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Linklaters is to launch an office in Portugal, enabling it to target clients across the whole Iberian Peninsula
The magic circle firm has hired five Portuguese lawyers and their team. The group left Lisbon firm Morais Leitão J Galvão Teles & Associados in September last year. Corporate rainmaker Jorge Bleck, securities lawyer António Soares, project finance specialist Pedro Siza Vieira and competition lawyer Carlos Pinto Correla all join as partners. Bleck will be managing partner of the office. Leading Portugese litigator Miguel Pinto Cardosa also joins the office. The team's associates add real estate and broader finance capacity. The office will focus on high-profile corporate and finance transactional work in Lisbon, operating alongside Linklaters' Madrid office, which opened in January 2000. Linklaters' Madrid managing partner Miles Curley, who was instrumental in hiring the team, said he expects the office to grow quickly to between 20 and 30 lawyers and to as many as 40 lawyers in the medium-term. "We've got to know this team in a professional sense," said Curley. He added that they bring a strong client following. Linklaters previously relied on referral relationships in Portugal. Curley said: "On the whole we won't expect to receive referral work from other firms now, but that will be more than compensated for by having a leading team on the ground." Bleck described Linklaters as the ideal firm for the team. He said: "Linklaters is now the only magic circle firm to blend strong Portuguese, Spanish and international practices, which puts us in a unique position to meet the needs of our Iberian clients." The only other UK firm with a presence in Portugal is Simmons & Simmons, which has a formal alliance with Lisbon firm Castelo Branco Rebelo de Sousa & Associados.