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The Warsaw Voice » Other » February 23, 2010
Spain in Poland
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Garrigues: A Powerhouse in Poland
February 23, 2010   
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Law firm Garrigues, the largest in continental Europe, is the only Iberian practice to have a fully operative office in Poland, focusing on areas such as environmental law, public-private partnership (PPP), renewable energy and EU law.

Since the Iberian powerhouse opened its office three years ago in January 2007, it has grown into a well-established local player and a legal reference point for Iberian, Polish and international investors. The firm has gone from exclusively advising Iberian clients to opening up its services to Polish, British, German and other European and international companies. It now provides legal services to any business interested in this country.

Behind Garrigues' success in Poland lies not only the strength of its client base, but also the firm's faith in the potential of the domestic market, as Poland is one of the few European economies that are still growing. As The Economist put it recently, "Poland has never been more secure, richer or better run."

Carlos Rapallo, the partner leading the firm's Polish office, is proud of the synergy between Garrigues' legal culture and that of local lawyers. The firm has introduced the latter to a solid management culture and at the same time it has fully trained them in a number of practice areas that were underdeveloped in Poland compared with Spain, such as renewable energy and environmental law, project finance and public-private partnership. Meanwhile, local lawyers have been essential to the success of the firm thanks to their outstanding technical knowledge.

Garrigues in Poland has drawn the attention of both local and international media. The former have been publishing articles about its successful operations here, describing the firm's Polish branch as one of the fastest expanding offices in Europe. Meanwhile, British legal publication The Lawyer short-listed Garrigues Polska in the Best Overseas Office category at The Lawyer European Awards 2009.

Tasks in Poland
Garrigues in Poland offers the same legal services offered by the firm worldwide. But it has also developed specific strong teams to meet demand in certain practice areas that are gaining momentum in Poland: environmental law, public-private partnership, renewable energy and EU law.

Garrigues in Poland is not alone. It can count on Garrigues' extensive infrastructure, both technical and logistic. As an example, when it comes to EU law, the office relies on the outstanding technical expertise of Garrigues' office in Brussels, which since 1985 has been offering its clients unparalleled experience and know-how in EU law and EU institutions.

The firm also has a Portuguese desk which is focused on assisting Portuguese investors in expanding into Poland.

Plans and strategy
"Our strategy will focus on developing a strong base in Poland so that it becomes the firm's gateway to expansion in Central and Eastern Europe. From Warsaw, Garrigues plans to expand into other areas in the region in the wake of its clients' expansion," says Rapallo, managing partner in Warsaw.

The office plans to increase the number of its lawyers from the current 14 to 20 by the end of 2010. It aims to attract an increasing number of Polish clients.

As a consequence of the current and potential development of the Polish market, as well as the current and expected presence of Iberian investors in the country, Garrigues sees Poland as a strategic market and believes its future is promising.
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