Law in EMEA offers the first benchmark analysis of the legal sector in key cities across the EMEA region.

Among our key findings:

  • Across the fifteen city markets analysed, the average occupation density is 21.6 sq m (232) sq ft per person, but the range is wide. Space standards vary significantly across cities, reflecting a range of factors including the mix of work undertaken, company hierarchies and type of space occupied. So while there is some relationship with absolute cost level, with firms in some of the more expensive cities occupying space at higher density than elsewhere, the relationship is loose.
  • There is, similarly, wide variation in space per fee earner around an overall figure of just over 39.0 sq m (420 sq ft). Across the sample as a whole, the ratio of fee earners to overall headcount is 55%, but in cities where it is lower than this - for instance Frankfurt and Dublin - the difference between space per person and space per fee earner can be significant.
  • Across the fifteen cities as a group rent per person averages €10,833 per annum and rent per fee earner averages €19,700. This is partly explainable by the absolute cost of renting space in each city, but there are also other factors at play. These include the location and quality of premises, timing of lease commitments and, critically, the prevalence of agile working policies.
  • Overall, the adoption of alternative or agile workspace strategies has so far been limited, with most firms continuing to favour traditional fixed seating arrangements, where all staff have assigned seating.  At the same time, firms in some cities - notably in the UK and Ireland - have successfully implemented agile and flexible strategies to manage their rental costs down.