Portugal’s Vieira de Almeida opens in Angola

Portuguese firm Vieira de Almeida & Associados (VDA) has launched in Angola, as the firm looks to strengthen its international coverage.

The office will take the form of a local consultancy, which will adopt the VDA brand. Due to local bar restrictions, legal work will be channeled through Angolan firm Paulo Antunes.

The Luanda office opened mid-January and is headed by Francisco Amaral, previously a lawyer at HAAG – Sociedade de Advogados. Amaral has been working in Angola since 2003.

The move is just part of VDA’s new international strategy, named VdAtlas, which will see the firm devote more time and resources to relationships abroad.

VDA already has a presence in Mozambique, tying up with Furtado Bhikha Loforte Popat & Associados in 2009, and an alliance with Pinheiro Neto Advogados in Brazil.

According to VDA managing partner João Vieira de Almeida, the VdAtlas strategy was born of a desire to overcome the lack of opportunity in Portugal’s struggling economy.

“Portugal is not in great shape,” said Vieira de Almeida. “Everyone is looking abroad, both clients and competitors.”

“We have decided to structure and integrate our international platform: as well as the new office in Angola, we’ve set up shop in Mozambique, are strengthening our relationships with Pinheiro Neto, in Brazil, and we plan to devote more resources to managing our relations with our best friends in the US, UK, Spain and the rest of continental Europe,” Vieira de Almeida told The Lawyer.

He added: “Also, in the next couple of months we will hire someone to be the overall coordinator of the firm’s international projects, someone with the relevant international experience. I think this would make us the first Portuguese firm with someone devoted to international strategy.”

As well as hiring someone to oversee its international relations, VDA will send a senior lawyer to São Paulo in the coming months.