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!”
When the market hears the word `Miranda´, say competitors, they usually think of Africa. The law firm has steadily expanded into the continent over the past decade and a half, with associated offices in Angola, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe. And it has no intention of stopping anytime soon, says Rui Amendoeira, Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados’ Managing Partner.
In the current climate where Iberian markets are in crisis, some say the only way to survive is by having a strong international presence either through own offices abroad or being part of an international organisation.