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Changing how a firm is viewed internally and externally in one quick move is pretty hard, as countless City outfits have found. It can take years for perceptions to change.
But according to sources inside Field Fisher Waterhouse, the firm thinks it has an opportunity for a wholesale revamp of its image and culture by moving away from its fairly drab offices near Aldgate tube to a much more enticing base in a more exciting part of town.
It has drawn up a shortlist of at least four sites, one of which is right in the heart of the business world at 10 Aldermanbury, the domain of international banking giant JPMorgan.
JPMorgan has been trying to let it out for over a year and might have found a fine match in Field Fisher, which is looking to take on around 65,000-70,000 sq ft, according to market sources. FFW also plans to combine its two City offices into one.
Other sites are on the agenda and nothing is definite, but the move could be quick: FFW’s current lease ends in 2018, but it has the option to move as early as 2014, meaning it could even beat Nabarro to its office move.
The property issue is right at the top of FFW’s agenda right now following unsuccessful merger attempts with Lawrence Graham and Osborne Clarke that would have changed the real estate situation entirely had either deal taken place. Indeed, 10 Aldermanbury is only a few stones’ throws from Osborne Clarke’s London office.
It is understood that Field Fisher wants to find somewhere appropriate for its technology focus, while internally this is seen as a real chance to reposition the firm, just as Norton Rose’s adventurous move south of the river a decade ago put a new face on its business.
It’s the opportunity for a new lease of life, you could say.
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