Dallas legal firms are still heading Uptown and taking less space

Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the country’s top spots for law firms.

And more of the legal business is leaving downtown for newer digs in Dallas’ booming Uptown district.

D-FW ranks seventh nationally for legal workers with about 27,000 jobs, according to a new report by commercial real estate firm CBRE. Since 2010, D-FW has added almost 2,000 legal services positions. 

New York is the top legal market with 136,500 law firm workers.

“The Dallas central business district is still home to many of the large law firms in D-FW, but firms are slowly migrating to Uptown and the north side of the CBD and the Arts District due to the live-work-play environment offered there,” said Phil Puckett, CBRE executive vice president. “We are also seeing a growing trend of national law firms opening new offices in D-FW.”

With several recent leases, law firms now occupy more than 1.6 million square feet of office space in the Uptown market. That compares with more than 2.8 million square feet of downtown offices that are used by legal firms, according to CBRE.

In the last year, out of the five largest law firm office leases, three were in Uptown. The biggest move was Gardere Wynne Sewell’s move from downtown to the new McKinney & Olive tower in Uptown.

With moves to new offices, D-FW law firms are downsizing their footprints in buildings. On average, they cut space 30 percent in the year ending mid-2017. More than half of the largest law firm office transactions in the last year resulted in a decline in space rented.

Austin leads the country for law firm growth, with a 43 percent increase in the number of lawyers since 2010, CBRE’s study found.

Top U.S. markets for law firms
Ranked by number of legal jobs:

New York City              136,500
Los Angeles                      66,500
Miami                                  47,600
Chicago                              47,300
Washington, D.C.          45,500
Philadelphia                   39,200
Dallas-Fort Worth  27,000
San Francisco               26,100
Boston                                25,000
Houston                            24,800

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