Global Firms Following DLA Piper And Opening In Portugal ‘Not Ruled Out'

Author:Iberian Lawyer
Profession:Iberian Lawyer

Opportunities in the areas of real estate, finance and venture capital could lead to other international law firms launching operations in Lisbon

Following DLA Piper's decision to open in Portugal - as a result of a merger with local law firm ABBC - lawyers in Lisbon are refusing to rule out other global firms opening in the country, with real estate and venture capital seen as particularly lucrative areas of business. DLA Piper decided to merge with ABBC having been closely affiliated with the firm since 2010. Prior to that, DLA Piper had a close association with another Lisbon-based law firm, Miranda. The firm will now trade in the Portuguese market as DLA Piper ABBC. Juan Picón, global co-chairman of DLA Piper, says that having had an established relationship with ABBC, it was a natural move to join forces to create a single, joined-up offering across the Iberian region. "We saw that the upturn in the Portuguese economy had resulted in more foreign investment, with many of ABBC's Spanish clients in Spain interested in investing in Portugal," he explains. "As a result of the close economic integration of Spain and Portugal, the Iberian legal market is increasingly being seen by our clients as a single market." Picon argues that, given the opportunities arising due to increased globalisation - particularly in relation to Latin America and Africa - it is very likely that other international firms could follow DLA Piper's lead and open in Portugal. "Businesses need law firms that are 'truly global', so having a presence in the Iberian region is therefore important," he says. João Miranda de Sousa, managing partner of Garrigues in Lisbon, says the Portuguese market is attracting a variety of investors who are targeting a range of sectors including real estate and finance, as well as venture capital linked with start-ups. He adds that, given this context, it is "difficult to completely rule out the idea of other global firms opening offices in Portugal". It is understood global firms are considering opening in Lisbon as a means of targeting Lusophone Africa. DLA Piper and Linklaters are currently the only two global firms in Portugal though...

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