Garrigues network merger creates South American powerhouse

Spain’s largest law firm Garrigues will merge this year with its South American
alliance firms, creating a new giant in the region.

Spain’s largest law firm Garrigues will merge this year with its South American alliance firms, creating a new giant in the region.

The firm is holding a meeting in June to discuss the final obstacles to full integration with the seven members of Affinitas.

It is understood that Garrigues will use a Swiss Verein structure to merge with firms in jurisdictions such as Brazil where there are regulatory barriers.

The merger will add more than 130 partners and some 800 lawyers to Garrigues, and will give the firm a foothold in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru.

Speaking at The Lawyer’s conference on Alliances, Networks and Partnerships, Garrigues managing partner Jose Maria Alonso said: “Some firms want to merge immediately. I hope within this year we’ll be able to put in place a Swiss Verein with all those firms that aren’t ready to integrate.”

Garrigues began its quest for a South American alliance in 2002, after the collapse of the Andersen Network. It is understood that one of the conditions for joining Affinitas was an agreement in principle to a full merger at a later date.

The newly merged firm will boast 367 partners and more than 2,775 lawyers. Garrigues’ key clients are Spanish companies such as Santander and Telefonica, which are undertaking expansion programmes in South America.

Although no decision has been made, it is likely the South American firms will keep their local brands but take on the Garrigues name.

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