Mumbai-based Abhijit Joshi, Managing Partner of Veritas Legal, doubled his office capacity in the Fort area to almost 11,000 square feet, compared to pre-pandemic levels, and more is not ruled out. “Office spaces will need to be reimagined to create experiences as lawyers start spending more time in office,” said Joshi.
A few hundred metres away, Zulfiquar Memon, managing partner of law firm MZM Legal, is doubling his office space too, as hiring is in full steam. “We are constantly working with our counterparts in the US, the UK and other parts of the world, which means, people will be staying at the office beyond usual working hours, and for that, we need to create a good environment and facilities, and that requires more space,” said Memon.
Not just Joshi and Memon, a bunch of law firms are expanding their offices or relocating to bigger spaces on the back of growing demand for legal services. Since late 2020 and early 2021, law firms have cashed in on record-breaking spikes in deals, litigation, and other business transactions.
The firms are on the lookout for buildings that offer better connectivity, multifunctional spaces, collaborative environment, good recreational and rest areas that have open spaces, according to property consultants and law firms. “Most law firms have seen expansions and portfolio upgradation happen to better buildings with Grade A amenities. The focus on employee well-being is leading to an increase in absorption in premium locations ,which have Grade A offices and unique amenities within the project and in the vicinity,” said Shweta Sawhney, MD, Delhi-NCR, Savills India.
Brokers say that demand from law firms has helped the leasing market in Gurgaon and Noida’s best central business districts (CBDs). Even when most law firms have continued with a hybrid work model, that allows employees to come to the office for only a few days a week, firms are increasingly asking lawyers to attend the office. The firms are also adding office space in anticipation of more work and hiring in the coming years, and the focus is on adding more functional spaces.
“People should want to come to the office as opposed to being forced to come,” said Joshi.
The top firms have also shifted to bigger offices to accommodate more lawyers. Last year in February, Max Estates, a subsidiary of Max Group‘s listed entity, Max Ventures & Industries, leased close to 80,000 sq. ft. in Noida to Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM).
Sridhar Gorthi, a partner at the law firm Trilegal and a member of its Management Committee, said that in the last three years, his firm has moved into new, more flexible office spaces in Mumbai, Gurgaon, and Bengaluru.
“With the leasing of 40,000 sq. ft. of office space in Saket, our Delhi office will now undergo an upgrade. Collectively, these upgrades will result in our office spaces growing by nearly 70% since 2019,” he said. Zulfiquar Memon, managing partner of law firm MZM Legal, said the new-age firms require space for their IT infrastructure, finance, admin staff, and even communication professionals, not just lawyers. Many firms have also created multiple satellite workspaces for the convenience of their people rather than having a single location in metros such as Delhi-NCR and Mumbai.
“We are leasing offices in multiple locations in these cities with the goal of offering flexibility to our lawyers, increasing productivity and offering a better work-life balance,” said Gaurav Dani, Senior Partner of IndusLaw.