The legal services industry has only accounted for approximately 8.4 percent of the square footage leased in Manhattan over the past two-and-a-half years. Since January of 2015, 103 law firms signed leases for spaces 10,000 square feet and greater in Manhattan, totaling nearly 5.3 million square feet. Of these 103 law firms, 47 renewed or expanded within their existing locations and accounted for 48 percent of the square footage leased.
One common theme for this industry is the lack of desire to move or change markets. There were 50 law firms that signed new leases and remained within the same major market and totaled 45.3 percent of the square footage leased. Of these 50 tenants that remained in the same major market, only 13 relocated into a new submarket. The remaining six law firms moved to a different submarket or were new to New York City.
Law firms love Midtown. Of the 103 legal services firms that signed leases of 10,000 square feet and larger in Manhattan, 79 leased or renewed space in Midtown. Midtown law firm leasing activity totaled 4.7 million square feet and accounted for 89.3 percent of the total square footage leased by this industry over the last two and a half years. Out of the 79 Midtown law firm transactions, 36 were renewals and accounted for 45.6 percent of the square footage signed.
There were 40 Midtown tenants that moved out of their existing space but stayed within Midtown, which totaled 45.9 percent of the square footage leased. Of these 40 law firms, 31 relocated into a different submarket within Midtown. No existing Midtown law firms decided to move to another major market during this time, but three moved from Downtown to Midtown.