Antonio Baena (Cuatrecasas): "It is key to identify the right talent and profiles in each jurisdiction"
The Impact Lawyers publishes an interview with Antonio Baena, Head of the New York office and international area coordinator at Cuatrecasas. This interview and others can be found in the Survey on the internationalization of law firms
What is the strategy you have followed when opening offices abroad? Why?
To accompany our clients and establish ourselves in strategic jurisdictions and geographical areas when our operations require it, under a flexible model, adapting to the particularities of each market.
We have established offices in key locations in the international business world such as New York, London, Brussels, Shanghai and Beijing which, without practising local law, are focused on working with our existing client base, attracting new investors to our territories and collaborating with leading independent law firms.
We also have offices in North Africa (Morocco) and Lusophone Africa (Angola) to serve the needs of clients investing in those regions.
Over the past four years we have established offices in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Latin America is a key region in our international strategy, where we do provide advice on local law and aim to become a leading firm in each of these markets.
Whichever model you have chosen to establish yourself in a new jurisdiction, what are the biggest challenges you have faced?
The current dimension of our international platform, with offices in eleven countries located on four continents, requires us to manage different needs.
It is key to identify the right talent and profiles in each jurisdiction, which allows us to always guarantee the homogeneity and uniformity of our teams.
We must also maintain our single corporate model in all territories. We must also preserve the firm's identity by transmitting the firm's idiosyncrasies and values to new offices and international teams. At the same time, adapting to local culture and practices.
It is essential to ensure consistency in the type of advice we provide in each jurisdiction, in the profile of our clients and in the quality of the service they demand and need.
Finally, it is important to continuously monitor the management of the teams, their operations and their profitability, regardless of the particularities of each territory.
How has the crisis caused by COVID-19 affected your international growth strategy?
The firm has always been clear that it had to maintain its strategy, both domestic and international, despite the difficult economic and market environment. The uncertainty caused by the crisis has made us be particularly analytical and rigorous, but it has not affected our plans and, for example, we have ended the year as one of the great dynamisers in Latin America, the region where we are now mainly focused in terms of international growth.
In this regard, our priority objective in the international sphere, which is to continue to adapt our growth in each territory to the needs of the market while ensuring the profitability of our operations, has remained unchanged. We will continue to selectively reinforce our international teams and incorporate new areas, taking advantage of any opportunities that may arise.
In any case, the impossibility of travelling has forced us to manage our international operations in a different way, always from a distance and by telematic means.
This survey was conducted through Venize Comunicación between December 2020 and January 2021.