US firms lead drive for European space

US practices have emerged as the driving force behind last year’s rush of City relocations, as law firms across Europe signed up for a staggering 2.4 million sq ft in total during 2003.

Exclusive research by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker has revealed that, throughout Europe’s top 10 cities, firms in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid leased an additional 1.5 million sq ft of office space.

In London, the likes of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood leased 80,000sq ft in a new building, which it moved into in May, while White & Case, which signed up for 120,000sq ft of space, helped spur the take up of new offices.

In 2003, law firm movement in London resulted in the total space leased reaching 430,600sq ft, just ahead of Paris, where 430,000sq ft was taken by lawyers.

UK firms are expected to have more impact on the market this year, with SJ Berwin and Herbert Smith having already taken on big office space commitments.

Top office space take-up in Europe by law firms in 2003
City Square feet % of total take-up
London 430,600 8.7
Paris 430,000 2.5
Amsterdam 416,000 13.6
Madrid 381,000 6.7
Frankfurt 196,000 3.5
Milan 162,000 9.2
Brussels 138,000 1.8
Warsaw 121,600 4.8
Edinburgh 80,000 11.5
Budapest 67,000 4.5
Total 2,411,000
Source: Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker