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McDonald Hopkins’ recent move from one floor at 300 N. LaSalle Drive to another wasn’t about adding more square feet — in fact, it accomplished quite the opposite with a drop in square footage. It was about establishing independence.

For more than seven years, the full-service firm existed on the 21st floor of 300 N. LaSalle — a space the firm subleased from Kirkland & Ellis — before moving to the 14th floor at the end of February.

Existing in Kirkland’s space limited the firm’s ability to tailor that space to its wants and needs, said managing partner Richard Kessler, who merged a firm he started with fellow partner and Chicago-Kent College of Law School buddy Steven Harris.

The firm became Harris, Kessler & Goldstein and was located at 640 N. LaSalle. The firm joined McDonald Hopkins in February 2007 and the move to 300 N. LaSalle occurred in January 2010.
“From a collaboration perspective, which is really what we’re about, the space just wasn’t what we really wanted,” Kessler said of the 21st floor. “We had 44 offices and 22 lawyers across 24,000 square feet, so it was very spread out and really didn’t engender a lot of collaboration as we like. This [14th] floor was gutted and we are now direct [tied as a true tenant] with the building, which allowed us to design the space that we wanted.”

When building out the space with GREC Architects and contractor DSI, Kessler said that making the space practical yet elegant was of paramount importance.

“Our client base is middle market. They want value and we want to deliver value,” he said. “We didn’t want space that had a lot of show with no practicality or function to it. We wanted it to feel like a very comfortable place to work. Natural elements — wood, stone, glass walls … things that look refreshing to walk by.”

Click here to read the entire article in Chicago Lawyer.
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