Case Study

Global Locke Lord, LLP

Situation & Objective

Locke Lord acquired the law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer In 2015. The acquisition had the following impact on Locke Lord’s real estate portfolio:

  • Increased office location count from 15 to 29
  • Annual real estate spend up from $30.0M to $65.0M
  • Real Estate square footage leased increased from 700,000 RSF to 1.2M RSF
  • Dual operations in 5 cities
  • Increased firm occupancy from 800 RSF/attorney to over 1,000 RSF/attorney

Having advised confidentially on the pre-acquisition real estate strategy, the team working with Locke Lord, developed a real estate plan that was ready for implementation upon acquisition. The agreed upon real estate strategy set out to achieve the following benchmarks within 3-4 years post acquisition:

  • 20-22 offices
  • Annual Real Estate Spend of $45.0-$50.0M
  • Consolidate all markets with dual redundancy
  • Firm wide occupancy density of 700-800 RSF/attorney


The team abstracted all leases and amendments, aggregated remaining obligations for all locations, performed occupancy evaluations at all under performing and redundant locations and completed in-depth research on each market. We then identified the immediate, moderate and long-term action items and began implementation city by city starting in Q1 2016 which led to the following;

  • Eliminated all 5 redundant locations by way of consolidation, early termination, sublease, assignment and buyout. The 5 redundant cities together comprised 500,000 RSF. Post implementation no redundancies remained and occupancy in the 5 cities was reduced to 250,000 RSF.
  • By way of assignment or early termination disposed of 4 additional sites and any excess space at sites the firm was maintaining. Impact on occupancy was a reduction of 150,000 RSF.
  • Completed lease restructures and extensions at 5 locations that were targeted as long term strategic markets, and the firm was either paying an over market rent or long on real estate. Impact on occupancy was reduction of 100,000 RSF and $5.0M In per annum RE spend.


This approach has achieved the following for Locke Lord post acquisition:

  • Total office count of 20 - reduction from 29
  • Annual RE spend of $45.0M - reduction from $65.0M
  • No markets with dual redundancies - reduction from 5
  • Firm wide occupancy density of 750 RSF/attorney - reduction from 1,000+ RSF/attorney