Cuatrecasas is a leading Spanish law firm with offices in over 11 countries. Fontana contributed to the momentum of expansion of the firm, both in the configuration of implementing a complete legal advisory service and the internal reorganization of areas. He configured the main business strategy, as well as the determined commitment towards international practice as well as the talent of each person as key element of Cuatrecasas.
Leaders League. Cuatrecasas is celebrating its 100th anniversary, how has the firm and the Spanish legal market evolved over the years?
Rafael Fontana. In celebrating its centenary year, Cuatrecasas remains true to its hallmarks and is committed to new times. We are grateful to all who have accompanied us over the years, particularly our clients. Our firm has evolved with our clients and the market. The Spanish legal market is more global than ever, with national champions coexisting with global law firms and niche boutiques, all of which are capable of providing sophisticated legal services for complex cases.
What are the firm’s main priorities under your leadership?
R.F. 2017 is a year of transformation in which we have implemented the principles of our Strategic Plan 2016-2020, which is aimed at generating value for clients, the team and the environment. This roadmap identifies the international expansion process as key for the firm’s future development, as it aims to become a benchmark firm for business law in Latin America through our offices in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
Is internationalization is still a key part of the firm’s strategy? If yes, what are the most attractive markets you're looking at?
R.F. It is indeed. We are specially focused on Latin America and Asia. We have recently opened a new office in Mexico City and formed a joint venture in Colombia with Posse Herrera Ruiz, a leading law firm in the region. These should be added to Sao Paulo and the Brazilian market, as we have been there for more than 15 years.
As for Asia, our next move will be in Beijing. We will be extending our practice in China with a new office in the capital that will reinforce our Shanghai office.
Further to these regions, we have strengthened consolidated markets, including the UK, the US and Europe, with a team renewal in London and New York specialized in Corporate Finance. We will also continue to reinforce our relationship with the European network, which is made up of Chiomenti (Italy), Cuatrecasas (Spain and Portugal), Gide (France), and Gleiss Lutz (Germany).
In regard to the program Cuatrecasas Acelera, what is your opinion on legaltech and the benefits it brings to your firm?
R.F. We have observed that an increasing number of startups focus on the legaltech sector to provide technological solutions to boost law firms’ productivity and management. However, we have also come across projects that add value in other areas (including fintech and e-commerce), which Cuatrecasas can support and guide, given the legal complexity of these areas.
As a leading law firm in Spain, we aim to be at the forefront of innovation and help startups grow. Acelera provides an unparalleled opportunity to find out more about the startup and entrepreneurial environment, which will help us develop our venture capital practice.
What does the future hold for you?
R.F. Value is the core of our strategy: value for our clients and for our employees. This means adapting our practices to clients’ needs and market trends. We are working to become a global firm by spreading our practice and presence overseas and hiring new talent with global profiles. We are also embracing technology and new processes to increase efficiency.
Finally, we are dedicated to our team, providing them with a promising professional career, adjusted to the new generation’s values. As an example, we are introducing a flexible work plan that aims to reshape our workspaces to enable collaborative work; what is more, we offer stimulating careers with equal opportunities.