Global partnerships speed up business success at Morais Leitão
Portugal has been making global headlines in the renewable energy sector recently after becoming home to Europe’s first ever floating windfarm, WindFloat Atlantic.
Since becoming fully operational in 2020, WindFloat Atlantic has become capable of generating enough clean energy to supply the annual energy needs of up to sixty thousand people. That was made possible, in part, by the work of Portuguese law firm Morais Leitão, Galvao Teles, Soares Da Silva & Associates.
Lex Mundi member Morais Leitão is a proudly independent full-service law firm, which has been representing its clients for decades and now employs more than 250 lawyers who work across the firm’s three Portuguese offices – Lisbon, Porto and Funchal – and three overseas offices in Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde.
Banking & Finance Partner at Morais Leitão, Filipe Lowndes Marques, believes the relationships that partners and associates at the firm create through regular attendance at Lex Mundi’s many practice group meetings and conferences are an integral part of how a law firm in the relatively small country of Portugal can continue to deliver the very highest quality cutting edge legal services to the country’s largest companies, supporting them both at home and abroad.
One key benefit of being part of Lex Mundi is being able to make personal connections with the very highest quality law firms in the world.
Filipe Lowndes Marques Partner
“Membership of Lex Mundi is very important to us here at Morais Leitão. We actively encourage our partners and associates to attend their sectorial practice group meetings and conferences all around the world,” says Marques. “One of the key benefits of being part of Lex Mundi is the ability to be able to make these personal connections with the very highest quality law firms in the world. These connections often transform into real true and reliable friendships, and these are friends you can call on when you need them the most”.
Marques continues: “For instance, only last week Morais Leitão pitched on a deal for a Portuguese-based business that had requirements in Poland, the Netherlands and Chile. It was quite complex, but the client wanted a Portuguese firm to handle the business for them. In a single afternoon, I sent off emails to the legal friends I have made in Chile, Holland and Poland explaining the deal and that very same afternoon the client had a full quote for legal work in four jurisdictions.”
Portugal has long been a European leader in the generation of renewable energy – and the firm has consistently given legal support to this ground-breaking development. In fact, in March 2018 the country scored a notable first when its renewable electricity production exceeded its monthly consumption. Portugal’s relentless pursuit of net-zero, coupled with Morais Leitao’s innovative approach to delivering legal services, has also recently seen the firm supporting the Portuguese government’s innovative plan to use the nation’s reservoirs to generate solar energy, using the available water surface space to float solar panels – a novel plan indeed.
“As a firm we try to deliver our services in a novel and innovative way,” says Marques, “and the plan to use our reservoirs to generate more renewable energy is one such example. This is an interesting project to get more from the existing spaces that we have in Portugal, and it is rewarding to do this type of legal work that will have a big impact on our country’s future and environment, setting an example for other jurisdictions.”
Looking to the future, it is in some ways Portugal’s past that hints at Morais Leitão’s way forward, as Marques explains: “Naturally, we will continue to be committed to Lex Mundi and ensure that we continue to learn from and work closely with other international members. But we recognise that Portugal is a small European country, so the obvious place for us to explore further in the future has been other Portuguese-speaking countries around the world”.
“We have already opened offices in the Portuguese-speaking African countries of Angola, Mozambique and, most recently, Cape Verde and due to their huge reserves of raw materials we see huge potential for growth in those areas. As those markets do emerge in the years ahead they will require the infrastructure that we take for granted here in Europe and we would be very keen to support the businesses and organisations delivering that infrastructure in those regions.”
Marques is currently Morais Leitão’s internal Lex Mundi coordinator, and part of his role is to ensure that all fee-earners and support staff across the firm’s offices know the advantages that access to a global network provides and use them to serve their clients in the best possible way.
Marques says: “Because of the way in which Lex Mundi selects their member firms you can always be confident that when referring one of your clients to another member firm in another jurisdiction that you are putting them together with one of the very best firms in that jurisdiction. That is very important for us to be able to say to that to our clients as it helps to build genuine trust and confidence in our relationship. In another recent example, where we turned to Lex Mundi’s Equisphere, we have been able to work with 50+ jurisdictions in an almost seamless way, for the client’s benefit”.
The exchange of best practise knowledge we get access to really helps Morais Leitão to move forward in the right way.
“The other advantage is that many of the Lex Mundi member firms that we have regular contact with are operating in more developed legal markets than us and are ahead of the curve in terms of what clients want and need. The exchange of best practise knowledge that we get access to really helps us here at Morais Leitão to move our firm forward in the right way, so that we know we will be delivering the legal services that clients want and need in the years ahead.”