Commercial & Industrial Property News Update

Singapore - Demand From Legal Sector Bucks Office Downturn


August 1, 2012

More international law firms are seeking office space in Singapore, reversing the current downtrend for office space demand in the republic, said Cushman & Wakefield.


Cushman & Wakefield found that Singapore is rapidly growing in popularity for international law firms.


The recent months have seen a number of new market entrants including UK-based firms Taylor Vinters, Withers, Lawrence Graham, Addleshaw Goddard and Freshfields. In addition, existing law firms such as Olswang were also seen to expand.


Further fuelling the growth are reports of more QLFP licenses being considered by the government, while established firms such as DLA Piper proceed with expansion plans.


On further analysis, Cushman & Wakefield noted a number of trends in the legal market expansion in Singapore. Firms are favouring relocation over renewal and expansion to accommodate the firm on a single floor and showcase customer focus through design-led fit out.


Secondly, legal firms are showing a preference for the newly completed international standard Grade A buildings including Asia Square (White & Case), Marina Bay Financial Centre (Ashurst LLP and Clifford Chance) and Ocean Financial Centre (Stamford Law).


Other notable trends observed are firms placing a priority on floor plate efficiency with an average of 20,000 - 30,000 sq ft being taken up and a preference for a cellular and open plan hybrid office layout. This trend is confirmed by Sonny Lim and Shafie Latiff from leading local design and architect practice, BBFL who have just completed the office designs for expanding international firms Allen & Overy and Ashurst LLP.


"Workspaces, especially in law firms have evolved tremendously. We have helped these clients to embody an open office concept. Heavy timber and panelling are replaced by clear glazing and polished sleek finishes which in turn reflects a more forward-thinking image, and one that embraces fresh ideas and unconventional ideas and directions."


Toby Dodd, Country Manager for Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield said, "Despite falling demand from occupiers, law firms are bucking the trend and expanding, and although the total space needs are far smaller than the financial institutions, it is a key barometer for confidence in the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets. This increased competition in the legal sector can only raise the bar in the quality of service available, thereby placing Singapore on the world stage for expertise in this arena."


Tags: Business space, Commercial Real Estate, Office space for rent

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