Iberian Lawyers Target US and UK

A survey of the Group of Experts, Iberian Lawyer’s new think-tank for leading lawyers within Spain and Portugal, reveals that the US and UK are regarded as their most important markets, although the Far East and China are gaining in importance.

Iberian Lawyer ha creado el Grupo de expertos que incluye a abogados líderes dentro de los mercados jurídicos español y portugués. Iberian Lawyer analiza el resultado de una cuestión dirigida a este grupo: ¿cuáles son las jurisdicciones que consideran ofrecen las mejores oportunidades de negocio? Los resultados revelan que Reino Unido y EEUU son los mercados de mayor importancia, en cuanto a oportunidades y con una diferencia mínima entre las dos jurisdicciones; sin embargo, no hay que perder de vista el creciente interés por el Medio Oriente y China. También cabe subrayar las diferencias en el ámbito nacional, las cuales reflejan un mayor interés de España en EEUU, frente a Portugal que ve en el Reino Unido y España su fuente de negocios más importante.

The Question

For the launch issue, we asked members which jurisdictions they thought offered the best opportunities for receiving increased referral work or instructions.

The Answer

Discounting their own domestic markets and cross border work between Spain and Portugal, the responses highlighted six main jurisdictions or regions. Two jurisdictions, the US and the UK, were clearly ahead of the others.

A second group, France, Latin America, Far East / China and Germany, had very similar levels of responses. Others mentioned were Italy, Eastern Europe. Mozambique and Angola.

Differences–Spain and Portugal

Portuguese members view the UK as more important than the US while the Spanish members take the opposite view. Of the Spanish respondents, 44% said the USA was their best opportunity for receiving increased referral work or instructions against 32% favouring the UK.

Marcos Araujo, Head of EU and competition law at Garrigues, sees the USA as the most important jurisdiction by far, although he adds, ‘Many USA deals/clients come through US branch offices in France, Germany or the UK.’. Another Madrid member of the Group of Experts sees London as more important. ‘The Spanish offices of International sponsors and banks have to date been relatively autonomous in their deal doing in Spain. However, as deal sizes continue to grow, we believe that the London offices of those organisations will exert more influence not only on how the relevant offices run the deals in Spain but also on the extent to which London participates’ he said.

For Portugal, the answer is similar but the emphasis is on London. One of the Portuguese members of the Group of Experts explained, ‘..because the large cross border transactions are normally handled by major London firms and major projects or investments are (re)financed by the London financial market.’

East or West?

One, perhaps surprising, result is that the Group of Experts views the Far East and China as being of almost equal importance as Latin America. This is despite the heavy investment by Iberian law firms in Latin America. But the majority of respondents regarded one or the other as important with very few concentrating on both.

While one suggested that Latin America ‘perhaps has the greatest potential’, another expects China and the Far East to be the more important region in the longer term.