Milbank moves into new London home after Covid-19 relocation delay

Wall Street firm takes larger space and brings employees under one roof after occupying two buildings

Milbank's new office is located at 100 Liverpool Street

Wall Street stalwart Milbank has relocated its London headquarters to 100 Liverpool Street, occupying a larger space in anticipation of further growth, in a move that was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firm’s new space covers 70,000 square feet of the 520,000 square foot redevelopment, marking a significant increase to its physical footprint in the City, which it first entered in 1979.

Previously, the firm had occupied 54,000 square feet across two buildings at 10 Gresham Street and 125 Wood Street. The decision to relocate to a larger office space reflects the fruits of Milbank’s ongoing growth strategy in London, the firm said.

Milbank currently has 32 partners and more than 100 lawyers and support staff in London, with plans to expand further over the coming years. 

The move, originally scheduled to take place in the first half of 2021, was postponed as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns in the UK which delayed construction work on the building, a spokesperson for the firm said. 

Milbank’s London lawyers and staff are being encouraged to split in-person and remote work 60/40 until 4 January, when the firm will begin requiring people to come into the office at least 60% of the time. 

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and communal hubs to support the firm’s ‘fully collegiate’ approach to working, Milbank’s new home was also designed with sustainability in mind, having reached the top 1% of sustainable office buildings in the UK after receiving an ‘oustanding’ score from the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method. 

The 100 Liverpool Street redevelopment project, designed by Hopkins Architects, also retained and reused as much of the existing building as possible, the firm said, while almost 100% of waste associated with the project’s construction was diverted from landfill by the end of March this year. 

Julian Stait, co-managing partner of Milbank’s London office, said the relocation was a ‘landmark move’ for the firm amid its focus on its London outfit as a ‘key strategic growth priority’. 

“It’s great that we are able to combine the opening of our new office with the start of our return to office-based working,” Stait added, going on to describe it as a “modern, collaborative and technologically advanced” space that “supports our culture and cross-team working”. 

“I know that it will excite and inspire our people as we move into the next phase of growth in London,” he added. 

The firm also moved its flagship New York office in early 2019 from its historic location on Wall Street to a 250,000 square foot space spread across nine floors at 55 Hudson Yards on Manhattan's West Side, a move that coincided with Milbank adopting a new global brand identity by changing its name from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy to simply Milbank. 

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.

The firm has signed a 15-year lease to occupy 65,000 sq ft of space across three floors and is expected to relocate its 250-strong London contingent to their new home in late 2022 or early 2023.

Kirkland & Ellis, meanwhile, announced last month 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. The 34-storey building, designed to emulate the classic North American skyscrapers of the early 20th century, is due to be completed at the end of 2023.

And in July, New York’s Fried Frank signed a 15-year lease extension for its headquarters at One New York Plaza in what was then the largest office lease deal in Lower Manhattan since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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