DLA received millions of pounds in premium when it surrendered its offices at London Wall, The Lawyer can reveal.
The money has gone into the firm’s equity pool and is expected to hit the lining of the partners’ pockets over the next few years.
In March 2000, investment bank Chase Manhattan (now Chase) paid DLA a £5m premium when it took over the leasehold of the firm’s old offices. However, partners are yet to receive any of the money and a source close to the firm says that the £5m asset may be offset by liabilities, including the firm’s offices in Dowgate Hill.
DLA has been unable to let its office space in Dowgate Hill and is renovating the offices to make them more attractive to prospective lease holders.
The source says: “We’re paying rent for offices that we aren’t occupying. There’s some money being retained within the firm but we might end up with nothing.”
DLA managing partner Nigel Knowles confirms that the firm received some money from Chase when it left the offices in London Wall. But he says that it cost the firm £11.3m to fit the new offices in Nobel Street.
“The deal between DLA and Chase is confidential but if you are saying we received £5m and the cost of fitting Nobel Street was £11.3m then where do you think the money went?” he says. “Any money that we received has been spent on the move.”