DLA Piper is in talks about entering an exclusive tie-up arrangement with Portuguese firm Azevedo Neves Benjamim Mendes Carvalho & Associados Sociedade de Advogados (ABBC).
DLA Piper has been looking for a new partner in Portugal since announcing in September that it would end its six-year, non-exclusive arrangement with Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados (MCA) at the end of November.
It is understood that DLA Piper’s tie-up with MCA was not thought profitable enough for either party. It is believed that DLA Piper proposed formal integration but that MCA refused.
DLA Piper is now believed to be in advanced talks with ABBC and keen to forge a stronger link in Portugal, meaning the Lisbon-based firm would be integrated into the DLA Piper network and the two firms would share IT and accounting processes.
A spokesperson for DLA Piper said that as yet nothing had been finalised, adding that the firm was also holding exploratory talks with a number of other Portuguese players.
As well as a presence in Portugal’s domestic market, it is understood that DLA Piper, which already has an African network, is keen to gain a foothold in Portuguese-speaking Africa.
MCA has a network spanning lusophone Africa and ABBC is keen to build ties with firms in the region.
Linklaters is the only other UK firm to have a presence in Portugal, opening an office in Lisbon in 2002. Simmons & Simmons retreated from the country in 2009.
For more on lusophone Africa, see Special Report.