Addleshaw Goddard absorbs KWM’s Madrid arm to secure Spanish launch

UK firm takes advantage of KWM’s commitment to close European network as part of alliance with Eversheds Sutherland

Addleshaw Goddard is to open in Spain after taking over King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM’s) 70-lawyer Madrid office.

The move hands the UK firm an on-the-ground presence in a fourth jurisdiction in continental Europe, adding to its offices in France, Germany and Luxembourg.

The deal has been sparked by KWM China’s commitment to close its European and Middle Eastern offices by October as part of the exclusive alliance it forged last July with the international arm of transatlantic firm Eversheds Sutherland.

Addleshaws’ new Spanish office includes 13 partners and will be led by KWM’s Madrid managing partner Roberto Pomares. The firm, which began an ongoing programme of European expansion in 2019 when it opened in Hamburg, will be delighted that UK rival Eversheds’ alliance with KWM has handed it the opportunity to acquire a mature and highly regarded Spanish arm. 

Andrew Johnston, who takes over from John Joyce as Addleshaws’ managing partner on 1 May, said the team was a “strong addition to our business” with “market leading positions in funds, private equity and energy”.

According to data provided by Pirical, 30 major international law firms have a presence in Madrid with Allen & Overy leading the pack in terms of size with 126 lawyers, followed by fellow Magic Circle UK firms Linklaters (110) and Clifford Chance (102).

Addleshaws will have the seventh largest office in this grouping, with a significantly larger presence than Eversheds (38).

The office was opened by SJ Berwin (SJB) in 1999 and became part of KWM in 2013 when the UK firm signed up to KWM’s network. When SJB collapsed in 2017, the office chose to remain part of KWM China.

Moray McLaren, co-founder of Lexington Consultants, said: “This is a real coup for Addleshaw Goddard. KWM Madrid is a strong and very well established office which will have had a number of attractive offers on the table. The deal also opens the door for Addleshaws to increase its Portuguese work because the office has strong client relationships in Portugal.”

The deal continues a busy start to 2024 for Addleshaws. In January, it launched its fourth German office, in Berlin, with the hire of a seven-strong team of energy lawyers from EY Law. That same month it was granted a licence to open in Riyadh having announced its plans to launch in Saudi Arabia last year.

KWM’s withdrawal from Europe, meanwhile, is now virtually complete with only a handful of lawyers remaining on the ground in Germany, according to its website, Eversheds having taken on lawyers and teams in London, Germany, Italy and Dubai with some lawyers joining other firms.

On Monday (8 April), Cuatrecasas, Spain’s second-largest law firm, reported a 10% increase in revenue for 2023 to €388.7m. Last month Garrigues upped global revenue by 2.5% to €454.3m, becoming the first EU law firm to break the €450m revenue barrier.

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