Headcount At Portugal´s Largest Firms Increases By Up To 50% In Last Year

Author:Iberian Lawyer
Profession:Iberian Lawyer

Growth in M&A, litigation, finance and tax work led to a number of major firms going on a recruitment drive with VdA, in particular, undergoing significant expansion

The combined headcount of Portugal's leading law firms increased by five per cent in the last year, according to data collated by Iberian Lawyer. Increases in M&A, finance, litigation and tax work mean the 11 biggest firms in Portugal now employ a total of 1,641 lawyers, up from 1,565 the previous year.

Vieira de Almeida, experienced the most dramatic change – it is now the third largest law firm in Portugal with 210 lawyers (it was the fifth biggest firm in 2014) after increasing its headcount by 52 per cent in the last year. The dramatic leap in lawyer numbers was partly explained by the recruitment of more than 20 lawyers from fellow Lisbon firm Miranda. The firm hired the Miranda team largely because of its reputation for advising oil and gas sector clients in Lusophone Africa and Francophone Africa.

Vieira de Almeida managing partner, João Vieira de Almeida, says the firm's objective is not to reach a particular size. He adds: "Size is not an issue at all, sustainability and profitability are the objective – growth has always come out of necessity to meet demand or to implement strategic goals." Vieira de Almeida rejects suggestions that recruiting first-rate lawyers is a tough challenge. "We receive over 1,000 applications each year – it is not difficult to find very good people – we expect the firm to continue to grow but not as dramatically as this year."

PLMJ remains the largest law firm in Portugal in terms of lawyer numbers, growing by 17 per cent in the last year to reach a total of 267 lawyers. PLMJ's managing partner, Luís Pais Antunes, says the firm's growth has been achieved "through a culture of organic growth complemented with a policy of lateral hiring of leading specialist lawyers, with a constant focus on young and dynamic teams". Pais Antunes adds: "Strengthening our national and international positions is a primary focus for us – to grow and consolidate, we need a presence across the globe. We can only do this by bringing in more lawyers."

PLMJ is set to grow further in the coming year, according to Pais Antunes. "We anticipate following the same path in the next 12 months, particularly in areas of work that have seen an upturn with the recovery of the economy," he says."

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