Clydes flexes its muscles in Madrid

Madrid move shows how Clydes is changing the insurance law game

The move of a four-partner team from DAC Beachcroft’s Madrid office to Clyde & Co reflects how far the firms have diverged since their respective autumn 2011 mergers.

When Clydes first mooted joining forces with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) many thought it a shrewd move to take out its main competitor. Less than two years on and it has proven to be so much more. In coming together with BLG, Clydes has reshaped the legal insurance sector on a global level. Its move on DAC Beachcroft is testament to that.


For legacy Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) the Madrid base was a strength, home to one of the best insurance legal teams in Spain. When it came to the merger with Beachcroft, Madrid was a particular attraction, at the core of the firm’s successful Latin America practice.

The four partners include former Madrid managing partner and DAC Beachcroft board member Ignacio Figuerol, and Pablo Guillen, both well-regarded for their directors & officers (D&O) insurance expertise.

Since 2008 demand for D&O advice has increased as the number of boardroom investigations has rocketed. The pair will join a practice including Singapore-based Ian Roberts and San Francisco-based Kim West, also considered leaders in the field. They are joined by DAC Beachcroft partners Ricardo Garrido and Miguel Relano, with his institutional insurer client following.

Sources suggest this is not the first time the Madrid office has been baited by the rival. Both Clydes and legacy BLG had attempted the move. Together, the temptation has proven too strong and the desire to work at a firm that has access to clients on every continent sealed the deal.

Where does this leave DAC Beachcroft? No worse off per se, but it does put it in competition with Clydes in Madrid, while widening the gap between them.

And what of that other insurance leader, Kennedys? It is building an alliance network, but with insurers looking to bring expertise in-house while sending specialist work to global providers it is under pressure.