Amsterdam ranked in the top three for legal sector office space

Office space strategic tool in war for talent

Offices in the Amsterdam legal sector are relatively generous to their employees when it comes to workspace: 31.8 sq. m. per person. In terms of occupation density per person, Amsterdam is outranked only by Dusseldorf (35 sq. m.) and Brussels (47.1 sq. m.). The average for the sector is 21.6 sq. m. This is according to a CBRE study into the use of office space in the legal sector across 15 European cities. Amsterdam law firms are making strategic use of their real estate to offer flexibility and attract and retain talent.

Traditional office layout

Although the legal sector still tends to prefer the more traditional office layout, this is starting to change. As many as 80% of the offices in the cities studied use fixed seating arrangements, with 66% applying a traditional cellular concept, featuring one or two desks in a separate room. Amsterdam scores 100% on both of these points.

René van Dijk, Director Workplace Strategies & Design: “Offices in Amsterdam are sticking to the traditional cellular arrangement with fixed seating, which basically reflects the type of work that the staff do. They need to be able to concentrate and work without disruption.”

More secondary rooms

“But we’re also seeing some changes in the use and layout of lawyers’ offices,” continues Van Dijk. “The number of additional rooms continues to increase, including communal areas, meeting rooms and team rooms. This also explains the high number of square metres per person in Amsterdam. It simply gives employees more options, enabling them to be more flexible, collaborate more effectively in teams and also take on more complex cases. Whereas the proportion of workplaces compared to secondary rooms used to be 70-30, it is now 50-50. In that respect, Amsterdam is ahead of the other European cities.”

Attracting and retaining talent

“These kinds of changes are the result of strategic workplace analysis. In this sector, employers are carefully assessing what their employees want and how they use the office. Based on this analysis, they work out how they can use the office to retain existing staff while also attracting new talent. They are making very deliberate efforts to achieve this.”


The study reveals a series of trends that are being deployed in the legal sector to attract and retain talent:

  • Functional layouts and use of space rather than layout based on hierarchy;
  • Increased focus on the need for collaboration, for example through rooms especially intended for knowledge sharing;
  • Innovation, more technology in offices and the latest audiovisual tools;
  • Improved workplace experience, for both clients and employees;
  • Experiments with a variety of real estate solutions, such as remote hubs to offer commuters greater flexibility.

“All of these trends can also be seen to a greater or lesser extent in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands,” says Van Dijk. “While still maintaining its traditions, the legal sector is gradually changing and reinventing itself. Always with a view to maintaining and boosting its employees’ enjoyment and convenience at work. This is how real estate is being strategically deployed in the war for talent.

Download the full report here: Law in EMEA: Space usage and workplace strategies in the legal sector

Here you can read more about the strategic use of real estate in the war for talent.

About CBRE

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2019 revenue). The company has more than 100,000 employees (excluding affiliates) and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 530 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at