With increasing demand for assets in the Portuguese real estate sector, law firms are taking steps to invest in this area of practice, says Jane Kirkby, partner at BAS in Lisbon. “It’s no secret that Portugal’s economy is slowly recovering, and therefore there is a new market dynamic that is creating business opportunities for law firms.”
A significant proportion of the activity is taking place in the tourism sector, says Kirkby, especially in Lisbon, where there had been an increase in real estate-related legal work. She adds that foreign and domestic investment in the housing market has led to an increase in acquisitions as well as a rise in rental sector-related activity.
Consequently, law firms are taking steps to boost their real estate practices. Kirkby says BAS has recently taken part in international real estate fairs in Paris and Munich to generate business. “Our investment in this area of practice delivered results, as new clients arrived, demanding advice on the acquisition and sale of real estate and licensing processes,” says Kirkby. “BAS was also invited to participate in multidisciplinary teams for the design and implementation of real estate projects – commercial and industrial – as well as of urban rehabilitation.”
Yet, despite the fact such new projects have allowed law firms to increase their international clientele, it also brings new challenges. “Because of the increase in foreign clientele, law firms – especially the ones that are not so used to dealing with them – are having to adapt in order to respond to new schedules, ways of working, budgets and languages and, in some cases, even protocol,” says Kirkby. “It is therefore important to have a good international network that allows for an interchange of knowledge and technique.”