A&O picks Barcelona for second Spanish office with Freshfields hire

Allen & Overy (A&O) has launched in Barcelona with the addition of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Antoni Valverde.

Valverde, who specialises in M&A and advises major banks and corporates headquartered in Barcelona, will be responsible for building the new office – understood to have been on the cards for a number of years – from scratch.

Madrid-based partner Andrew Clark said that the decision to launch in Barcelona, its second in Spain, was client-based. He says the firm has a significant amount of clients, including a number of banks, headquartered in the Mediterranean city, with a number of those clients starting to do international work. 

The firm is yet to find a building for the new office, with Clark adding that it will initially be a small base with a lot of interchange between its Madrid office. No other associates are understood to be joining A&O from Freshfields and at the time of writing nobody at A&O was relocating as a result of the move. 

A&O global managing partner Wim Dejonghe said in a statement: “Spain’s economy grew at its fastest pace in almost six years in the final quarter of 2013 and this is reflected in the success and profitability of our Madrid office. Today’s news underlines the belief that there is a significant opportunity for us to further expand in Spain.”  

Iñigo Gómez-Jordana, senior partner of Allen & Overy Spain, added: “Spain’s latest M&A figures point towards recovery and new opportunities lie ahead for both our Madrid and Barcelona offices for all our practice areas.”

Elsewhere in Europe, K&L Gates took on A&O’s corporate partner Jean-Patrice Labautière, who helped build up the firm’s Paris corporate practice, this week.