Spanish independent Mullerat’s co-managing partner Alberto Echarri revealed last week that it was two and a half years of in-fighting that led to the firm’s dissolution.
Echarri said the break-up resulted from rows over who would succeed founder Ramon Mullerat as senior partner, as well as “totally different perspectives” at the firm’s two main offices.
“Ramon Mullerat was originally due to retire in 2003, but stayed on until this year because of the succession problem,” he said. “We’ve spent two and a half years trying to solve the problem, and if you can’t solve it in that time it’s because people don’t believe in the firm.”
As reported on www. thelawyer.com earlier last week (22 May), Madrid-based Echarri and his 15-lawyer team, including three Barcelona partners, will move to Gómez-Acebo & Pombo at the beginning of July.
Echarri said: “Madrid has always been a strong team and had a different perspective, and we felt we should be strong and we should be independent. The Barcelona partners had a different view and have now joined totally different projects.
“We in Madrid believe in a big and a strong Spanish firm. We have joined the fourth largest in Spain and the nation’s second best.”
Asked whether the break-up was an amicable one, Echarri’s thoughts were “perhaps not”.
The defections have been rapid. Employment partner Sonia Cortes left for Cuatrecasas last week, and a 10-lawyer team, including corporate partner Jorge Adell and IP partner Carlos Prat, left to join Baker & McKenzie the week before that. The remaining lawyers have joined smaller Catalan firms.
Sixty-seven-year-old founder and senior partner Ramón Mullerat has joined KPMG in Barcelona. He was unavailable for comment.
Mullerat’s office in San Sebastián has now rebranded as an independent firm, known as Itturia, while its Palma de Mallorca premises is expected to close. The firm’s Lisbon arm looks set to be a target for local Portuguese firms.