Garrigues bolsters Portuguese presence with LMA combination

Spain’s Garrigues has become the latest law firm to strengthen its Iberian links after integrating Portuguese practice Leonidas Matos y Asociados (LMA).

All of LMA’s 36 lawyers will be subsumed into Garrigues’ 1,200-strong law firm, and the Spanish giant hopes to add another 10 professionals in September.

The Portuguese Bar Association backed Garrigues’ move on Friday 16 July, with the plan expected to be finalised within the next few days.

The approval came on the back of a partner meeting held in Lisbon last week and underlines the significance of last year’s Latin American Alliance, which united a string of firms across Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

Garrigues first gained a footing in the Portuguese market in 1991 with the inception of the Portuguese Legal Group, which included Simmons & Simmons, Brazil’s Pinheiro Neto and Portugal’s Castelo Branco Nobre Guedes & Associados.

Portugal is progressively becoming a more attractive proposition for the big European players.

In June, Garrigues’ Spanish rival Uría & Ménéndez launched a merger with 50-lawyer Portuguese firm Vasconcelos F Sa Carneiro Fontes & Associados, while DLA has already allied itself to Lisbon-based Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados, capping a frenetic period for the Portuguese market.

Linklaters and Simmons paved the way for UK firms by establishing their own offices in Portugal, as the traditionally localised market opened its doors under the direction of the local bar.