Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: ESG, the regulatory battle is coming. Are the legal finance teams truly ready?

Sponsored briefing: ESG, the regulatory battle is coming. Are the legal finance teams truly ready?

As the COP26 continues its doings, one of the talks of town in the legal finance world this autumn is that about sustainability. Newspapers open up with announcements about investment funds gone green, social or sustainable, about private equity firms deciding to raise new funds to exclusively invest into climate-related issues, and about companies and firms setting up new cross-border strategies aimed at complying with ESG – environmental, social and governance – objectives. Consulting firms are issuing longest-ever reports about their ESG compromises and their commitment towards UN sustainable development goals. Legal and services firms are setting up cross-industry teams aimed to cope with the various deeds the market is looking at and will request, it seems, quite immediately. And yet behind all this, how will the legal finance world be affected? Do we need to change and adapt? True to sceptics, we have been doing renewable and green deals for many years, so what is the difference?

We can split this modern ESG thinking in at least two initial settings: looking inwardly towards our firms and institutions, to see what we need to adjust internally to progress towards ESG objectives, for the people in our firms, for the society we live in and for everybody’s future. It is not so much the legal services we can provide to our clients, but rather our commitment towards our own people and the societies we live in, towards the next generations and the planet. And looking outwardly, to see how we can, or need, to adjust our legal advice to the new requirements of private equity houses, banks and other financial institutions.

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Brexit places the UK out of the judicial cooperation area in the EU; will this be the end of English law in the continent?

Sponsored briefing: Brexit places the UK out of the judicial cooperation area in the EU; will this be the end of English law in the continent?

English law, courts and lawyers are a popular option for business transactions in the EU. Brexit could possibly change that, not so much because of obstacles to a valid choice of English law or the enforceability of judgments rendered by English courts but because the UK is now outside the many procedures for judicial cooperation within the EU (summoning, taking of evidence and other forms of judicial cooperation) which are vital for effective cross-border litigation.

The legal life cycle

Continental firms often have their commercial and financial agreements governed by English law even if none of the parties are domiciled in England. This contractual choice of applicable law is invariably combined with a choice of English courts to hear any dispute. While the UK was an EU member state both choices were expressly admitted as valid and enforceable as a matter of EU law under well-known regulations.

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: The calculation of individual dismissals under Directive 98/59/EC

Sponsored briefing: The calculation of individual dismissals under Directive 98/59/EC

In these turbulent times we are experiencing in the workplace, with a constantly changing legislative framework, the Spanish legal landscape was recently altered by the judgment handed down on 11 January 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), on collective redundancies (case C-300/19).

Whereas, just before the summer, news was appearing in the Spanish general press and specialised media of local court rulings rendering null and void terminations of employment contracts, where they were based on loss of business linked to Covid-19, now, this judgment handed down by the CJEU in Luxembourg has opened a new possibility for rendering null and void individual dismissals, linked to a tightening of the criteria used to calculate collective redundancy thresholds, under Directive 98/59/EC on the approximation of the laws of the member states relating to collective redundancies.

Legal Business

Focus: Garrigues

Focus: Garrigues

Lawyer headcount 1,408

Partners 297

Revenue €349.4m (+3%)

Offices Spain: A Coruña, Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Las Palmas, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo, Zaragoza. Portugal: Lisbon, Oporto. International: Beijing, Bogotá, Brussels, Casablanca, London, Lima, Mexico City, New York, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo, Shanghai, Warsaw

Key clients BBVA, Carrefour, Iberdrola, Santander, Telefónica

Managing partner Fernando Vives

Recent work highlights Advising Coca-Cola European Partners on its €16.9bn listing on multiple stock exchanges; advising Spanish hospital operator Quirónsalud during its €5.8bn takeover by German healthcare provider Fresenius; advising Global Infrastructure Partners on its €3.8bn purchase of 20% of Gas Natural from Repsol and Criteria Caixa.

Legal Business

Spanish powerhouse Garrigues posts steady global revenue as LatAm turnover up 82%

Spanish powerhouse Garrigues posts steady global revenue as LatAm turnover up 82%

Garrigues, the largest firm in continental Europe by number of fee-earners, has recorded a 3% rise in global revenue in 2016, growing to €349.4m.

Managing partner Fernando Vives estimates that around €290m of the firm’s revenues is brought in from the domestic Spanish market, where Garrigues is considered one of the ‘big three’ alongside Uría Menéndez and Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira.

The firm also saw wider international revenues grow by 20% to €41.3m. The firm has offices in Belgium, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Morocco, Shanghai and Beijing as well as Latin America. The boost in international income translates into 12% of global revenues.

Around 45% of the firm’s international revenue, or €18.6m, has come from Latin America this year, where the firm has offices in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The figure is a 82% jump on the year prior.

The region has been a specific focus for Garrigues, which opened its latest Latin American office in Chile by incorporating local firm Avendaño Merino into its international network.

Vives (pictured) told Legal Business that the firm hopes to continue the positive growth in Latin America, setting a 2017 revenue target of €30m. He added: ‘If we are able to achieve our objectives in the next five years, an important amount of our revenues will come from Latin America.

‘It’s our first priority in our international development. We are thinking of becoming the first integrated law firm in Latin America. This is our main goal.’

Along with fellow Spanish firms Pérez-Llorca and Uría Menéndez, Garrigues advised on the €16.9bn listing of Coca-Cola European Partners on multiple stock exchanges in June 2016. The company debuted on the Bolsa de Madrid, London Euronext, Amsterdam Euronext and New York Stock Exchange with a reported market capitalisation of more than £20bn.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Spain: A changing legal landscape

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Garrigues’ Fernando Vives on the after-effects of the crisis.

Let’s take, as a starting premise, that the Spanish economy’s situation remains challenging: despite the European Commission forecasts, a shining 2.6% and 2.7% GDP growth in 2016 and 2017, Spain has yet to deal with an unemployment rate of around 20%. Clearly, we still have room to improve.

Legal Business

Garrigues ramps up global push with London arbitration play and Chile tie-up

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Garrigues continued its global expansion by hiring its first English-qualified partner in the City with the arrival of Winston & Strawn’s co-head of international arbitration, Joe Tirado, to start an arbitration practice. The launch comes in the same month the firm added Chile to its Latin American network.

Tirado will become co-head of international arbitration as the firm seeks to provide a London hub for disputes in Latin America, where alternative dispute resolution has become commonplace following a series of investor-state disputes stemming from the nationalisation of energy assets across the continent in the 1990s. Tirado becomes the second lawyer in Garrigues’ London office, alongside corporate lawyer Ignacio Corbera Dale.

Legal Business

Winston & Strawn disputes heavyweight joins Garrigues to launch City arbitration team

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Garrigues has hired its first English-qualified partner in the City with the arrival of Winston & Strawn‘s co-head of international arbitration, Joe Tirado, to launch its practice in London.

The move sees Tirado become co-head of international arbitration as the firm seeks to provide a London hub for disputes in Latin America, where international arbitration has become commonplace following a series of investor-state disputes stemming from the nationalization of energy assets across the continent in the 1990s. Tirado will join Garrigues’ sole partner in the London office, corporate lawyer Ignacio Corbera. 

Garrigues, which is regarded as one of Spain’s leading law firms alongside Uría Menéndez, has 20 offices across that country but is lightweight in the rest of Europe. Tirado, who was head of international arbitration at Norton Rose before joining Winston & Strawn in 2012, arrives as part of a wider play for Latin American disputes. Garrigues has five offices across Latin America, adding Chile to its network spanning Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Brazil earlier this month through the addition of local firm Avendaño Merino.

A Spanish speaker, Tirado’s practice is largely centred on Latin American disputes and provides a City bridge to Garrigues’ expansion with a huge number of corporate contracts referring disputes to the London Court of International Arbitration. Tirado, a solicitor-advocate with full rights of audience before all English civil courts, will lead the international arbitration practice alongside Madrid-based Carlos de los Santos.

‘I have been impressed by how the firm’s international arbitration has developed, its culture and its plans for future global growth,’ said Tirado.

Santos added: ‘As a highly experienced practitioner and a fluent Spanish speaker, Joe bridges the cultural divide between the common law and civil law traditions perfectly.’

Tirado left Winston & Strawn at the end of January after the firm shifted its attention away from disputes as it sought to build a credible corporate practice, which resulted in the raid of an 11-partner team from US rival Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman at the start of last year. It proved something of a strategy reversal for Winston, which hired Tirado shortly after the high profile arrival of Ashurst’s former disputes managing partner Michael Madden with the firm shutting its arbitration-focused Geneva office last September.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Garrigues in Latin America: a step ahead – Javier Ybañez discusses the firm’s international position.

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We would like to think that staying one step ahead is one of Garrigues’ hallmarks – one of our obsessions. Garrigues was the first Spanish law firm to become an institutional organisation and leave behind the traditional model of an inherited family business to become a firm owned purely on merit, and this some decades before our competitors chose the same route.

Being the first to take such a difficult step is probably what instilled our enduring pioneering spirit. Many years ago we were the first major Spanish law firm to open an office in New York and, more recently, the first to publish a corporate social responsibility report. To some extent, this background has undoubtedly driven us to be the first major Spanish law firm to open its own offices in the principal Latin American cities.

Legal Business

Latam briefing: Garrigues extends local network, foreign players continue push and Brazil leader secures antitrust coup

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Market developments around the region continue apace: in the Dominican Republic, where the recent tie-up between Squire Saunders and Patton Boggs will be particularly felt (the former Squire Sanders, Peña Prieto & Gamundi was a key market player), further movement has seen the departures of Marielle Garrigó and Fabiola Medina (from Pellerano & Herrera and Medina Rizek, respectively), to establish new firm Medina Garrigó.

Elsewhere, ongoing developments in the turbulent but much touted Mexican market have most recently crystalised in Holland & Knight’s establishment of a litigation practice with the recruitment of experienced in-house figure Daniel Jiménez as a senior counsel. Formerly at state electricity utility CFE, Jiménez is also a former head of the in-house litigation team at the public company Luz y Fuerza del Centro. The recruitment brings the headcount of legal professionals at the office to 16.

Also in the disputes sector, this time in Guatemala, Arías & Muñoz has recruited the former founding partner of Consortium Centro América Abogados’ Guatemalan office, Mario René Archila Cruz, to head up its local disputes practice.

In the face of the severe ramping up of activity by Brazil’s competition authority, CADE, TozziniFreire has pulled off a notable coup with the recruitment of two significant competition and antitrust figures from rival firms. Marcel Medon Santos arrives from Azevedo Sette Advogados, and Márcio de Carvalho Silveira Bueno from Vieira, Rezende, Barbosa e Guerreiro Advogados; both acted as practice head at their respective former firms.

Finally, Garrigues continues to make good on its intention to establish fully-fledged offices in key Latin American jurisdictions with the notable strengthening of its Peruvian office, recruiting four key figures from full-service outfit Rubio Leguía Normand. The hire of Oscar Arrús, along with Sergio Amiel, Thomas Thorndike and José Francisco Meier, effectively constitutes the hiring of Rubio’s entire finance team, a sector in which all four enjoy notable market profile.

Tim.girven@thelegal500.com

Tim Girven is editor of the Latin American edition of The Legal 500. Click here to read his blog.

For more on Latin America see this week’s report on the ground-breaking tie-up between two leading firms in the region.