17 Nov 2021

Allen & Overy flags energy consumption 'step change' as it chooses new London headquarters

Firm will move to Broadgate redevelopment in 2026/27 ending 20-year stint in nearby Spitalfields

April 2019: Broadgate Circle, a food and drink venue with cafes and restaurants foodie destination in the City of London  D

Broadgate Circle DrimaFilm; Shutterstock

Allen & Overy (A&O) has announced plans to move its London headquarters to offices being constructed at 2 Broadgate in the City of London that will allow it to significantly reduce its floor space and more easily meet its sustainability targets.

The Magic Circle UK firm has signed a pre-let deal with British Land to occupy at least 254,000 sq ft of the redevelopment in Bishopsgate, half a mile from its current home at One Bishops Square in Spitalfields.

The firm is expecting to move its 1,800-strong contingent of partners, associates and other staff during the winter of 2026/27 with the space likely to increase to around 300,000 sq ft once the lease is finalised nearer the time.

The firm currently occupies approximately 500,000 sq ft at One Bishops Square, where it moved in 2006 from New Change by St Paul’s Cathedral.

The firm said the office would provide it with the ‘space and flexibility’ to accommodate its agile working model and ‘play a significant role’ in helping it meet its commitment to achieve a 50% reduction in absolute carbon emissions by 2030.

A&O managing partner Gareth Price said the new home would be “a step-change in terms of energy consumption and better reflects the way we want the firm to work in the future”. 

He added: “The building will contribute to an estimated 80% reduction in our annual London office carbon emissions as well as having market-leading certifications for its environmental impact and the wellbeing of those who will call 2 Broadgate their place of work.”

The construction of new offices at 1-2 Broadgate are part of British Land’s £1.5bn Broadgate Campus redevelopment.

Recent months have seen a flurry of office move announcements as law firms seek to move into more modern buildings and take advantage of cost savings that come with flexible working. 

In June A&O said it would expect lawyers to spend 60% of their time conducting office-based work, in line with flexible working policies being rolled out by law firms across the world that have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, Kirkland & Ellis announced it will be moving its 550 London-based lawyers and staff to a building being constructed at 40 Leadenhall Street from its current base at 30 St Mary Axe – known as the Gherkin.

And in August, New York rival Skadden announced it was moving its London base back into the City of London after 25 years in Canary Wharf to take up residence in the capital’s second-tallest building, the recently opened 22 Bishopsgate.

A&O’s magic circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, meanwhile, has been moving into its new headquarters at 100 Bishopsgate from Fleet Street since the summer.

Earlier this week, A&O announced plans to launch a low cost legal services centre in Australia to complement its existing hub in Belfast.

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