Taylor Wessing and ECIJA unveil 'strategic alliance'

Deal will see Anglo German and Spanish firms collaborate with focus on TMT and life sciences sector

Clockwise from top left: Taylor Wessing co-chair Shane Gleghorn, ECIJA chairman Hugo Écija, ECIJA managing partner Alejandro Touriño and Taylor Wessing co-chair Olaf Kranz Images courtesy of Taylor Wessing and ECIJA

Top 20 UK law firm Taylor Wessing and Spanish heavyweight ECIJA have unveiled a strategic alliance in a deal that will see them collaborate on a non-exclusive basis.

The firms will team up in areas including referrals, joint pitches and secondments but retain their separate brands.

The duo said the move was in response to the continued global expansion of TMT and life sciences companies – a key area for both firms – and would enable them to better serve clients in their respective markets.

The combined network comprises more than 3000 professionals and 500 partners in 62 offices in 33 jurisdictions around the world and is complementary, combining Anglo German firm Taylor Wessing's Europe, Middle East and Asia network with ECIJA's Iberian and Latin American bases.

Both firms, however, will continue to operate as separate vereins.

Olaf Kranz, Taylor Wessing's co-chair and Germany managing partner, said: "Like ours, ECIJA's strategy is focused on representing our clients and creating opportunities for them in the major technology and life science hubs around the world. ECIJA'S success and trajectory is impressive and there has been clear alignment with our values and our strategic areas of focus."

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Taylor Wessing has more than 1,100 lawyers across 29 offices in the US, Middle East, Asia and Europe and grew its turnover last year by 13% to £420.6m. It focuses on technology, media and communications, life sciences and healthcare, real estate and private wealth; areas that dovetail nicely with ECIJA’s expertise in TMT and IP. 

For its part ECIJA was founded in Madrid in the 1990s by Hugo Ecija and has grown rapidly over the past decade, going from one office to 32 across Spain, Portugal and 14 Latin American countries housing more than 650 professionals.

The firm reported in 2021 that it had become the fourth largest Spanish law firm by revenue after global turnover reached €70.9m, saying at the time that it was moving beyond its original focus on TMT and IP to consolidate its position as a leading full-service firm.

Last September ECIJA announced it was to become the first Spanish law firm to operate as a verein. It is also notable for achieving another first for the Spanish market by taking private equity investment back in 2010. That stake stood at 23% in October last year. 

Mari Cruz Taboada, partner responsible for Spain and Latin America at Lexington Consultants, told GLP when news of the firms’ talks emerged in January that ECIJA had been one of the biggest success stories of recent years in Spain.

“Starting as a specialist firm – where it defined TMT law in Spain – it has expanded into a full-service practice across Iberia then Latin America," she said at the time, adding that Taylor Wessing was likely to have been one of a number of possible international suitors. 

ECIJA chairman, Hugo Écija, said the alliance underscored the firm’s commitment to consolidate its position “as an international firm and as a benchmark in the digital economy". 

The firm’s managing partner, Alejandro Touriño, added: “We identify a huge opportunity in approaching the market together, creating a worldwide powerhouse in TMT. In Taylor Wessing we have found a partner with whom we share strategy, values and corporate culture."

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