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European movers: Bakers bolsters Madrid office with team of 20 as Hogan Lovells launches in Luxembourg and Wragges takes on Paris team

In many ways it is a curious time to be building up corporate and finance capability in the depressed Spanish market but Baker & McKenzie has significantly bolstered its strength in its largely third-tier Madrid office with the hire a local team of 20 lawyers from Mayer Brown’s former Spanish ally, Ramón y Cajal, including five partners.

Two of the founding members of the Spanish firm; Alberto Ureba, co-head of Ramón y Cajal’s corporate team, and Francisco Bauzá, co-head of the firm’s finance practice, are leaving to join the global behemoth by the end of the month.

Other key partners expected to leave include Guillermo Guerra, Rafael Bazán and Fernando Marroquín, none of whom were able to comment at the time.

Baker & McKenzie confirmed the news, first reported by a Spanish website, although said it did not release the news as the firm waits until lawyers are in place before announcing hires.

Mayer Brown entered into an exclusive alliance with Ramón y Cajal in 2007, although the US firm confirmed that this alliance is now over.

Elsewhere in Europe, Hogan Lovells looks set to open in the Grand Duchy after partners began voting on the move last Friday, with a Luxembourg office expected to launch at the end of the summer.

The top 15 Global 100 firm is planning on taking advantage of Luxemburg’s attractive tax status and world leading investment funds platform to set up a practice in that space. The office is likely to service a number of other practice areas and clients including corporate, real estate, private equity and tax.

‘We have plans to open in the country later this summer as there are a number of attractions for us in that market,’ said a spokesman for the firm.

This is the latest of a series of international plans to come to fruition. The firm recently bolstered its Latin America presence after obtaining a license to practice in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo last week. It also took three partners from Chadbourne & Parke earlier this year, including one based in Mexico, as the firm announced it was exploring the Mexican market.

In Paris, meanwhile, Wragge & Co has come back from the news last week that a seven-lawyer team had departed for local firm Franklin with the announcement that it has hired a four-lawyer Paris real estate team from the local office of leading UK firm Bird & Bird.

Partner Constance de La Hosseraye, who will lead the Paris-based real estate team, has joined together with three associates.

Wragge & Co’s Paris joint managing partner, Pierre Appremont, said: “Constance and her team are outstanding lawyers and exciting additions to the firm. Highly regarded in the market-place, Constance has a strong track record advising major French and international institutional investors on the full range of real estate matters.’

La Hosseraye added: ‘Wragge & Co has a compelling full-service offering and a market-leading real estate practice. In the three years since opening, the firm has made a big impact in Paris with its single team approach and ability to provide creative, pragmatic solutions to complex transactions. It’s this reputation which attracted me to join.’