Linklaters Spain” />Firm: Linklaters, Madrid
Management committee: Álvaro Sáinz, Sebastián Albella, Iñigo Berricano, Nicolás Martín
Total number of lawyers: 62
Total number of partners: 13
Main practice areas: Private equity, M&A, capital markets, corporate finance, tax
Key clients: Permira, Lehman Brothers, NH Hotels, ONO, Merrill Lynch, UBS, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland
Linklaters set up in Madrid six years ago and since then it has pursued a strategy of cherry-picking leading corporate, banking and commercial lawyers from local firms.
The firm’s aim is to install a self-reliant office, packed with big names from the Spanish market who can generate a regular flow of deals and not wait for the firm’s network to refer work.
As part of this strategy, last month the firm picked up highly rated competition partner Jaime Pérez-Bustamante from Martínez Lage & Asociados.
Álvaro Sáinz, corporate chief and member of the management committee, says: “It’s more than local knowledge. It’s important to be known.”
Swapping from an English managing partner, Miles Curley, to an all-Spanish, four-partner managing committee is all part of the plan to integrate Linklaters into the local market.
But the office still follows the model Linklaters has established in London. It has two main practice streams, corporate and finance, with commercial sub-divided into tax, litigation, real estate and technology, media and telecommunications.
The management committee reflects the different practice streams and has a representative from the finance and commercial departments and two from corporate.
Sáinz says: “We don’t want to just be a branch of the London office. We want to develop our own client base; it’s very important we do that.”
So far the mix of London organisation with high-profile Spanish partners has paid dividends. This year Sáinz and tax head Nicolás Martín took the lead on Spanish telecommunication company ONO’s e2.2bn (£1.52bn) acquisition of broadband company Auna. Corporate partner Sebastián Albella pitched in with the e285m (£196.57m) acquisition of real estate company Parquesol Inmobiliaria y Proyectos and corporate partner Alejandro Ortiz advised Permira on its e1.4bn (£970m) bid for Cortefiel.
The Linklaters brand is a particularly useful tool for attracting private equity clients and the office has been involved in 11 of the last 15 private equity deals in Spain.
At the moment, the team is busily preparing Permira’s bid for Telepizza, the popular fast food company.
With more work coming in, the office is looking to expand. But the growth will not come from within the firm.
“We see ourselves in one or two years’ time with between 80 and 85 lawyers,” says Sáinz. “We’ll continue to grow up to about 100, but that’s maybe in five years.”
With competition and antitrust matters now covered by the hire of Pérez-Bustamante, the office will focus its growth on corporate. Sáinz says he is looking to add around 10 lawyers between now and September.