Expanded DLA Piper plans to focus on English finance law

DLA Piper plans to focus on English finance law” />Following its December acquisition of the Madrid practice of Squire Sanders & Dempsey, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has signalled its intention to develop an international finance capability in Spain, having recruited associate Carlos Pérez from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to lead its nascent English finance practice.

The move comes amid growing debate over the rising relevance of English finance law within the Iberian market. As one Madrid-based partner at a domestic firm told Iberian Lawyer: “Spanish corporates are increasingly looking to London for their finance needs, therefore we are losing out.”

Charles Poole-Warren, a partner with Allen & Overy in Madrid, believes English expertise has always been important for Spanish corporates seeking specific types of financing. Most international banks, he says, expect English law to govern products developing from and placed into the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ finance markets – notably large leveraged finance transactions with various levels of debt and medium-term note programmes under which debt securities are issued in the international markets.

“Spanish law firms have to make a decision,” says another English finance lawyer. “International investors expect English law: if they can’t offer it, they can’t do the job.”

Although DLA Piper seems to enjoy playing the role of David against Goliath – especially when it finally achieves what it wants – taking on the might of the magic circle finance practices could be its biggest challenge in Spain to date.