McDermott Will & Emery's new office near the U.S. Capitol and Covington & Burling's upcoming move east to the new CityCenter DC site are harbingers of things to come, a panel of D.C. real estate experts, lawyers and business community representatives agreed this morning.
The discussion, which was hosted by McDermott, explored the role that law firms play in the local economy, from real estate and jobs to pro bono work and civic engagement. According to data that Bobby Burchfield, co-partner-in-charge of McDermott’s D.C. office, cited from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in his remarks, the legal industry is the second largest contributor to the city's gross domestic product, second only to the federal government.
Barbara Lang, president and chief executive officer of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, grouped the legal industry's major contributions to the city into three categories: real estate, taxable income and pro bono work supporting local nonprofits. She noted the "huge impact" law firms have on real estate, but lamented that the city can't tax the income of D.C.-based lawyers who live outside the city.