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Cuatrecasas has completed the first ever Spanish-Portuguese merger through a tie-up with its longtime best friend Gonçalves Pereira Castelo Branco & Associados.
Cuatrecasas, Herbert Smith's main referral partner in Spain, has long had a formal alliance with Gonçalves, along with Brazilian firm Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados and Argentinian firm Pagbam.
The Portuguese market opened up to foreign law firms in July 2001, when an EU directive allowing EU firms to open in any EU country was transposed into Portuguese law.
Spanish heavyweight Uría & Menéndez was the first firm to open in Portugal, following the transposition of the directive, with Linklaters hot on its heels in early 2002.
Simmons & Simmons then merged with its Portuguese joint venture partner F Castelo Branco P Rebelo De Sousa & Associados in January this year.
As part of a process known internally as the 'refoundation' of the firm, Cuatrecasas has also created its first ever board of directors.
The board will be led by executive president Emilio Cuatrecasas and includes the 11 partners who are in charge of the firm's various practice areas.
Cuatrecasas has formed the board of directors following its decision to convert to a Spanish limited liability company (LLC).
Cuatrecasas will continue to be known as a firm but has adopted the LLC structure because it offers significant protection against claims made against the business.
As a Spanish LLC, Cuatrecasas can only be sued for the amount of partner capital that is in the firm at any one time.