"Even as office-using employment has rebounded nationally, law firms on the whole have failed to keep pace, according to Savills Studley. The slowdown in the legal sector's growth could be the new normal, says Heidi Lerner, the firm's chief economist." - Paul Bubny, "Law Sector Slowdown May Be New Normal," GlobeSt., October 22, 2014. Here is that article.
It used to be that large, medium-size, and boutique law firms could be counted on to lease plenty of square footage of prime office space. After all, in high-end professional services, you are your address. Clients, prospects, and the media expect you to be housed in trophy buildings.
That was then.
As GlobeSt. points out, commercial real estate experts forecast a permanent downsizing of the sector's use of office space. That's because of three reasons.
One, law firms are both reducing its manpower and the space per employee. Part of this is result of stepped-up M&A activity, which always results in a Reduction In Force.
Two, the focus is growth internationally, not domestically.
And, three, both weak revenue and Profit Per Partner growth have put the brakes on law-firm expansion in the U.S.
Given these three developments, those in commercial real estate observing the legal sector don't forecast a rebound, not domestically.