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Global Report reveals law firm real estate trends vividly illustrate current global economic polarisation
AUSTRALIA , 14 NOVEMBER 2012 — As clouds remain on the macroeconomic horizon, law firms will need to adopt an increasingly vigilant approach to the management of their real estate portfolio to ensure that assets are optimised, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Law Firm Perspectives 2012.
Opportunism will be evident in some real estate markets as law firms react to the changing environment.
Firms are increasingly looking to Asia for growth opportunities, with a cluster of M&A activity between US, UK and established Australian firms, as international firms seek to grow their presence in Asia.
Australian Head of Tenant Representation at Jones Lang LaSalle, Steve Urwin said, “There is a general sense among major law firms operating in Australia that they have ‘topped out’ in terms of overall size. In other words, the large firms are not anticipating future growth in numbers in Australia. In fact several have trimmed staff numbers in the last three years. Some of the factors influencing this include a strong desire to maintain profitability for the existing partners and, in the mid and top tier firms, a focus on making the size and structure attractive for mergers with international firms.
“A number of changes in the ‘top end’ landscape have occurred in the last three years as a result of a range of mergers and alliances. In addition, international firms Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance have recently established Australian offices. Only Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison and Corrs remain as purely ‘local’ among the national Australian firms.
“Whilst, since the GFC, the economic conditions in Australia have been the envy of the western world, law firm managements are realistic about the tough climate ahead. Asia is however seen as a growth market for legal services,” said Mr Urwin.
The trends for Australian law firms include:
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