Raposo Bernardo & Associados has emerged as a new kind of internationally-minded Lisbon-based law firm, with a focus as much on developing its profile outside of Portugal as within it. The strategy appears to be working. The past year has seen it gain new market share and climb the domestic deal and ranking tables, in the face of almost unparalleled economic challenges.
The start of May will see UK-based Lovells and Hogan & Hartson of the US merge to create Hogan Lovells, one of the top ten largest law firms in the world by both size and revenue. The tie-up, perceived widely in the legal sector as the first transatlantic "merger of equals" rather than a merger of necessity is, say both firms, a progressive response to the changing market and needs of multinational clients.
Manuel Castelo Branco is clearly a man of patience. Almost 15 years after he first explored the possibility of creating a truly Iberian law firm, his vision was finally realised this year with the creation of Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira – the name signalling the final integration of his own Lisbon-based Gonçalves Pereira, Castelo Branco & Associados (GPCB) with Spain's Cuatrecasas.
For many around the world, Bernardo Cremades is the most public face of Spain's arbitration community. At home he promoted the reform of what was then an outdated arbitration regime and supported the launch of the Club Español del Arbitraje. As he marks his 40th year in practice, the man who is often seen as the godfather of international arbitration in Spain is clearer than ever about the challenges ahead for arbitration.