly, breaching 197 square feet, before dropping to 178 square feet as of June 1, 2018.

However, Abrams Fensterman Fensterman Eisman Formato Ferrara Wolf & Carone LLP expanded its Brooklyn office from 1,500 square feet to a stunning 24,000 square feet in the middle of the year, accounting for the jump in partner office size. Abrams Fensterman’s average partner office size increased from 120 to 150 square feet as a result of the extra space.

The transition toward smaller partner offices was exemplified by Arent Fox LLP and Nixon Peabody LLP. As of June 1, 2017, Arent Fox’s average partner office was 248 square feet, and as of June 1, 2018, it was 190 square feet. In the case of Nixon Peabody, the figure dropped from 220 to 160 square feet over that time.

“The concept is that in the past, many lawyers, particularly partners, would entertain clients at their offices. That is no longer the case. “As per Nixon Peabody’s Joe Lynch, lawyers are holding more meetings with clients in common areas. “There’s no need for as much office space.”

On the other hand, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP- a law firm that recently joined the New York City market, opened a 6,569-square-foot office with typical partner offices of 160 square feet, contributing to the general decrease in partner office sizes.

Of fact, fluctuations in partner office size are most common when companies relocate, and many law firms have remained in the same location for the past two years; thus, their partner office sizes haven’t changed.

Size Of Average Law Firm In New York City Has Decreased

In comparison to partner offices, the size of associate offices has remained stable over the last two years, falling from 137 to 136 to 133 square feet a year over year, as per the legal firms that took part in the survey.

The new facility at Nixon Peabody had smaller associate offices: 160 square feet as of June 1, 2018, compared to 180 square feet a year ago.

Despite Abrams Fensterman’s significant expansion in overall office space, the typical associate office size there has decreased, from 100 square feet two years ago to 90 square feet now.

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