Nabarro and Olswang sign deal to move into CMS London headquarters

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Nabarro and Olswang have agreed a deal to move into the London headquarters of CMS ahead of their combination on 1 May 2017.

The three firms have signed a lease to take two extra floors at 78 Cannon Place. CMS currently occupies the first, second and third floors of the building, with the new deal set to see the combined firm occupy the sixth and seventh floors as well.

The other tenants at Cannon Place are CBI, Franklin Templeton Investments, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, BLME and i2 Offices.

In London, Olswang is currently based at 90 High Holborn while Nabarro occupies office space at 125 London Wall.

Cannon Place is expected to be a long-term residence for the three firms when they merge in May. There are no plans to move to new premises on merging, as reported elsewhere.

CMS first moved into Cannon Place in 2015 after signing a 25-year lease in 2013 to occupy 140,000 sq ft across three floors of Cannon Place. At the time, it negotiated a six-year rent-free period as part of the deal.

Previously, it had originally planned to take up 200,000 sq ft in Hammerson’s Principal Place skyscraper when the lease at its former office at Mitre House expired, but pulled out of discussions while the City tower was still under development in 2012, due to market uncertainty.

The firms said in a statement today that having all London staff “under one roof” will “create greater flexibility and collaboration”.

CMS senior partner Penelope Warne said: “Our relocation to Cannon Place in June 2015 was reflective of our strategy and vision to create a modern, dynamic law firm driven by technology. Cannon Place is an excellent collaborative working environment and we are delighted to be welcoming our new colleagues in May 2017, many of whom are already familiar faces.”

Olswang chief executive officer Paul Stevens added: “One of the principles we share is the way in which we aspire to work – to move away from the traditional notion of lawyers at desks and toward a fully agile platform. Olswang’s move to open plan in London throughout the last year will position us well to collaborate with our new colleagues at Cannon Place.”

The three-way merger of Nabarro, Olswang and CMS UK was voted through by partners this October. The global firm will continue to be known as CMS, while the UK LLP will be named CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP. The deal will create a firm with nearly 2,500 lawyers in the UK, with combined UK revenues of around £450m and global revenues of more than €1.2bn.

Since announcing the merger, the trio have made more than 50 referrals to each other, according to the statement, across sectors including energy, financial services, life sciences and healthcare, real estate and TMT. Those referrals have been made across the UK as well as internationally, in jurisdictions including Beijing, Brussels, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Oman, Spain, Switzerland and France.