White & Case raids Latham for Madrid launch

White & Case and Latham carry on their partner exchange programme in Madrid

That White & Case is launching in Madrid while the Spanish economy is mired in recession is a bit of a surprise, but the fact it is doing so with two hires from US rival Latham & Watkins is less of a shock.

Latham and White & Case have had a long history of recruiting from each other. As far back as 1997 The Lawyer reported that capital markets partner Bernard Nelson had left White & Case for Latham’s London office, and partners have moved from one firm to the other at regular intervals over the years.

The most audacious raid, of course, was Latham’s series of hires three years ago. Over a matter of weeks 14 partners quit White & Case for Latham in a number of offices, notably the Middle East, with a focus on banking and capital markets. White & Case was left smarting, but did manage to hang on to trophy client Saudi Aramco following the departures.

Since then White & Case has fought back. In 2011 it picked up Latham partners Ian Clark and Michael Immordino to launch in Italy, and now Latham’s Spanish corporate head Juan Manuel de Remedios, along with a counsel, has left to launch White & Case in Madrid.

While White & Case is talking a bullish line about Spain, the fact it is launching while Spanish firms are limiting recruitment and reporting lower revenue means de Remedios has a tough task to make a success of the venture. Luckily for him, he seems to be joining a firm that has compelling cultural similarities with the one he is leaving.