Cardiff looks set to become something of a hub for law firms in the UK if current trends continue, as it has been revealed that as much as 19.2% of total Cardiff office take-up in 2016 was accounted for by the legal services sector, constituting the highest percentage of any city in the UK.

Notable deals included law firm Hugh James signing to secure approximately 100,000sq ft of office space at Two Central Square, where an office scheme is currently under construction. They are expected to occupy the space by the end of next summer. At the nearby address of One Central Square, Morgan Cole also agreed on a deal which will see the company occupy around 28,000 sq ft of office space.

These figures come from a recent report titled ‘Your Future Now’, published by property consultants Knight Frank. The report also went into some detail as to the driving forces behind this influx of law firms to the city, highlighting new technologies, disruptive market entrants and shifting client demands as particularly influential in this regard.

Matt Phillips, head of Knight Frank’s Cardiff office, states that, “As a result, the law firm of the future will need to be more innovative, nimble, lean and tech-focused. This, in turn, will transform the property requirements of the legal services sector.”

Five key trends emerged from the report which are expected to have a substantial effect on the future property requirements of those companies operating within the legal services sector. These trends, as reported by WalesOnline, are listed as: rapid advances in technology; the competitive threat to mid-tier firms; the arrival of more new market entrants; a radical change to the organisational structure and talent requirements of law firms; and a need to demonstrate skill, productivity and ongoing innovation rather than simply scale.

Resultant changes to property requirements stemming from the aforementioned trends are expected to include a more complete view of real estate costs, more efficient use of available space and the incorporation of collaborative, social, and client-centric spaces. During this time of change the report also predicts that the market will become rather crowded as alternative business structures achieve success through the provision of greater efficiency, quality and service.

Mr Phillips said of the report and the expected implications, “In Cardiff we are already clearly seeing the move to satisfy these new requirements by law firms.

“The flight to quality, with amenity-rich properties and locations that reflect brand and values, is evident in the demand by the legal services sector for the very highest-quality office buildings in central Cardiff.

“Although all this change is challenging to firms in the legal services sector, there is a real possibility that Cardiff as a whole could benefit.

“As the growth of legal process outsourcing companies seeking to operate from more cost-effective locations takes hold, regional markets such as Cardiff – where both a rental and operational cost discount to central London is clear – become extremely attractive.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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