Clients slate law firm networks

A divide has emerged between what Iberia’s major companies want from their lawyers as they continue to expand around the world and the service actually received.

While most law firms’ preferred international strategy is through loose referral relationships, a survey by Iberian Lawyer has revealed that clients would far prefer more formal relationships that add real value.

The issue at stake is whether Iberia’s globalising businesses will take their existing advisers with them as they spread across the globe, or instead fall into the gravitational pull of the global City firms able to boomerang international relationships back to their Madrid office.

China is a priority for Iberian businesses. Good news for domestic firms Garrigues and Cuatrecasas, which are establishing presences there, but also for the City firms with proven track records in Asia.

Latin America is also firmly back on the agenda. While the Spanish and Portuguese legal communities are well established in the region, they now also face strong competition from the US, where interest has been buoyed by the resurgent regional economy.