Freshfields Opens New Silicon Valley Office at 855 Main in Downtown Redwood City
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP today officially opened the doors of its elegant new 40,000-square-foot office at 855 Main in downtown Redwood City. As anchor tenant, the firm occupies the top two floors of the new building. Additionally, the building and lobby are adorned with Freshfields signage.
“We are delighted to be in our new office after a year of anticipation,” said Sarah Solum, Freshfields’ US Managing Partner and Head of US Capital Markets. “This elegant new space supports our growth here in Silicon Valley and is testament to our commitment to providing the highest level of service to our clients in the region and globally.”
Freshfields first signaled the move in February 2021, when it announced a 10-year lease for the new space. In moving from the firm’s initial Silicon Valley location at 2710 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Freshfields joins a number of other prominent organizations and companies that have relocated to downtown Redwood City in recent years.
855 Main is constructed to meet the highest green building standards, with added improvements to HVAC and mechanical systems — in sync with the firm’s global environment strategy. The Gensler-designed space is located near Caltrain’s Redwood City Station, which opens up convenient and efficient commuting options for colleagues in San Francisco and throughout the Peninsula. Among its many amenities, the office includes a large outdoor terrace for events and several collaborative spaces.
Freshfields launched in Silicon Valley in July 2020 with seven founding partners that have expertise in capital markets, M&A, corporate governance, employee benefits, regulatory and shareholder litigation, which are of strategic importance to the region’s many technology and life sciences clients advised by the firm. Today, the Silicon Valley office has grown to a team of nearly 40 lawyers, including 10 partners, and has nearly tripled the number of associates. The Silicon Valley team works with clients ranging from pre-IPO companies preparing to go public to some of the largest companies in the world.
“The great tech and biotech companies in Northern California have stretched the contours of the Valley out from San Jose to San Francisco and the East Bay. We're excited to be smack dab in the middle, in resurgent Redwood City,” said Boris Feldman, Freshfields’ Global Co-Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms.
Learn more about the office — and visit the included link for a sneak peek through a photo slideshow — in the exclusive below, republished with permission from the June 17, 2022 edition of The Recorder © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.
‘Indoor-Outdoor Working’: An Exclusive Look Inside Freshfields’ New Silicon Valley Office
"People were working at home for a long time. The last thing they want to do is go to work. So we thought a lot about how to make it both look and feel polished, but also to be a very comfortable place to work," said Sarah Solum, Freshfields’ U.S. managing partner.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s new Silicon Valley office emphasizes comfort at a time when law firms are trying to coax attorneys back into offices.
The 40,000-square-foot office is spread out across the top two floors of 855 Main in downtown Redwood City, California. Sarah Solum, Freshfields’ U.S. managing partner and head of U.S. capital markets, said the pet-friendly office—designed by architecture firm Gensler—features a wellness room, fireplace, plenty of chairs and couches and a tea set for some of the attorneys’ afternoon tea ritual.
“We all thought about, as we worked with Gensler to design our space, of course, we want our space to be polished and professional. We’re a law firm, so that goes without saying,” she said. “But it also needs to be really comfortable for all of us, for our clients. Because, guess what? People were working at home for a long time. The last thing they want to do is go to work. So we thought a lot about how to make it both look and feel polished, but also to be a very comfortable place to work.”
The Freshfield attorneys’ four-legged office mates, which regularly include two black labs and a King Charles Spaniel, also add to the homey feel, Solum said.
Solum helped launch the firm’s Silicon Valley base in July 2020 alongside six other founding partners, including former Sidley Austin partner John Fisher, who heads up the firm’s U.S. technology and life sciences M&A practice. Another founding partner Maj Vaseghi returned to Latham & Watkins in March. Since opening, the office has grown to include 40 attorneys, 10 of which are partners.
In February 2021, Freshfields announced that it signed the 10-year Redwood City lease and would vacate its temporary space at 2710 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. Solum said the move offers a more streamlined commute for team members spread out across the San Francisco Bay Area, because the office is within walking distance of a Caltrain stop that has access to the express Baby Bullet line.
“Having a commute that’s doable, that allows more people to live in more places,” she said. “Also, it’s more environmentally friendly to take the train. And that’s a huge part of what the firm is focused on.”
When asked whether the firm considered a shorter lease, Solum said 10 years was the minimum. “We’re not here just to test the market. We’re here for the long term. You can see, just by the quality of the spacing invested, this is built to serve a very long time.”
The firm also aimed to create a flexible, adaptable space to pivot to pandemic-related changes, Solum said. “We know how we could revise the space if we wanted to lean toward any sort of different use of space,” she said. “We’ve all read about how some firms are switching to hoteling and those sorts of things. We’ll be subject to whatever norms evolve, and that’s definitely part of what we thought about.”
The office’s location in the Peninsula and its sculptural, spiral staircase were also operational choices influenced by the pandemic era, according to Solum. “One thing we all learned from the pandemic is that being in a high rise and getting on elevators is not fun to do trying to social distance.”
The space’s focus on “indoor-outdoor working,” as Solum referred to it, is another pandemic-friendly design element. The office features a large terrace that will soon be equipped with outdoor conferencing facilities, including videoconferencing capabilities.
In addition to focusing on comfort, Solum said the firm was careful not to make the office feel overly masculine, as some traditional law firm designs have leaned in the past, or overly feminine, for that matter. Solum described the space as elegant, which “implies both beauty but nothing extra, nothing ornamental.” She said the firm didn’t have an “extravagant” art budget, but instead focused on making the office a place lawyers and clients wanted to come to.
The office is in the “agile policy” phase of return to the office, the law firm leader said. “Most companies will be in phases for a while because you just have to adapt to the pandemic,” she said. “For us, that means being in the office for most people at least three days a week. For me, personally, I’m in every day. I prefer to work in the office.”
Besides Freshfields team members, Solum said she could also see clients, some of which have transitioned to remote or hybrid workplace models, taking advantage of the space, as well.
“This is a very important office for the firm,” Solum said. “The technology sector, the health care sector—they’re both two of the most active sectors in the market and for the firm. So it’s a very important base and a very important part of the world for us.”
About Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global elite law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world's leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on groundbreaking and business-critical mandates. Our 2,800-plus lawyers deliver results worldwide through our own offices and alongside leading local firms. Our commitment, local and multinational expertise, and business know-how means our clients rely on us when it matters most.
Freshfields is ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 across the six areas of antitrust, corporate/M&A, litigation, international arbitration, tax, and public international law. For more information visit Freshfields.us.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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