DLA Piper combines with Portuguese alliance firm

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DLA Piper has continued its European expansion by combining with its Portuguese alliance firm ABBC.

ABBC is a full-service firm based in Lisbon, with nine partners and more than 50 lawyers. It has has adopted the DLA brand name from today (7 March).

DLA Piper first struck its association with the Portuguese firm in 2010, with the business working closely with DLA Piper’s Madrid office.

Simon Levine, DLA Piper’s co-global CEO, said: “With the close economic integration of Spain and Portugal, the Iberian legal market has been increasingly seen by our clients as a single market. We have worked closely with ABBC for many years now and it is a natural evolution for us to join forces, enabling us to present our clients with a single, joined-up offering across the Iberian region.”

Juan Picon, who took over from Nigel Knowles as global co-chair and senior partner of DLA Piper International, said: “Having a DLA Piper office in Portugal will complete our Iberian offering and enable us to service the many global and Spanish clients who need legal advice across Spain and Portugal, Latin America and, increasingly, Africa.”

ABBC has close links with Angolan law firm ADCA in Luanda, which is itself a member of DLA Piper Africa, DLA’s 14-strong network of independent firms across Africa.

DLA Piper is looking at expansion in a range of geographies, with possible launches planned for Ireland, Denmark and Peru.

Ireland has become an increasingly attractive jurisdiction for law firms in the wake of the Brexit vote and, according to one source, the firm is “talking to its clients” and “looking at” the possibility of opening in Ireland.

The firm set up a separate verein for the Nordic region last year, consisting of a firm in Sweden, a firm in Finland and a firm in Norway. Adding a Denmark office would complete the firm’s coverage of the region.

DLA is also focused on building its presence in Latin America, an initiative that is being carried out jointly between DLA Piper US and International. The firm struck a cooperation agreement with a firm in Chile last year and is set to continue that expansion, with Peru and Argentina high on the list of potential targets for expansion.

Photo credit: Luca Galuzzi