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Jaime Olleros, managing partner of Andersen Spain: "Succession planning in law firms is essential"

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Jaime Olleros, managing partner of Andersen, leaves the front line and tells Confilegal about his career during these 35 years at the head of the firm

After almost fifty years in the legal profession, the last thirty-five leading two successful firms as Olleros Abogados and later Andersen, on January 1st Jaime Olleros is going to leave the front line of business law.

Mr. Olleros will no longer be present in Andersen's day-to-day business in Spain as President and CEO of the Board of Directors of Andersen in Spain, although he will for the time being maintain his responsibilities as a member of the Global Board of Andersen Global, where he is present in various committees.

This succession process has been underway since November 2019 so as not to leave any element to improvisation and to ensure a smooth generational change and to continue to drive Andersen's growth in our country.

"On that date the Board of Directors of the firm was set up and from its launch in January 2020 other activities were started. In fact, last September the Board itself elected the two new managing partners who will lead firm from January", he explains.

Along with Mr. Olleros, the Valencian members of this body are Ignacio Aparicio (director and secretary), Benjamín Prieto, Joaquín Ureña and José Vicente Morote, the latter of whom is based in Madrid, as well as the directors Alfredo Aspra and Íñigo Rodríguez-Sastre. They will now have to elect a new president.

Two of these directors, Jose Vicente Morote, an expert in public law and regulation, and Iñigo Rodriguez-Sastre, an expert in arbitration and procedure, will be the co-directors of Andersen in Spain. "These last four months have served to work together with them to make the transition smooth. I believe that we have made the right choice in this new leap in the firm," said Mr. Olleros.

Today, Andersen, which shortened the name to its oldest origin, is made up of 245 professionals in its offices in Madrid, Seville and Valencia. Of these, 160 are lawyers, 31 are partners and the rest are support staff.

For its part, the Barcelona office has 59 professionals, of whom 35 are lawyers, 10 partners and the rest support staff. Legally they are separate structures. The firm has all the traditional practices of business law.

Mr. Olleros particularly highlights the area of culture, along with the area of privacy and cyber security with Vicente Moret and his team, as innovative elements, another of Andersen's commitments in Spain along with advice to digital platforms. "Recently we also created a consumer area because the market demanded it".

The firm is organised by two concepts, "knowledge of industries and sectors, where we have teams that cross over traditional legal practices, and, on the other hand, the 'services line' at a European level, which are cross-cutting areas between countries, such as the tax area".

Four years of integration

Mr. Olleros recalls that the integration of Olleros Abogados was made because "Andersen was growing, a fact that has been confirmed over these four years" and "we thought that growth in the national market was going to be important. The move from Olleros to Andersen also gave our activity greater international strength. I think we have grown considerably".

In terms of data, this is what they reveal, the 11.5 million euros of turnover in 2016 closed that financial year at 25 million euros, which meant a growth of 14% with respect to 2018, also counting the office in Barcelona. "The forecasts for 2020 are to maintain the same turnover as last year", he explained.

Mr. Olleros acknowledges that it has been a strange year and that despite the coronavirus pandemic "we have had enough work, without the need to make cuts in the professionals in the firm". In his case, he admits that he has been on confined since March and that he has worked long hours, like many of his lawyers.

Despite the situation at firm, Mr. Olleros believes that there is still a lot to do before Andersen continues to grow in Spain. "This sector is incredibly competitive and has to keep growing. Every time the Andersen international organisation grows, more and more transnational cases are coming to us here in Spain".

From 1st January onwards, Jaime Olleros will begin a new and more relaxed life, "I will continue with my international responsibilities in Andersen and by attending the European and world meetings of firm. I also hope to spend more time with my family and to maintain my presence on the Board of Directors of a company where I am present.

Everything seems to indicate that he will no longer be linked to Andersen Spain, "we must leave the new managing partners to do their work with total freedom. I am no longer going to get involved in any way in matters concerning the firm in our country".

About these thirty-five years in which he has launched two outstanding legal firms, 

Mr. Olleros confesses to Confilegal that "the best thing is to have worked with a group of top-level professionals, both at a technical level and for their human quality. Thanks to this, the work towards our clients has been excellent since the continuous improvement of our activity".

Controlled succession

What is striking about this generational change in Andersen Spain is how it has been structured over the last eighteen months. "You have to realise, first, that you are leaving firm and that you have to ensure the maintenance of the business. It's a question of transmitting your ideas without imposing them on the team that takes over".

Another issue he highlights is that "in this transition it is essential to transfer as much information as possible from the office to manage the future of the company, knowing what the prevailing trends are at that time".

At the same time, "the succession must be done with time and tranquillity, where planning is the key to avoiding any surprises. In this case I had already made the decision some time ago and my family has given me their full support".

Looking back, we must remember that Jaime Olleros started his professional practice in 1973 at Arthur Andersen & Co, in Madrid, in the legal, tax and foreign investment departments, until December 1981, when he began a new professional stage as General Secretary of Textiles and European Clothing, SA, Lois Group.

At that time, Andersen coincided with Miguel Gordillo, managing partner of Garrigues until 2012 and later an important collaborator for Olleros, in the two offices he led. "Gordillo has helped us to improve the management of firm and to be more competitive. His experience has been very intense, and we can take advantage of it even in the coming years".

It was in May 1986 when he took a decisive step and created his own legal firm in his native Valencia. This is how Olleros Abogados came into being, and he was the managing partner until the integration of firm into Andersen Global in 2017. A quick but necessary integration, as he told us at Confilegal shortly after it took place.

Throughout this extensive career, Olleros has combined the management of these legal firms with his practice as a specialist in international business law and taxation and has extensive experience in contracting and partnerships, M&A operations and financial law.

This has meant that he has participated in and directed numerous operations on a national and international level involving the review, restructuring and purchase and sale of companies, the preparation of reports and opinions on matters of his professional specialisation.

He has an extensive experience in transactions carried out in Cuba and, since 2013, he has been highlighted as a 'Foreign Expert' in Chambers & Partners' Global Guide for his advice to national and international clients on the island.

Likewise, the prestigious British directory The Legal 500 highlights him among the best lawyers in Corporate and M&A, a practice in which he is also recognised by the 'Best Lawyers' ranking.

In relation to the arbitration field, he has intervened in arbitrations in Spain, as sole arbitrator and as a lawyer. He was also present in several cases as a mediator and has accompanied as a lawyer several arbitrations before the Arbitration Court of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and before the American Arbitration Association.

You can see the interview in Confilegal or read it here.

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