Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2006 (Revised March 2009)

Clifford Chance: Repotting the Tree

by Arthur I Segel, A. Eugene Kohn and Nhat Minh Nguyen


Clifford Chance, LLP, a global law firm headquartered in London, needs to make a decision whether to stay in the central business district of London or move to a redeveloped business park at Canary Wharf, three miles outside of central London. Peter Charleton, head of the London Office, is proposing to move to Canary Wharf and building a single, landmark headquarters with all the necessary amenities and premium fit-outs that are appropriate for an elite law firm. The tension surrounding the case is the choice to move from the hub of commerce in central London to a relatively obscure site whose owners (Olympia and York) have a history of financial bankruptcy. What business elements (clients, operations, employees, etc.) should they consider if they move the firm and how much relative weight do they place on each element? How do they frame the advantages and disadvantages between central London and Canary Wharf? What type of items should they program into the new facility (cellular or open floor plans, ceiling heights, common space, dining facilities, gymnasiums, etc.)? How should they prioritize these items?

Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Business Headquarters; Decision Choices and Conditions; Geographic Location; Logistics; London;


Segel, Arthur I., A. Eugene Kohn, and Nhat Minh Nguyen. "Clifford Chance: Repotting the Tree." Harvard Business School Case 207-073, October 2006. (Revised March 2009.)