Merger creates largest Spanish practice

>The reported merger of Arthur Andersen's Spanish legal arm and premier ranking Spanish firm J&A Garrigues, which is associated with Simmons & Simmons, has been finalised.

The Madrid-based firm is discussing its referral agreement with Simmons following the merger agreement to form the “largest firm by far in Spain”. Simmons and Garigues have joint offices in New York and Brussels.

The new firm, known as J&A Garrigues Andersen, will have 67 partners and over 500 lawyers providing a complete range of legal and tax services.

Partner Santiago Ilundain, formerly of Andersen, said: “We will have an office in every major Spanish town.”

He said the merger had been complementary to both firms, providing Garrigues with access to the strongest tax practice in Spain, while bolstering Andersens' practice in all other areas.

The new firm will be a part of the Andersen Worldwide Organisation, with intimate links to Garrett & Co in the UK and Archibald Andersen in France.

Ilundain said the existing referral agreement between Garrigues and Simmons & Simmons was under review at present, and the two firms were in negotiations.

However, he conceded that it “did seem natural to refer work to Garrett & Co”. A spokeswoman for Simmons said it was “too early to comment about the relationship between the firms”.

A similar arrangement between McKenna & Co and SG Archibald broke down following the French firm's link up with Andersens.