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The transposition of the European Union (EU) Rights of Establishment Directive into Portuguese law is delaying the opening of a number of offices, including a Uría & Menéndez office.
On 20 July, the directive allowing EU firms to open in any EU country was transposed into Portuguese national law. Spanish firm Uría hopes to be able to open its local law office in Lisbon in September. The firm has two partners based in the city,but the practice is not yet operational. Uría has 13 offices in Spain, Europe and the Americas, all of which practice exclusively Spanis law. As Uría's partners are all Spanish-qualified, the firm is looking for lateral hires to staff the Lisbon office. Abreu & Marques partner Duarte Garin has left the Lisbon firm to join the planned Uría office. Uría's Lisbon office is still under construction, but according to Lisbon managing partner Colomo Armero, one or two clients are already planning to move with Garin. Garin is a real estate specialist and will be the firm's only Portuguese-qualified partner. According to Armero, plans for the Lisbon office include recruiting an additional dozen or so Portuguese-qualified lawyers by the end of the year. Armero plans to stay in Lisbon until the office is set up and then return to her post in Madrid. She was unable to confirm whether Garin will take over as managing partner when she leaves. According to a source close to the Portuguese legal market, there are several other major European Community law firms planning to open in Portugal after the directive is implemented.