Investors from Asia and the US are generating increased demand for legal services in Portugal, while uncertainty caused by Brexit is also presenting opportunities for lawyers, says Pedro Rebelo de Sousa, managing partner at SRS Advogados.
“Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been driving growth and law firms have been among the beneficiaries of this economic growth,” explains Rebelo de Sousa. “The Portuguese legal market’s revenue is growing as transactional work increases and prospects are improving – law firms, in particular, have experienced an increase in data protection, employment, M&A and real estate work.”
Law firms that have offices outside Europe have also managed to channel a significant amount of work through their international networks. “SRS Advogados has been involved in numerous FDI transactions, principally with investors from Asia (through our Singapore office) and the US,” says De Sousa, who adds that geopolitical issues such as Brexit are driving investors towards Portugal. “Uncertainty related to the consequences of Brexit is generating opportunities for law firms.”
The foreign investment is not only taking the form of M&A deals, as there is also significant appetite for assets in the outsourcing, infrastructure and real estate sectors. “Cross-border M&A is driving growth in the Lisbon market and if there are no international or national contextual changes, the country in 2019 has interesting opportunities in areas such as maritime transport and port infrastructure, tourism, real estate and mining, not to mention a continuation of the significant trend of relocation of the R&D centres of multinationals to Portugal,” De Sousa says.