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Spain's largest firm Garrigues is to make an audacious bid to merge with its Latin American alliance partners to create a trans-Continental powerhouse intent on challenging the pre-eminence of UK and US firms in the global marketplace.
The move would boost the numbers of lawyers at Garrigues from 1,660 to 1,900 and add another nine offices across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
Jose-Maria Alonso, co-managing partner, told The Lawyer: It's an exclusive alliance and we're moving the integration process forward. We're building the foundations for a potential merger in the future. We'll look to merge with all of the firms there."
Alonso said the Latin American firms are synchronising their internal processes such as HR and IT with Garrigues'.
The firms are putting together joint groups for different practice areas such as M&A, banking, finance and antitrust, as well as strengthening the secondment process.
Garrigues has followed a plan of rapid international expansion over the last year, opening offices in Portugal, Morocco and Poland.
The firm is considering an office in London, but is keen to further links with UK and US firms - but only those without presences in Spain.
Alonso said: "We work with those firms that do not have a presence in our country. We prefer to work with them because they're not our competitors."