22 February 2021
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Norman Heckh (Ramón y Cajal): "Independence, far from weakening us, has made us stronger"

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The Impact Lawyers publishes an interview with Norman Heckh, Director of the International Committee of Ramón y Cajal Abogados. This interview and others can be found in the Survey on the internationalisation of law firms

What is the firm's internationalization strategy?

Ramón y Cajal Abogados opted at the time to remain independent despite several merger/integration offers from large international firms in recent years and we want to remain so for a long time.

Independence, far from weakening us, has made us stronger, as we enjoy the necessary flexibility to collaborate with the most suitable foreign law firm depending on the specific case and these firms also appreciate our capacity to react and our ability to adjust to the circumstances required.

Thus, from our independence, we have managed to generate very good relations with other law firms not established in Spain, especially in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and to a lesser extent the USA and Canada. On the other hand, Latam has been another important region in our strategy.

Our challenge in the coming years is to strengthen our collaboration with countries such as the UK, Germany and France, and in this regard we are considering the possibility of sending one of our partners to London to strengthen our links with the City.

On the other hand, we will devote more resources and efforts to improving our "presence" in the US.

Whichever model you choose, what are the biggest challenges you have faced?

Undoubtedly the high level of competition from many national firms that have been investing heavily in their "internationalization" for a long time, and we have the example of several Spanish law firms with offices in London, Brussels, Latin America and even the USA, although in many cases they are only representative offices. 

This has meant that we have had to work twice as hard to achieve similar recognition.

How has the crisis caused by COVID-19 affected your international growth strategy?

Obviously, the crisis caused by the current pandemic is affecting all sectors and the legal sector is no stranger to it. However, thanks to the good work done in recent years, the flow of international work has hardly suffered and in 2020 we have achieved an international work turnover very similar to 2019. This is mainly due to the fact that our name abroad is already very strong, to the loyalty of many international clients and to the good relationship achieved with several law firms in jurisdictions such as the UK, Germany, France and Italy. 

On the other hand, restrictions on movement have made it impossible for us to continue to travel and attend relevant events and forums, although new technologies have made it possible to keep in touch, and even more regularly, with all our international contacts. 

We expect to be able to resume our face-to-face activity from September 2021 onwards, without reducing remote promotion.

Methodology

This survey was conducted through Venize Comunicación between December 2020 and January 2021.

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