The office will specialise in corporate and M&A work, providing Spanish legal advice to Spanish and international clients.
The firm is sending Spanish partner Jaime Llopis with one associate to run the office initially, which is due to open next month.
Cuatrecasas already has a formal alliance with Brazilian firm Machado Meyer Sendacz Opice. They share a New York office and the São Paulo Cuatrecasas office will be based in the same premises as Machado.
According to Cuatrecasas international development partner Enric Picanyol, the new office is not a prelude to a full merger with Machado.
“We see no reason to aim at a merger with Machado Meyer. The relationship between us is always changing”
Enric Picanyol, Cuatracasas
“We see no reason to aim at a merger with Machado Meyer,” he says. “The relationship between us is always changing. Sometimes full integration would be an advantage, but in many circumstances it would be a hassle.”
Picanyol has just returned to Spain from New York, where he was managing partner of the Cuatrecasas office. He has been replaced internally by partner Javier Villasante Ferrando.
Both Picanyol and Villasante arrived in New York together in 1999 to open the office. Picanyol says it has yet to be decided whether another lawyer will join the New York office, but insists that the three-lawyer office is profitable.
“There's been a small economic downturn, but as our small New York operation deals with the standard bread-and-butter legal work associated with mergers and acquisitions, we haven't noticed a downturn in our office,” he said.