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Keeping home fires burning – DLA Piper chief Picón to join Latham & Watkins in Spain

Moving to the highest-grossing firm in the world from one that used to hold that position, DLA Piper senior partner and global co-chair Juan Picón has left for Latham & Watkins less than two years into his term to spend more time in his native Spain.

He will take over the role of Latham’s managing partner in Spain following the retirement of predecessor José Luis Blanco. He joins from DLA’s own office in Madrid, alongside fellow DLA corporate partners Ignacio Gómez-Sancha and José Antonio Sánchez-Dafos.

Latham chair Bill Voge described the team’s arrival as ‘a perfect complement to our existing practice.’ He added: ‘The team’s market knowledge and industry contacts are second to none. Spain is a key market with exciting opportunities in our global platform.’

Simon Levine, DLA’s global co-chief executive and a friend of Picón, said that the firm was ‘disappointed’ at Picón’s decision to leave before completing his term as senior partner but ‘we recognise the unique personal circumstances that have led him to make this decision’.

Speaking to Legal Business earlier this year, Picón said: ‘Last year I spent 220 days outside Spain. Not a lot of time with the family. I am old enough now to know that I would do things differently if I started again and I try to convey that to the younger generation. You can be a successful lawyer and organise yourself in a different way.’

Veteran dispute resolution partner Janet Legrand will take over his duties at DLA on an interim basis until a senior partner election takes place.

Picón, who first joined DLA in 2006 from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, had been elected senior partner in March 2016 after running uncontested. He replaced long-time leader Sir Nigel Knowles, who joined DWF this summer as the firm’s chair.

He was one of DLA’s biggest billers and during his time he strengthened the firm’s relationship with Vodafone after being instructed on its €7.2bn acquisition of Spanish broadband company Ono.

For a personal take on Juan Picón’s career and personal life, read ‘Life during law: Juan Picón, DLA Piper’