Following a decade of turbulence, Lisbon’s commercial legal market is entering a welcome period of stability. Despite the relatively benign conditions, most lawyers acknowledge that by standing still they will effectively be moving backwards because the competition remains so high.
“The market is increasingly competitive,” says Dulce Franco, partner at AAA Advogados. “One of the main reasons for this is that the level of quality of legal services in Lisbon within a certain range equals international standards, either in large or small law firms, and therefore clients have a considerable number of options.”
She continues: “Within this range, differentiation is not so easy to achieve and law firms have to constantly find new ways to improve to become more efficient and competitive.”
Law firms need to offer higher standards of service in order to retain a competitive edge in the market, Franco says. “This entails continued innovation and improvement, as well as strengthening teams and specialised offerings – it all goes back to quality and competitiveness,” she explains.
The fact that the market is currently enjoying a period of buoyancy ensures that successful innovation is likely to be rewarded with high-quality mandates.
“The Portuguese legal market seems to be in a relatively stable phase and I see no indications of major changes in the short term,” says Franco.
“A significant newcomer in the market could bring about change, but that sort of change is positive as it forces all players to increase efficiency to cope with the competition.”