September is moving month for Dallas-founded Haynes and Boone and Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr as each of the firms relocated to new offices in downtown Dallas that firm leaders tout as efficient and light-filled, with up-to-date technology and lots of collaborative spaces.
Planning for the new offices started during the pandemic, and years later Haynes and Boone relocated its Dallas office to the newly constructed Harwood No. 14 building in the Harwood District, and Munsch Hardt moved into three contiguous floors in Ross Tower.
The two Dallas-founded firms are among the latest to renovate or build out new offices in Texas as firms adapt to post-pandemic needs for new technology and collaborative spaces. In fact, law firm leasing activity has been strong during the first half of 2023 — the strongest since the start of the pandemic — according to the latest U.S. Law Firm Activity Report from Savills.
Am Law 100 firm Haynes and Boone’s office move-in date was Sept. 11, although the process is continuing. Munsch Hardt launched in its new space on Monday.
Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr
Munsch Hardt first moved into Ross Tower in 2005, and occupied floors 36, 38 and 39, but the firm started evaluating the Dallas market in early 2020 as its lease was coming up. Ultimately the firm signed a new lease in 2022 to relocate to floors 40, 41 and 42 in the building.
CEO Phil Appenzeller said the firm’s lawyers decided to stay in downtown Dallas, as rental prices are lower than in the Uptown area where many firms have moved recently. Also, Ross Tower is owned by HPI Real Estate Services & Investments, a client, he said.
“The building is, for a 1980s building, at a really good price point. I don’t think anybody wanted to move,” he said.
The firm hired Gensler, an architecture and design firm that also designed the firm’s new office space in Houston, to handle the Dallas project.
“The building is a little wonky in the sense it has some strange angles to it,” Appenzeller said. “We scraped everything pretty much and gave Gensler the green light to design efficiently,” he said.
Paul Manno, a principal at Gensler in Dallas, said the design reflects some of what they learned from the Houston project, such as providing connectivity space — for example a Munsch Hardt Cantina — sizing offices consistently, and adapting to changes in how firms practice. For instance, he said, libraries have evolved with technology, and firms no longer need as much space to store files.
Appenzeller said a firm priority was creating efficiency in the nearly 74,000-square-foot space, and the result is that the office will provide the firm with the capacity to grow. The firm currently has 101 lawyers in the office, but room for 130. Also, he said, the firm wanted the new office to be a place where lawyers would want to work, so it is bright with colorful flooring.
An internal staircase links the three floors and the Munsch Hardt Cantina is a gathering spot, he said.
The technology is also up-to-date, and includes nice televisions and cameras, Zoom conference rooms, and one room designed for litigators with two large screens for remote hearings, he said.
Manno said the most difficult challenge of the project was designing the staircase, because of the angles of the building, but overall the goal was creating spaces that don’t feel like the old office.
The private offices have sit/stand desks, more efficient furniture, and a wardrobe closet.
“There’s more daylight coming in, more intuitive movement through the space,” Manno said.
Appenzeller said “warm” is the one word that describes the new office.
“Even though we used a lot of light colors and terrazzo floors, there’s a lot of wood especially in the Cantina area. It feels warm. The furniture in the offices is not that old dark furniture,” he said.
Haynes and Boone
After 15 years in Victory Park, Haynes and Boone is in the process of moving more than 330 employees including more than 220 lawyers into five-and-one-half floors in Harwood No. 14., a building located close to the Katy Trail.
“We could not be more pleased with the move. Our attorneys and staff in Dallas are settling in…There’s a high level of energy as we take this big step,” said Taylor Wilson, managing partner of Haynes and Boone, who said the move started in mid-September and will be complete by Oct. 1.
The firm’s lawyer count in Dallas is at an all-time high, Wilson said, but the new space provides room to grow even though it’s smaller, because it’s more efficient. It features same-sized offices and more collaboration spaces for attorneys such as state-of-the-art video conferencing rooms and collaboration rooms for team meetings.
A large cafe area is on the 24th floor, accessible via from the 23rd-floor reception floor.
Sakina Foster, managing partner of the Dallas office, said the cafe space is for gatherings as well as meals, and the firm will display local artwork throughout the area, including a glass piece done by Carlyn Ray that will hang above the stairway.
The building is also a good fit for the firm’s wellness initiatives, Foster said, because there’s a gym and bike storage. The nearby Katy Trail provides hiking and biking opportunities.
The 125,000-square-foot office will accommodate a lawyer count in the mid-200s, Wilson said. In
In 2022, the firm moved to new offices in Denver and Mexico City, and plans call for a move to a new office in Austin later this year.
Foster said people are excited about the new office.
“It’s been 15 years in our old space and we are looking forward to a new chapter in our history,” she said.