Special 2020 Lateral Hires

While caution drove Portuguese legal market moves, during this year, Iberian Lawyer registered more than 125 hirings at partner level by law firms in Spain. In this sense, according to our study, September was the month with the most activity (21%), followed by July with about twenty lateral hires. 21 per cent of the total number of transfers were women. Martínez-Echevarría & Rivera leads the number of new incorporations with 14 new partners, followed by Pérez-Llorca with eight. The firms that saw most departures this year were Baker McKenzie, DWF-RCD and EY Abogados, all of which had six leaving moves, followed by CMS and Ventura Garcés and Fieldfisher JAUSAS with five, and PwC Tax & Legal with four.




At least five new firms were created as a result of the multiple departure of firms ́ partners; LAGUARD, with former partners from Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor, Kepler-karst with former Alas Legal Advisors, Everfive with former DWF-RCD partners, Lesayra with former CMS and, of course, Ambar Partners, with partners from Latham & Watkins. At this time last year, Iberian Lawyer predicted the arrival of the Axiom model in Spain, which finally materialised at the beginning of February with the launch of the firm co-led by Manuel Deó and Rosa Espín and the announcement of its alliance to implement the Axiom model in Spain. Out of the more than 125 hirings that took place in this 2020, a large happened place in the months of September and July (48), with August and October being the months of least activity. Furthermore, eight per cent of those hired are former government employees; State Attorneys, judges or State Inspectors on leave of absence. Only 21 per cent of the total number of signings recorded by Iberian Lawyer were women, although there are some cases that were particularly noteworthy at the time, such as the signing of María Dolores de Cospedal, a State Attorney, former secretary of the Partido Popular party and Minister of Defence of the Spanish Government between 2016 and 2018, by CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo to reinforce its Litigation & Arbitration practice.


Also in January, Ana Gómez Hernández –re-elected this year as President of ASNALA– was hired by Ceca Magán Abogados to strengthen its Labour Law department. In February, the appointment of Cani Fernández, Cuatrecasas “star” partner, as a member of the cabinet of the Spanish Government president Pedro Sánchez, foreshadowed what would happen in June: her appointment as president of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC).

In terms of number of hirings, Martínez-Echevarría & Rivera stands out among the firms that have incorporated the most new partners this year. In March, the firm began an ambitious hiring strategy with the star signing of Albert Rivera, which, at the time of writing this article, has already added 14 new partners (11% per cent of all new signings). He is followed by Pérez-Llorca with 8 signings, three of which came from Dentons and one of them, Jesús Varela, was the firm’s managing partner during the last year and the head of the Real Estate area, to which his colleagues, the Real Estate partners José Ramón Vizcaino and Julio Parrilla also belonged. The departure of Varela and his colleagues to Pérez-Llorca, announced in June but effective from September, led to the appointment of Jabier Badiola as the new head of Dentons Spain, which was announced on June 5.


Dentons, on the other hand, incorporated three new partners; Ignacio Corujo, from Baker McKenzie to strengthen the Capital Markets practice, Risteard de Paor from White & Case for the International Disputes department, both in January, and Eduardo Gómez de Enterría, from Herbert Smith Freehills for the Labour Law practice, in September. The firms with most departures were Baker McKenzie, DWF-RCD, and EY Abogados (6), followed by CMS, Fieldfisher JAUSAS and Ventura Garcés (5), and PwC Tax & Legal (4), although the firms with “negative balance” by the number of entries/exits were, according to our data, EY Abogados, Baker Mckenzie and DWF-RCD, with a negative balance of four partners. In the rest of the firms, there is a certain balance between transfers and exits, even some have signed the same number of partners that have left the firm, as is the case of CMS, Dentons, and Andersen, for example. On the other hand, the firm with the most positive balance is Pérez-Llorca with eight signings and 3 departures, increasing the total number of partners to 5. As for the practice areas that were most strengthened with the new transfers, we find firstly Tax with 18% of the hirings, followed by Labour (15%), Litigation & Arbitration (11%) and Commercial (11%).

To see the complete table of lateral hires and read the article in full please download issue N.100 here.


1. MARÍA DOLORES DE COSPEDAL. On January 16, the signing of María Dolores de Cospedal by CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo was made public. The former Minister of Defence joined the firm’s Litigation and Arbitration team as a partner. At that time, the firm’s managing partner, César Albiñana, stated that María Dolores de Cospedal “is an excellent lawyer, knowledgeable about the sector, used to making quick decisions and with important skills for team management. It is a privilege for us to have a person with the professional career, prestige and high human quality of María Dolores, who also identifies with the objectives, values and work culture of the firm.”

2. ALBERT RIVERA. On March 2, it was announced that the former president of Ciudadanos joined Martínez-Echevarría & Rivera Abogados as executive president, to lead the firm ́s new strategic project. Albert Rivera has a degree in Law from ESADE and worked as a legal advisor at La Caixa between 2002 and 2006, where he began his political career by joining the Ciudadanos party, with which he would run for president of the Catalan and Spanish governments. After his appointment, he stressed, “I’m going back to my profession, back to the legal practice.” Since his appointment to date, 14 new partners have joined the firm in different practice areas. The firm would later change its name to include Rivera as a name partner.

3. JESUS VARELA. Jesús Varela, managing partner of Dentons from February 2019 to June 2020, joined Dentons in 2011 from Linklaters, where he was also a partner. He started his career at Pérez-Llorca, to where he now returns. He has 25 years ́ experience as a legal advisor to investors and lenders in the Spanish Real Estate sector. At Dentons, Varela led the Real Estate practice. His move to Perez-Llorca was announced in June and effective September 1. It is the only hiring of a managing partner in 2020.

4. JOAQUÍN RUIZ ECHAURI. The departure of Joaquín Ruiz Echauri from Hogan Lovells was also announced in September. Echauri, who had been re-elected to the firm’s Global Board in June and who until then had led the Spanish Insurance and Reinsurance practice and the Product Litigation and Compliance group at the Madrid office, left for Pérez-Llorca to lead the creation of the Insurance and Reinsurance area. During his career, he has worked with important national and international clients in M&A transactions, bancassurance alliances and reorganisations. In the Regulatory field, he has advised on product design, contract interpretation, insurance and reinsurance mediation and pension plans and funds.

5. JOSÉ MANUEL VILLEGAS. In April we knew that José Manuel Villegas, former secretary-general of Ciudadanos and member of the Spanish Congress, had signed with the Martínez-Echevarría & Rivera Abogados law firm to be its new executive vice president. This appointment was announced by Villegas himself through his Twitter account. “On 15 March I joined the Martínez-Echevarría law firm. I reached an agreement in February and I am very excited to return to the legal profession and face this new professional project as executive vice president. At this difficult time, with the push of the whole society, we will move forward.” Villegas has a degree in Law from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, where he also specialised in Restructuring Law. He has also taught Tax Law and from 2012 to 2017 he has been linked to Cuidadanos.

6. ANA GÓMEZ HERNÁNDEZ. On January 13 Ceca Magán announced the incorporation of Ana Gómez Hernández as a new partner in the firm’s Labour department, joining from Mariscal & Abogados. Ana, who was re-elected president of the National Association of Labour Lawyers (ASNALA) last October, has almost twenty years’ experience in Labour Law, having worked in important law firms, with particular emphasis on procedures related to collective bargaining, social security and numerous litigations before Labour and Administrative courts, and advising on more than a thousand Labour-related operations.

7. FRANCISCO PÉREZ BES. In March, we knew of the appointment of Francisco Pérez Bes, who was then Director of Digital Law & Economy at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, as new Digital Law partner by Ecix Group. Francisco was secretary-general of the Spanish National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE) between 2014 and 2019, and is a member of the Legal Commission and the Cyber Security Section of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers. He is also noted for his role as an arbitrator for ICT panels in the European Association of Arbitration, and is first vice president of the Association of National Experts in ICT Law (ENATIC). In 2018, he was awarded the Medal of Merit by the Castilla y León Bar Association for his contribution to cybersecurity in the legal profession.

8. EDUARDO GÓMEZ DE ENTERRÍA. Eduardo Gómez de Enterría, who was head of Labour at Herbert Smith Freehills and a partner in the firm for more than six years, was hired in June by Dentons to lead this same practice area from the Madrid office. Commenting on his appointment, Jabier Badiola, managing partner of Dentons Spain, said: “Spain is a strategic market for Dentons, and our European leadership is committed to investing in the best talent to grow our key practices. We are delighted to welcome a lawyer of Eduardo’s calibre to lead our Employment and Labour practice.” Eduardo is particularly respected for his work in negotiating and implementing collective agreements, collective dismissals and company restructuring.

9. ALBERTO ESCUDERO. At the beginning of October, Iberian lawyer announced the signing of Alberto Escudero by PwC Tax & Legal to lead the EU & Competition Law area, the same practice he had headed at Baker McKenzie for seven years. Escudero also worked for fifteen years as a lawyer specialising in Competition and European Union Law in the Garrigues office in Madrid, and also in the Garrigues office in Brussels for one year. He is a specialist in Spanish and EU Competition Law in the preparation of self-assessment reports on contracts and commercial policies to ensure compliance with Antitrust regulations, among other matters.

10. GUILLERMO MUÑOZ-ALONSO. This lawyer, who is an expert in Corporate Finance among other things, was hired in March by DWF-RCD as a partner of this practice, although in September it was announced that he would be hired by CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo to head the firm’s Financial Markets & Services department. Guillermo Muñoz-Alonso has a long professional career developed mainly at Ramón y Cajal Abogados as head of the M&A practice and in Garrigues, where he spent more than fifteen years, ten of them as a partner. He also significantly contributed to the development of Garrigues London office.



A year as strange as this one, that is now coming to a close, in which work invaded our homes and confinements have tested the ability to work remotely, far from the offices and the social life that characterises them, has instilled caution on the Portuguese Business Law Labour market. The firms opted for prudence and, although they maintained the internal promotion processes within the firms, there were few moves to incorporate partners from other firms. Regarding this, the majority of the firms consulted preferred promotion to hiring, probably to emphasise the intention to normalise talent management processes amid the pandemic. Despite this, the areas that registered the most significant movement are Corporate Law, as well as Public Law and Litigation, perhaps due to the increase in cases related to public aid policies and the management of companies, many of them immersed in processes related to the crisis generated by the pandemic. There is also growing activity in areas related to technology and the digitalisation of society. In this sense, the movements that have taken place throughout the year highlight what has happened in the economic context and it is clear that the moves are very directly related to the news that fill the newspapers every day. On the other hand, among the twenty movements or transfers between firms, six of them, are part of a more significant operation: the integration of AAA Advogados within the structure of SRS Advogados. This meant that five of the integrated firm ́s partners became part of the firm that absorbed them and one went to Morais Leitão. Among all those incorporated into SRS, the founder of AAA, Dulce Franco, stands out as one of the most prominent assets of her new firm.

Notwithstanding this generalised caution, there have been some hirings that deserve to be highlighted for their relevance. One of them is the return of JoaquimShearman de Macedo to PLMJ after ten years, a firm in which he began to stand out as a professional before his then much talked-about hiring by CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut. PLMJ relies on his proven and recognised capacity as a strong reinforcement for the Litigation area, which he now co-leads. The signing of Filipa Cotta, probably the most experienced Insolvency lawyer in the country, by Vd A was also very striking. Cotta, who left PLMJ, has taken over the specialised Restructuring and Insolvency department, tailor-made to be run by her, at VdA. A similar case was that of Daniel Reis, one of the references in the Technology area, who moved from PLMJ to become the head of the area at DLA Piper ABBC at the beginning of the year. The hiring of André de Sousa Vieira by Morais Leitão had a clear international significance. Sousa Vieira had already stood out for his International performance at Clifford Chance, and was recruited precisely to reinforce the transcontinental vocation of Morais Leitão embodied in the creation of the Legal Circle.

To read the article in full please download issue N.100 here.

Desire Vidal