Spanish firms aim to ape UK legal model

The Barcelona Bar Association has sent a delegation to London to learn about Anglo-Saxon law firm models and how to set up a representative office in the capital.

The 45-strong delegation spent three days in London last week after approaching the Law Society of England and Wales to organise the trip.

Alberto Cedillo, chairman of the British Spanish Law Association, said: “The emphasis is on firm management. Spanish firms have seen the Anglo-Saxon model become very successful.”

The subjects discussed included time-recording and law firm marketing. The delegation met with lawyers from Manches, Withers and Baker & McKenzie, as well as PR professionals.

Cedillo said Spanish firms are looking internationally for business opportunities and want to learn from UK firms about the best way to go about this.

Florentino Carreño, a lawyer at the London office of Cuatrecasas, gave a talk about the firm’s experiences in the City since the office launch in summer last year.

“Investment from Spain to England is growing. Some of the lawyers will be considering opening an office in London,” said Cedillo.

Law Society president Fiona Woolf said the trip could become an annual event, and inspire a more international outlook at the Law Society.

“I think it could become something regular; it’s not too much of a burden to organise,” she said. “We could find out if there are other bars that would be interested and spread out across jurisdictions.”

The Barcelona Bar Association also looked at the UK’s use of training contracts as it reviews its own entry process to the legal profession.

The delegates toured the Royal Courts of Justice, the London Court of International Arbitration and Lincoln’s Inn.

Among the delegates were lawyers from international firms such as Bakers and Ernst & Young Abogados, as well as Barcelona-based firms Jausas and Roca Junyent.