Cuatrecasas sets its sights on Shanghai for first Asian presence

Cuatrecasas is planning to open an office in China, targeting Shanghai as the base for its first office in Asia.

Enric Picanyol, an M&A partner at Cuatrecasas who helped to set up the London and New York offices, told The Lawyer: “An office in China is in the pipeline. In the current business climate you can’t afford not to have a foothold there.”

Cuatrecasas would be the first Spanish firm to have partners on the ground in China. Garrigues has four associates in Shanghai.

Picanyol explained that client interest in the region is driving the expansion plans. “It cannot be that clients ask you about China and you say you don’t know,” he explained. “You need in-house, direct knowledge of what’s going on.”

Picanyol said Cuatrecasas had not yet proposed a launch date for the office.

The international expansion comes as the firm grows in Spain. It has launched an office in Seville, scooping highly rated corporate boutique Olivencia-Ballester Abogados.

Founding partner Manuel Olivencia helped to write the Spanish company regulations in the 1990s.

Joining him in the move is co-founding partner Francisco Ballester and partners Francisco Hidalgo and Luis Olivencia.

Cuatrecasas posted a 19 per cent revenue hike to reach e159m (£108.8m) this year. The firm has just finished renovating its London offices in Tower 42, after their early June opening.