Clifford Chance is shifting all its mainstream London corporate team to the same floor of its Canary Wharf building to raise cash in a move that also sees the firm trial an open-plan setting.
The firm is carrying out a staggered transfer of the team from the 20th to the 21st floor of its London offices, with the space that is currently occupied by the team being marketed to prospective tenants.
One estimate being floated puts the annual business rate savings at £1m, based on the benefit of squeezing staff onto the same level.
In the meantime, the firm is looking to attract a long-term, high-quality tenant and has cleared the space on floor 20 to use as a show room.
The move excludes the financial institutions, funds, TMT and competition teams, which will be housed separately on their own floor.
The corporate team, which the firm split into three last year (31 January 2011), is currently housed over floors 20 and 21, with two of the groups on one floor and one on another.
The process to move the whole team onto floor 21 is being staggered over the course of a lengthy period, with a group transferring earlier this month and another team moving floors last Friday (11 May). The remainder are expected to transfer in a few months’ time. Other practice groups are unaffected.
A partner commented: “It’s kind of [about] integrating people, but it’s so that we have a better chance of renting out the building for a bit of cash. We save a huge amount in business rates.”
Meanwhile, the firm is trialling open-plan offices for the corporate team in the new set-up, with between a quarter and a third of the team – some volunteers, some forced – participating in the project, expected to last at least six months.