Over the years, law firms have not changed their habits regarding the location of an office in Warsaw. According to our data, nearly 8 out of 10 companies from this sector chose to locate in the Śródmieście (City Centre) district. What other trends are seen in this segment of the office market? What do law firm occupiers prioritize when making a decision on a new location? Advisory firm AXI IMMO decided to explore it.

 Office for a law firm in …

When looking at tenants from the legal industry, we can conclude that they typically base themselves in a modern A-class building or a historic tenement house with good access to public transport. Lawyers expect that their selected location provide their clients with convenient access from various parts of the city. Equally significant is a prestigious street or neighborhood, as well as the vicinity of other companies important from the point of view of the firm, which helps maintain the high-end character of the office.

The office in Śródmieście wins

Analysis of office locations of 63 large and medium-sized law firms shows that 50 companies, or 79%, chose the Śródmieście district as their base. By extending this sample to the neighbouring districts of Wola and Ochota, where six companies are based, we obtained a result of 89%! It demonstrates that most firms’ offices, especially the larger ones, are located in the central part of Warsaw,” says Jakub Potocki, Negociator, Office Agency, AXI IMMO.

 The essence of the location

 “When comparing the map of law firm offices with the map of Warsaw courts, we quickly notice that there is a high correlation between the two. The choice of such locations seems logically justified – proximity to courts allows employees to save a lot of time, and it also solves the problem of finding a place to park a car. Additionally, many of the companies for which the law firms provide services are located in the same neighbourhood. Therefore, if there is an immediate or unexpected meeting at the client’s premises, no time is wasted on commuting,” adds Jakub Potocki.

Analysing recent leasing transactions signed by companies from the legal sector, we see that re-locations within the same office zone has been a clear trend. If a given law firm decided to move, it would choose a building of a slightly higher standard within the same district, no further than a few streets away from the old headquarters. Alternatively, it would move to a higher floor within the same office tower. An example announced in the media and confirming this thesis is the relocation of the Allen & Overy law firm from the Rondo 1 office building to the Browary Warszawskie complex. On foot, the two buildings are just over a kilometre away. The second example is the move by Act BSWW from the Stratos Office Center to the Varso 2 building. Here, the distance is approximately 1.5 kilometres.

A modern office also in Praga District

As in other sectors, both in Poland and in other parts of the world, good employees are crucial to law firms. In the fight for talent, an attractive office in a top location is of high importance. This explains the high concentration of law firms in the centre of Warsaw. However, not all companies in this industry are in the centre. A slightly less obvious choice is the Praga-Północ district, with two law firms locating in the Centrum Praskie Koneser complex on the premises of the restored former Warsaw Vodka Factory. This indicates that also buildings with character can be attractive for this type of company,” adds Jakub Potocki.

Good arrangement of space for a law firm

The location to a large extent affects the design of a law office. In office towers, it is common to combine an open-space layout with private offices. Partners and senior staff within a company can expect to have their own rooms. In tenement houses, a more traditional cabinet layout is common because a different option is often structurally impossible. Certainly, when arranging the space for the office, it is worth including additional space for conference rooms or smaller rooms for ad-hoc meetings,” says Martin Lipiński, Head of Office Agency and Tenant Representation, AXI IMMO.

Due to above-average capex spent on offices occupied by law firms, resulting mainly from a higher number of rooms, occupiers from the legal sector are often required to sign longer contracts, e.g. for 7 or 10 years. On the other hand, the presence of this type of tenant raises the prestige of the building and ensures financial stability for the landlord. When selling an office building, presence of law firms has a positive effect on its valuation,” adds Martin Lipiński.