Specialization and right-sizing drive LA law firm tenants

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Law firms face more supply constraints than companies in nearly any other industry. Why? Law firms typically target premium, Class A space in central locations—the tightest segment of U.S. office markets. With fewer space options, your firm may find itself battling with competitors not only for clients—but for desired space as well. Notwithstanding these challenges, our 2014 Law Firm Perspective identifies several trends that law firms are using to optimize costs.


One trend we’ve seen is that location is being driven by practice, not a premier address. Los Angeles firms are concentrated in the Downtown CBD near the courthouses. Specialized practice groups, generally catering to media and entertainment companies, are located close to their clients on the Westside in Century City. Ahead, some firm tenants electing to be closer to tech and entertainment clients will migrate to more non-traditional low-rises in Santa Monica or Playa Vista.

Another trend is in how law firms are making the best possible use of office space. Mid- to large-size firms are still in contraction mode across the U.S.—giving up an average 17 percent of space upon relocating in 2014 in an attempt to right-size. However, compared to global firms and other U.S. professional- and business-service industries, U.S. law firms on the whole remain hesitant to fully adopt contemporary, open- office plans. Locally, the average tenant occupies approximately 14,000 square feet and, though many are expected to renew, some are anticipated to commit the out-of-pocket capital costs in search of more efficient facilities.

Our 2014 Law Firm Perspective examines the national landscape, but also focuses specifically on what’s happening in Los Angeles. There’s also an interactive tool that compares 40 key U.S. markets including New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Boston.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 report findings or to watch trend videos featuring Elizabeth Cooper and Tom Doughty, JLL Law Firm Group International Directors, and John Sikaitis, JLL Managing Director of Office Research.

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