Losing affinity with alliances

In a world where domestic markets are struggling, looking elsewhere for opportunity makes sense. Iberian firms have long been building relationships with their counterparts in Latin America, which has significant cultural and linguistic similarities. In 2004 Garrigues began a network with firms across the continent, and called it Affinitas

This week the firm decided to pull out of the alliance. Instead, it wants to open its own offices in Latin America, beginning with Colombia, Mexico and Peru but moving on to other jurisdictions – including those not covered by the alliance, which was also in Argentina and Chile.

Garrigues already has its own small office in Brazil, opened in 2010. But a network of its own, local law offices in other countries could give it a much bigger presence in a key growth region. Rival Uría Menéndez has the closest to its own network of offices in Latin America, sharing premises with allied firms in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The firm needs to get its strategy right in the region. As the European 100, published on Monday, will reveal, Iberia is one of the European regions which has really struggled over the past year. In contrast to northern Europe, firms in the southern half of the continent have had a tough time of it and have had to make hard strategic decisions to secure their future. Looking to other parts of the world is a good place to start.