According to Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, referencing commercial real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, says Atlanta’s economy is rebounding! According to Sams, the region’s second-largest employment sector, professional and business services, has gained back thousands of jobs it lost since the recession began. But who really knows when the recession actually began. All statistics regarding the rebound to 419,200 jobs as of September, 2012 are, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are professional and business services including: lawyers, engineers, accountants and computer programmers. It is refreshing to see that the economy is apparently rebounding in Atlanta through expansion in this sector, which is second to the largest job sector, trade, transportation and utilities (543,000 jobs).
While it is safe to say there has been a lot of “dark space” in the Atlanta area (ranging from Atlanta to Alpharetta), it is hard to determine which of the professional and business services are taking the actual lead for Atlanta’s “rebound”. It appears that tech services are driving employment gains across the country at a much faster rate than almost any other sector, which may be the lead for Atlanta’s increase in jobs from 2007 to present. Those skilled in computer systems design and related services may even be creating computer programs that will handle the insurance-Obama Care regulations for business.
Atlanta’s high-tech sector is apparently responsible for absorbing one of the highest percentages of office space relative to the size of its nearly 140-million-square-foot office market. According to Sams, only high-tech sectors in Seattle and in the San Francisco peninsula were running overall absorption in their office markets at a faster rate. An absorption rate is the rate at which rentable space is filled. Gross absorption is a measure of the total square feet leased over a specified period with no consideration given to space vacated in the same geographic area during the same time period. Net absorption is equal to the amount occupied at the end of a period minus the amount occupied at the beginning of a period and takes into consideration space vacated during the period.
Notes: Atlanta Business Chronicle by Douglas Sams, November 7, 2012, “Tech sector boosts commercial real estate recovery”
As a sponsor for Run for Justice facilitated by Atlanta Legal Aid Society, LawSpaceMatch was a part of the 1,200 participants raising $25,000 for the general operating fund of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. The run was on November 10, 2012, in Oakhurst for a 5K run and walk and was a great success. The highest overall participation was from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. The largest public interest teams with staff under 25 was the Fulton Child Advocacy and the DeKalb Public Defender’s Office. LawSpaceMatch, along with other sponsors, including the Daily Report and the Association of Legal Administrators (AALA), Delta and various law firms were proud to participate in this annual event.
With the road paved for sharing office space, attorneys seek options for finding suitable space with great amenities and a place for exchanging expertise with other like-minded professionals. A typical sublease may be feasible, allowing attorneys the avoidance of “dark space” for an extended period of time; however, other space sharing arrangements are available. While subleasing law office space means space that has been leased by a tenant and is being offered for lease back to the market by the tenant with the lease obligation, sometimes a sublease is not the answer.
Got Law Space? At least be thoughtful about it.
Sharing law space is a great way to cut costs. Creative lawyers are approaching law firms and groups of lawyers already sharing space and cutting that pie of office space in various pieces which represent benefits for the law firm and the mobile attorney. By presenting space sharing proposals that cater exactly to the needs of the attorney seeking space, it is a win/win situation. Perhaps an attorney only needs a conference room to meet with clients or conduct attorney team discussions. Instead of seeking virtual office space from generic office suites, attorneys are approaching other attorneys with law offices located nearby clients or their home. And those attorneys receiving those creative space sharing arrangements who are business minded are accepting those proposals – after satisfactory due diligence of course.
It’s good for you; it’s good for me.
Atlanta office vacancy still exists and Atlanta lawyers, as well as lawyers in nine other states are posting and listing empty office space on www.lawspacematch.com. Lawyers should be flexible in providing office sharing arrangements as long as they are comfortable with the lawyers sharing conference rooms and standing at the copy machine. Sharing law space means finding a good match. Resources are shared: whether an actual office is subleased or a conference room once a month is provided. Further benefits include: networking, networking, networking, which is a fruit of this synergy. There is always the potential client referral coming from that attorney using the conference room to an attorney granting law space who specializes in an area of law. Or vice versa. Also, costs are reduced: creative attorneys may offer an a la carte approach to the needed services sought for the mobile attorney or a flat rate per week or month. It is a no lose situation.
The mission of www.lawspacematch.com is to assist the legal profession by creating a web site targeted for attorneys in transition and law firms with empty office space. Immediate opportunities for attorneys desiring relocation may be found with criteria-based custom searches or views by zip codes. It’s simple. And its FREE to post or search for law space. Law firms post available office space; attorneys search and find space while simultaneously posting their professional profiles on our site. www.LawSpaceMatch.com is a matching site like no other and benefits both the law firms and the attorneys by directly connecting these two parties.
See Also: The Business of Law, Law Firms with Unused Offices,
LawSpaceMatch has a new listing ideal for civil trial attorneys! Located on 1201 Peachtree Street, this space features a receptionist, conference room, a covered parking deck and a great view of nearby Ansley Park. An established trial firm owns the space, and there are several offices available. This is a fantastic opportunity for a solo practitioners to work amongst reputable, knowledgeable colleagues in a professional environment. If interested, create your free attorney profile and contact Kari Beebe for more information!
See Also: Atlanta Office Space Vacancies, Law Firms with Unused Offices
LawSpaceMatch is now officially represented coast to coast; we have added a listing in California! Plug and Play Executive Suites is a Newport Beach area listing that offers a live receptionist, internet, phone lines, and access to conferences around the world from the get go. Check them out! You can also browse locations in Atlanta andNew York, among others.
LawSpaceMatch has been expanding! We now have law spaces listed in 9 different states, from Georgia to New York to Colorado. Do you live in Manhattan and are looking for free office space? We now have listings for New York City office suites on Lexington Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. All you have to do is click on the office listing and you are given a direct telephone number to contact the owner of the real estate. It is completely free – all you have to do is take five minutes to create an attorney profile. We are very excited about these new additions to our database of office space listings, and expect that even more expansion is soon to follow. As more and more people are finding out, acquiring an office space to practice law should not be a stressful, cat and mouse affair. It should be quick, streamlined and simple, and LawSpaceMatch provides the perfect medium for the process.
See Also: Law Firms with Unused Offices, Atlanta Office Space Vacancies
LawSpaceMatch.com is the perfect online service for newly graduated law students who are thinking of starting their own solo practice or small groups of graduates who want to hang out their own shingle. The purpose of LawSpaceMatch is to help attorneys looking for office space find law firms with available space. It is a match.com for lawyers seeking shared office space.
The founder of LawSpaceMatch, a Mercer Law graduate, Elaine M. Russell was looking for a new office space for her solo corporate law practice in Atlanta, Georgia. After a frustrating search, yielding no website or source that connected her with open office space, she resorted to a door to door search for office space. Since pounding the pavement was not the best use of resources or time, Elaine developed LawSpaceMatch to save other attorneys from having to do the same legwork.
This online service is free and easy to use and accessible to attorneys and firms with office space needs. Law firms with space to rent or sublet can post these listings and upload photographs on the website. Attorneys search for law office space that would match their needs. Since the online service covers all regions of the country, it enables solo practitioners in transition to hang a shingle in a different state or find a partner in a different part of the city or state to with which to share space.
Lawyers and law students may also post their professional profile. Since attorneys are able to view each others professional profiles, finding attorneys with similar practice areas with whom to share space is easier. Whether you are a new solo practitioner or a current practitioner looking to start a new practice, www.LawSpaceMatch.com can help you save time, space, and ultimately money. This website is free to use.
Check out blog.LawSpaceMatch.com. Mercer law student Sarah Phaff has posted on the blog along with many others. If you are interested in contributing a blog post, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also check out the podcast
Contributed by: Sarah Phaff, 2L via Mercer Law Free Press
See Also: A View From Law Students, Law Firms with Unused Offices, Atlanta Office Space Vacancies
Another Atlanta law firm has made the decision to move from its current office space, negotiating a new lease at Midtown’s 24-story Proscenium Building. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP has been operating its law offices in The Bank of America Plaza since the 1990′s, during an Atlanta law firm exodus from downtown. A move for this law firm after over ten years means better lease terms are certainly available in Atlanta with excess law space. Rob Binion’s (of LaVista Associates, Inc.) theory of “flight to qualify” may have been a factor in Paul Hasting’s lease negotiations.
Whether or not Paul Hastings tries to negotiate certain concessions from its current landlord or seeks a different level of quality at the Proscenium Building, the bottom line is law firms are taking the end of the lease term very seriously; lease costs hit the law firm’s bottom line. While the deal may have taken a good part of the past year, Paul Hastings seems to be shrinking its space in this sluggish commercial real estate market; its lawyers and staff are located in approximately 100,000 square feet. A new lease could save Paul Hastings $3.00 to $5.00 a foot, according to certain sources. Will The Bank of America Plaza retain its tenant, Paul Hastings, the 22nd largest law firm in Atlanta, with 68 attorneys and 115 total staff (it has 18 offices worldwide and more than 1,000 attorneys) or will the price and/or the quality offered at the Proscenium Building lure this law firm to its new law offices?
As we mentioned in a prior blog dated November 13, 2011, the owners of office buildings in Atlanta have their own headaches. The Bank of America Plaza was purchased by BentleyForbes Group, LLC from Atlanta-based Cousins Properties in 2006. Sources indicate that BentleyForbes has talked with its lenders for debt considerations hinting that the owner is seeking more favorable or workable terms.
While Paul Hastings has not signed on the dotted line, with its Bank of America Plaza lease expiring in 2012, it seems likely that Paul Hastings will entertain options for its leased law space. Paul Hastings joins Arnall, Golden, Gregory, LLP and Buckhead’s Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, a few of the largest law firms when considering a new lease deal this year.
Notes: Atlanta Business Chronicle, October 28 through November 3, 2011.
See Also: Law Firms with Unused Offices, A View From Law Students, The LawSpaceMatch Official Podcast
According to a recent report from Grubb & Ellis Company, the 144.4 million-square-foot Atlanta office market in the third-quarter 2011 has a 22.9% vacancy level. The reasons appear to be related to slow growth, undercapitalized ownership and starving landlords.
Class A office space in the metropolitan Atlanta area decreased 9 percent to $22.62 per square foot during the quarter, and Class B rates dropped 2 percent to $14.48. The inventory of available sublease space decreased to roughly 3.6 million square feet in the third quarter, according to Grubb & Ellis Company, a drop of approximately 315,000 square feet on the previous quarter. Why the continued vacancy rate? For starters, there is a drop in rental rates due to unemployment. (In the legal sector, July, 2011 brought an increase in unemployment claims for Georgia lawyers.) Secondly, tenants are not renegotiating leases and moving to new office space. Principal Dan Granot of Joel & Granot Real Estate, LLC noted that “some submarkets have been head-and-shoulders above others in terms of recovery, but I do not know if what we are seeing are the results of true absorption or just a game of ‘musical chairs’ playing out.” Atlanta tenants are supporting the trend of moving from older office space to newer office space where they can seek higher quality. The legal profession is no exception. For instance, the law firm Fisher & Phillips moved from a prominent Buckhead space to a Midtown space, siting new quality accommodations which supports Rob Binion’s (associate broker at LaVista Associates, Inc.) theory that 2011 “has proven to be a year of “flight to quality”. According to Binion, a flight-to-quality trend is most evident in the Class A sector of the Buckhead market, “with the overwhelming share of positive absorption for the entire city occurring in here – at the expense of Class B buildings in Buckhead and every other submarket in town”.
In March, 2011, we posted an article noting law firms’ reactions to landlord’s response to lease renewals. Decline of concessions or re-negotiations of the lease was highlighted. The climate has not changed. Lack of incentives for providing incentives for beneficial lease renewal terms and thereby, helping prevent law firms from exiting current law office space is not necessarily derived from Atlanta landlords. Binion seems to uncover one of the reasons why landlords have been unable to provide appropriate concessions to retain law firms: owners of these buildings have no capital available to pay for lease-up expenses, such as marketing, advertising, tenant improvement allowances to commissions and credit checks. If owners and/or venture capitalists holding (equity or debt) in Atlanta office buildings have dry coffers, the sluggish recovery will continue. Simply, there are no funds available for needed improvements and marketing techniques. According to Binion, the ” flight to quality” will accelerate. This leaves the owners of older Class B and C buildings effectively pulling themselves out of the leasing market until more funds are available to provide necessary factors or retaining tenants.
Metro Atlanta landlords will have to remain aggressive in order to compete at least through 2012, according to Russ Jobson, Senior Vice President and Principal in Colliers International (Atlanta office). The decline of the recovery of the Atlanta office market sector directly influences the sublease submarket. If tenants cannot negotiate better deal terms for even a short term lease, their option for subleasing their space is a viable option. Additional “dark space” is not an option for profitable law firms. Atlanta law firms and other law firms around the country are turning to www.lawspacematch.com, an exclusive site for lawyers posting their empty law space and sharing law space with lawyers. On the other hand, if the “flight to quality” continues, according to Binion’s theory, law firms may relocate to a space which more appropriately accommodates the number of lawyers currently employed.
Notes: Atlanta Business Chronicle, Commercial Real Estate Section, November 4-10, 2011.
See Also: Law Firms with Unused Offices, Persistence of the Economic Downturn Forces a New Legal Landscape , Law Firms – Don’t Use Your Empty Offices For Storage – It’s a Waste