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Europe’s largest law firm, Garrigues, is quitting the Latin American alliance it founded in 2004 in order to launch its own offices on the continent.
Garrigues set up the Affinitas alliance with a group of Latin American firms in 2004 (13 January 2003), gradually expanding the network to cover Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Brazilian firm Barbosa Muessnich & Arago was also a member until 2009, prompting Garrigues to sign an association agreement with Schmidt Valois Miranda Ferreira & Agel Advogados the following year before launching its own office in Brazil (9 June 2010).
The firm said its growth in Latin America would see it initially open its own offices in Colombia, Mexico and Peru. It is also planning to seek mergers with local firms in the region, including countries outside the Affinitas network. Garrigues will practise local law in Latin America.
According to Garrigues, 26 per cent of its clients last year were based in the Americas.
The move is part of Garrigues’ strategy to become an integrated international firm.
“An international venture of this scale and characteristics must be developed from the very outset with the utmost independence, and will not therefore prove compatible with the firm’s membership of the Affinitas alliance, in which it would not be possible to remain without compromising the proper attainment of the above goals in the long-term interests of our clients,” said Garrigues in a statement.
Managing partner Fernando Vives added that the firm wanted to maintain the professional relationships it had with Affinitas member firms.
Garrigues’ decision to launch its own offices in Latin America follows a 5 per cent revenue drop in 2011/12, largely driven by a sluggish market in Garrigues’ home jurisidictions of Spain and Portugal (30 October 2012).