Roca, a 26-partner Barcelona firm with offices in Buenos Aires, Girona, Majorca and Moscow, was tipped to be interested in CMS two months ago (The Lawyer, 14 April), but until now CMS has not openly confirmed the discussions.
“There’s been no final decision, but they’re interested in us and we’re interested in them,” said CMS chief executive Robert Derry-Evans. “We may be moving closer to an announcement within the next two to three months.”
Roca is understood to have held initial talks with a series of other international networks, including
Field Fisher Waterhouse‘s European Legal Alliance, before it started detailed discussions with CMS.
All of Spain’s top-tier firms have pledged to remain independent, and excluding Lovells’ former merger beau Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo, Roca is the only second-tier firm thought to be ready for an international tie-up.
To enter CMS would be a greater commitment for Roca than joining another referral network. Since Derry-Evans transferred to the CMS job from his role as chief executive of CMS Cameron McKenna, he has announced plans for eventual profit-sharing among the member firms.
The eight European firms in the CMS network, which boasts a presence in 37 countries, are already sharing offices and resources in locations such as Berlin, Bucharest, Moscow and Shanghai.