Portugal’s Vieira de Almeida picks up 20-strong team from rival Miranda

Portuguese firm Vieira de Almeida (VdA) has hired around 20 lawyers, including six partners, from rival Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados, boosting its strength in oil and gas and African work.

The news follows Miranda’s June announcement that the six partners, including chairman Rui Amendoeira, were quitting the firm (16 June 2015).

Amendoeira is joining VdA alongside fellow partners João Fialho, Rui Andrade, Paulo Costa, Raúl Cerveira and Samuel Almeida and of counsel Mathieu Le Roux.

The hires bring the number of lawyers at VdA to around 210 and the number of staff to almost 300. Further hires to complement the team are likely, said managing partner João Vieira de Almeida.

He said the move consolidated the firm’s international strategy, with the team bringing experience in advising oil companies and other corporates on major projects in lusophone and francophone Africa.

Until now VdA has had little expertise in oil and gas and Vieira de Almeida said the fit was complementary, with no crossover between clients or business services.

He added that the hires pushed VdA’s international strategy forwards by “five or six years” as the Miranda team had been working in Africa for much longer and had deeper expertise and contacts on the continent.

Amendoeira’s leadership saw Miranda grow from its roots in Portugal to offering services across 11 African jurisdictions through its ‘Miranda Alliance’. Although the alliance started out with a focus on lusophone Africa, the firm has since expanded into a number of francophone countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (17 January 2013) and Cameroon (16 July 2013).

VdA has developed a similar, but smaller network of associated firms internationally, focusing particularly on Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau as well as Brazil and East Timor, which operates under the banner ‘VdA Atlas’.

Energy specialist Diogo Xavier da Cunha has taken over from Amendoeira as Miranda’s chairman.

Miranda declined to comment.