Uría Menéndez is gearing up to launch its first new office in 10 years, targeting the Polish capital Warsaw as a foothold in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
Uría, Slaughter and May‘s best friend in Spain, is planning for a practice with one or two partners, putting the office on par with the firm’s bases in the UK and US. An office in Poland would take Uría to 15 offices worldwide.
Managing partner Luis De Carlos said: “For us at the moment, Eastern Europe is more urgent than Asia. We’ve had a Chinese desk here in Madrid for 18 months. This year we’ll make a decision on Eastern Europe and definitely define our presence.”
De Carlos said the move was being led by client demand.
Spanish companies are increasingly looking to Eastern Europe for investment opportunities, with Poland often the first port of call.
“Poland’s similar to Spain in terms of size, population and the fact it’s in the EU,” said De Carlos. “Many Spanish companies are going to Poland and our clients are asking us to support them there.”
Spanish firms have begun to see opportunities in CEE, watching the expansion of the EU closely.
At the start of the year Garrigues acquired two-partner Warsaw outfit Fúster & Sartorius for its CEE launch, opening with a team of 15 lawyers.
Garrigues plans to expand into Bulgaria and Romania, which are both joining the EU this year.