Ashurst Morris Crisp is setting up an office in Spain as the firm steps up its European expansion programme.
Ashursts is planning to launch the office in January and is relocating corporate partner Duncan Stiles to Madrid to head the office.
According to Stiles, the firm will follow the same formula with the Spanish office as it did in Frankfurt when it set up in the region three years ago.
Instead of merging with a local firm, Ashursts has opted for organic growth while recruiting laterally in the region.
Justin Spendlove, managing partner at Ashursts, says: “Frankfurt took off very quickly and there is no reason to expect Spain will be any different.”
Spendlove also says that rather than using the Spainish practice as a conduit for deals for the benefit of a UK office, which is how foreign offices were used in the past, it will generate deals to be serviced from the region.
He adds: “It is more a reflection of how Europe is developing rather than this just being our first Spanish office.”
Stiles says that the firm will keep in place the referral relationships it has with a number of firms in Spain. These include Slaughter and May‘s “best friend” Uria & Menendez, Gomez-Acebo & Pombo and Araoz & Rueda.
Recently the firm advised Chase Manhattan, the financial adviser to Iberdrola which is being taken over by electricity giant Endesa.
Stiles says the firm will cover a wide range of sectors in the region including telecoms and e-commerce. He adds: “In terms of the type of work, we have a strong buyout practice and our clients are looking for opportunities in Spain across a number of sectors.”
Simmons & Simmons was the most recent UK firm to move into the Spanish market when it took on SEPI’s former general secretary and chief secretary Luis Felipe Castresana to become managing partner of its Madrid office in April.