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Barnes & Thornburg to Triple New York City Office Size in 2022

Dec. 8, 2021, 10:21 PMUpdated: Dec. 8, 2021, 10:10 PM

Barnes & Thornburg is tripling its New York office space in February, the law firm announced Wednesday.

The firm’s new 14-year office lease in midtown Manhattan totals nearly 33,500 square feet, according to a statement from Barnes & Thornburg. The expansion to 390 Madison Ave. comes two years after the Indiana-founded firm first opened its New York office in February 2020 with six partners. Since then, the office’s partner in charge Robert Boller says they’ve outgrown the original office with more than 25 lawyers and staff.

“By the end of the first quarter, we’ll be close to around 30 attorneys in New York,” Boller said in an interview. “We’ve seen significant demand on the client side for the services that we offer here, and we’ve grown faster than even we anticipated. We’ve outgrown the space and need new space, particularly as folks start to get comfortable post-Covid.”

Law firms comprise nearly 6% of all leases by square footage in the U.S. and Canada, according to a 2021 report by Cushman & Wakefield. The same report found that office rents in the U.S. were down 13% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the most recent peak, in the second quarter of 2020.

Some experts expected law firms to downsize their offices as the pandemic proved the effectiveness of remote work.

Perkins Coie in June said it would cut more than 70,000 square feet from four of its offices to accommodate hybrid work. Fried Frank announced the following month that it signed a long-term lease renewal for its 400,000-square-foot office at One New York Plaza in Manhattan’s financial district.

With more than $506 million in gross revenue across more than 700 lawyers, according to AmLaw data and the firm statement, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the 100 largest firms in the country. Its New York lawyers and staff will remain in the firm’s 445 Park Avenue location until the new office is renovated.

Barnes & Thornburg worked with real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., design and architecture firm Gensler, and contractor Americon HITT Inc. on the lease agreement and renovations.

“It’s been fulfilling and rewarding watching this team grow,” Boller said. “We look forward to continued success here in the market and growing the team, and to our new space at 390 Madison.”

(Updated with comments from Robert Boller throughout.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com