Alejandro Touriño (Écija): "The culture of the firm is very strong. We are not a normal law firm"
The Impact Lawyers publishes an interview with Alejandro Touriño, Managing Partner of Écija. This interview and others can be found in the Survey on the internationalisation of law firms
What is the strategy you have followed when opening offices abroad? Why?
Our strategy for the coming years is based on international growth, which is based on three pillars: to become one of the top five Spanish firms; to be leaders in Latin America; and to be a major reference in the legal market in the digital economy. We are aware of the complexity of achieving this, but it is an incentive for us that makes us work hard every day. There is no deadline as such, but we will not stop until we achieve it.
To this end, we have defined an innovative approach, probably unique in the Latin American market, marked by a polycentric spirit, that is, without headquarters around which the rest of the offices revolve, but through a horizontal structure of the firm where all the offices have the same weight and in which local spirit and autonomy are paramount as values. Our commitment to growth is primarily focused on Latin America in order to grow hand in hand with our clients, whose roadmap increasingly includes internationalization in the region. We aspire to be the firm of reference for many companies that see Spain as the natural gateway to the Iberian and Latin American markets.
Whichever model you have chosen to establish yourselves in a new jurisdiction, what are the biggest challenges you have faced?
We have grown a lot in recent years. The criteria for selecting firms has not been unique. However, there has always been a common element of sharing the same business vision, the same drive for growth and the same corporate culture. Our partners are a real example of diversity, but despite their differences, we all share a vocation for excellence and client service.
Integrating firms is a risk, but also a challenge. It is a kind of digestion. It is not only a matter of chewing and swallowing, but also of digesting. The culture of the firm is very strong. We are not a normal law firm. We are clearly a company, we behave that way, we have an incredible working environment, full of young and diverse talent, which makes us work and share our work with passion. For us, any corporate move has to be about reinforcing that culture.
How has the crisis caused by COVID-19 affected your international growth strategy?
Covid-19 has certainly been a challenge, but we did not want it to be a brake on our international growth. In the last financial year, we have taken up positions in three key markets for us: Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador, as well as strengthening our presence in Guatemala.
In this same context, we have not only strengthened our muscle through integrations, but we have also committed to the promotion of new partners in the offices of Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as the opening of new practice areas such as Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility, for example.
In the midst of Covid-19 and in the midst of confinement, we have been working to enter other markets and we are confident that we will soon be able to announce our arrival in new territories as a result of the work of the last few months.
This survey was conducted through Venize Comunicación between December 2020 and January 2021.