When London-based insurance firm Clyde & Co opened an office in Madrid in 2013, some people in the legal sector wondered why. With the Spanish economy going through a tough period, there was a view that it was not the best time to be trying to establish a new operation. But as Partner Ricardo Garrido points out, the insurance industry – which Clyde & Co internationally has partly built its reputation on serving – is counter-cyclical, so, in fact, it was a good time to launch.
Portugal´s pbbr (Pedro Pinto, Bessa Monteiro, Reis, Branco, Alexandre Jardim & Associados) was born in 2010 from the fusion of PRR&A (set up by Pedro Pinto and Inês Reis) and an ex-ABBC team led by César Bessa Monteiro and Carla Branco.
In an incredibly competitive market, the key is differentiating yourself from the competition. As clients are internationalising more and more, law firms are following suit and trying to offer something over and above their rivals. Such is the example of the recent launch of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, the first global law firm headquartered in Asia. With over 2,700 lawyers in 30 locations worldwide, the network is based on the three pillars of Australia, China and Europe, a combination that has not yet been seen at this level. “If you are going to do something different,” says Carlos Pazos, Managing Partner Spain at King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, “then do something truly unique.”
Following the hiring of José María Alonso to head Baker & McKenzie´s Madrid office’s dispute resolution team in March 2012, this year sees the former Managing Partner (MP) of Garrigues elected to lead the Madrid office.
For José Luis Huerta, Managing Partner of Hogan Lovells in Madrid and also Head of its Dispute Resolution Department, trials are his passion. “You need to feel passion for your profession,” he says, “otherwise it’s a very tough profession to be in”. Huerta has been with Hogan Lovells in Madrid ever since it began life as Lovells in 2004. Subsequently, he has survived the trials of building up a business, and adjusting to a merger and the ongoing crisis. He is especially proud of the triumph of going from an ‘unknown’ in the Spanish market, to cementing a place on its legal map, something that without a doubt, say competitors, was largely due to the merger with US firm Hogan & Hartson in 2010. Huerta agrees but with a caveat “Lovells was already an established name in Spain before the merger, but of course the merger gave us worldwide exposure that we wouldn’t otherwise have had – it’s logical!”