30 Jan 2023

Taylor Wessing in talks with Spain’s ECIJA to form strategic alliance

Formal discussions set to conclude at the end of February

Madrid, Spain. Victor Pelaez Torres

Top 20 UK law firm Taylor Wessing is in talks with Spanish heavyweight ECIJA to form a strategic alliance. 

A deal would be complementary for both firms, extending Taylor Wessing's footprint to Spain, Portugal and 14 Latin American countries. A combined firm would have 60 offices and turnover approaching £500m. 

While both firms operate verein structures, however, potentially allowing for joint branding, a Taylor Wessing spokesperson said talks were ongoing and no agreement had been reached. 

"We are in discussions with ECIJA relating to the mutual opportunities a strategic alliance would present for our clients,” a the spokesperson said. “With the formal process and discussions concluding at the end of February, nothing has been agreed at this stage."

Taylor Wessing has more than 1,100 lawyers across 29 offices in Europe, the US, Middle East and Asia 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 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, said 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 added. "Taylor Wessing is therefore likely to be only the most recent of many attractive international suitors. If they do get this deal over the finishing line, this would be a major coup for Taylor Wessing's leadership given the challenges associated with agreeing a tie up despite its clear strategic benefits."

Earlier this month, leading Spanish firm Cuatrecasas announced it had bolstered its bench in Mexico City after absorbing transactions and disputes boutique Rico Robley y Libenson, just a few months after it reinforced its presence in Portugal through an integration with Lisbon firm Serra Lopes, Cortes Martins & Associados. 

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