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Upcoming Changes for Law Firm Real Estate

Carrie Rossenfeld Office

CBRE recently hired real estate law expert Thomas W. Turner, Jr. as a VP. Turner will specialize in the tenant representation of law firms, technology companies, and other commercial real estate users throughout Southern California, with a focus on San Diego.

SoCal Real Estate spoke with Turner about his new position, the ways that law firms are embracing modern office space, and the must-haves of tech companies in the office sector.

Thomas W. Turner, Jr. | Courtesy a representative of CBRE

SoCal Real Estate: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role with CBRE?

Turner: I hope to leverage my unique skillset to provide a competitive advantage and add value for our clients. Over 35 years of advising on commercial real estate deals, if I haven’t seen it all, I certainly haven’t missed much. In my 17 years as managing partner, Procopio grew from a modest local firm to a distinguished AmLaw 200 firm with a national reputation. I lead the charge on all our very advantageous lease deals, and leveraged firm profits accordingly. Again, the idea is to use my unique experience and perspective to add unique value.

We’ve learned about how law firms are embracing creative space and smaller footprints (due to using less paper in the digital age). What other changes are coming down the pike for this sector?

Your first observation is true but can still vary greatly from firm to firm. It is all about embracing technology and letting go of old standards, such as big private offices. Some firms are quicker to embrace this trend, while others are still experiencing some pushback. But change is inevitable in order to stay competitive. Some of the biggest changes will derive from the ever-increasing market competitiveness, as rapidly expanding AI platforms and a growing roster of in-house counsel shrink overall law-firm demand.

What are the must-haves of tech companies in the office sector?

It is all about attracting and retaining top young talent, so in this space it is critical to provide a fresh, dynamic, amenity-rich environment. The other key is flexibility. Product demand fluctuation and unpredicted opportunities and challenges magnify the importance of generous leasehold expansion and contraction rights.

What do you find unique about the San Diego commercial real estate market?

While San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country, it remains a “Big Small Town.” Relationships and reputation are paramount. In addition to the multitude of legal and real estate contacts, my heavy involvement in a wide range of community organizations has resulted in a wealth of very positive personal relationships, which I am optimistic will serve me well at CBRE.