Legal Business Blogs

Former Freshfields lawyers open boutique following Magic Circle firm’s Barcelona exit

Two of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s lawyers have set up an IP/IT specialist boutique in Spain following the closure of the firm’s Barcelona office in April this year.

Counsel Sergio Miralles and associate Elena Molina set up the specialist firm Intangibles Legal focusing on IP and IT two months after the Barcelona office shut.

Freshfields said the boutique launch was part of the firm’s strategy to cover IP/IT work in Barcelona with its former lawyers, although the new outfit was not set up under the Freshfields banner.   

The decision to close the Barcelona office came after Freshfields’ former Barcelona managing partner, Toni Valverde, joined rival Allen & Overy in February to lead its newly launched office in the region. After Valverde’s exit, Freshfields rolled its Barcelona offering into its Madrid office. 

The closure affected one counsel, six lawyers and a small number of support staff in total, who were all made redundant after none accepted the offer to relocate to the firm’s Madrid office. The Madrid base currently houses 11 partners and 117 staff members.  

Freshfields confirmed it will continue to service its existing client base in Barcelona out of its Madrid base and will also work with Intangibles Legal to advise other clients.

The firm said in a written statement: ‘Our strategy is focused on supporting our clients wherever in the world they need us, rather than just where we have a physical office. We’ve therefore always run our Spanish practice as one, not as separate Madrid and Barcelona practices, so there will be no impact on our ability to support our network clients in Spain or our Barcelona-based clients.’

Some of the firm’s recent corporate transactions in Spain include advising Cepsa on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Coastal Energy Company for approximately C$2.3bn; representing Qatar Holdings on the acquisition of its €2bn equity interest in Iberdrola; and advising Amadeus on its initial public offering worth €1.45bn.