Denton Hall has formed an association with the Spanish firm Bufete Lupicinio Rodriguez, expanding the membership of its Denton International Group of Law Firms to seven.
Under the arrangement, the Madrid practice will retain independence, but trade internationally under the banner of Denton International.
However, the two sides are not ruling out the possibility of a future merger between the firms within the network.
James Dallas, chair of Denton Hall, said: “All the firms have endorsed the need for a common identity, so we are not seen as another European referral club with a bland name.
“There are obstacles to full integration and merger, but our type of arrangement allows us to get warm and comfortable with each other in advance of any such developments.”
Lupicinio Rodriguez, name partner of the Madrid-based Spanish firm, said he would not exclude the possibility of closer ties with Denton International. He added that he thought a global focus was vital for his firm: “We feel the long-term strategy of the firm is a globalisation of services, with many specialities operating under one brand name.”
According to Rodriguez, the recent merger between leading Spanish firm J&A Garrigues and the Arthur Andersen legal network had shaken up the Spanish legal market. He added that going global was the only way to fight off the threat of auditors. “Half our clients are international and we expect this to increase because of the link with Denton Hall,” said Rodriguez.
Denton Hall is also looking for firms in Italy, Sweden and Holland to join the group.