Clifford Chance is set to return to the City after striking a deal to leave its Canary Wharf headquarters in 2028.
The Magic Circle law firm has struck a deal with Great Portland Estates (GPE) to rent 321,000 sq ft of office space at the property developer’s 2 Aldermanbury Square project, which is set to be finished by December 2025.
Clifford Chance said it plans to leave its Canary Wharf headquarters on 10 Upper Bank Street after its lease expires in 2028.
The move comes after Clifford Chance first moved to the Canary Wharf skyscraper it currently occupies after leaving its old City headquarters in 2003.
Clifford Chance’s exit to the docklands saw it become the first major law firm to leave the square mile, in taking up 700,000 sq ft of space in the 30-story tower.
Clifford Chance’s move back to the City follows reports of a partner revolt within the firm over its efforts to get staff back into the office.
A review commissioned by the London firm reportedly concluded Clifford Chance should cut two-thirds of its office space, as it would not be needed due to hybrid working.
A Clifford Chance spokesperson confirmed the new building will be smaller than its current docklands HQ.
Clifford Chance’s managing partner Michael Bates said the move will “support the firm’s longer term environmental targets.”
The law firm’s deal with GPE will see Clifford Chance rent 12 floors of the property developer’s new building at an initial price of £77 per square foot.
The 20-year lease agreements will give Clifford Chance the option to entirely exit the new offices after 15 years.
Further agreements will give it the opportunity to leave the fourth floor after eight years, and the fifth floor after 12 years.
GPE chief Toby Courtauld said the deal represents “GPE’s largest ever letting and is yet another example of the enduring attraction of the City of London as well as the resilience of the central London office market.”
Formed through a merger in 1987, Clifford Chance traces its history back to London law firm Coward Chance, which was first established in 1802.