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CHICAGO-Leasing brokers are hoping the merger of two law firms, which resulted in a 29,412-sf lease expansion at 401 N. Michigan Ave. at the foot of the Magnificent Mile, is a harbinger of things to come. Michael Best & Friedrich and Schwartz & Freeman have merged, retaining the former firm’s name and resulting in a lease of 66,416 sf at Equitable Life Assurance Society’s building along the Chicago River.

The merged firm now has 100 attorneys.

“Recently, there have been multiple mergers and acquisitions in the legal services industry,” says Julien J. Studley, Inc.executive vice president Richard Schuham. “This is the first major lease transaction in Chicago this year that has occurred as a result of M&A activity. We expect to see substantial additional shifting among the larger law practices throughout the year in Chicago.”

Schuham represented Michael Best & Friedrich, which is relocating from from 77 W. Wacker Dr., along with corporate managing director Lisa Davidson. MarkGunderson of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Equitable Life Assurance Society.

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