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Conflicts that put 'marriages' between lawyers in check

The fine line between shareholders, managers and employees of law firms leads to power struggles in structures that, if not well managed, can lead to the demise of successful companies.
In 'A Boa Esposa', the protagonist (photo) faces power struggles between the partners of a law firm.

Economic literature is full of elite tandems who have managed to take a company to the top and, when the time came, have also managed to separate their paths without the company suffering; But history has also recorded many cases in which these marriages fail and, what is even worse, drag the society they have built with so much effort into divorce.

The legal profession is no stranger to these types of situations. In fact, professional services - such as legal advice or debt claims– have always been more exposed to conflicts between members of the company, since they are used, in addition to shareholders, to play the role of managers and employees of the company.
In these personalistic sectors, where the line that separates the functions of the members is not always well defined, power struggles are frequent, just as it often happens that the interests of the partners take different directions.

This is the case, for example, of Ramón Hermosilla Gimeno, a lawyer who left Ramón Hermosilla & Gutiérrez de la Roza with another partner and two lawyers - which he currently uses as Ontier - and of whom he was president and director, to found his own firm.
This is an example of good harmony, since both parties have agreed on the departure and have communicated that they will continue to collaborate, although it is significant that such an important part of the firm and the architect, as well as his father, of the merger with the Asturian firm Gutiérrez de la Roza have left their office, but not their father.
However, not all separations are so cordial.

A few days ago, the departure of Santiago Muñoz from Chávarri & Muñoz, of whom he was co-founder, became public after a legal battle that was finally won by his partner, Antonio Chávarri, president of the firm. In the present case, the fight between the founders also did not affect the company's activity, since there was no division of the company.

However, not all conflicts end well for the company, especially when the breakup turns into a battle between the partners, damaging the image of the company and leaving it on the brink of bankruptcy, as was the case, for example, with Maniega. & Soler, bankrupt. In this case, the personality has reached the point where the founding members got married.

In the business world, there are many cases of married couples starting a business, so here are the main ones, for example, the protocols that provide for a possible divorce of their owners. One of the most representative examples is that of Inditex, because it shows that a company does not have to be outraged by the personal disagreements of its owners.

Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera founded the company and, when they decided to separate their paths, he continued to lead the group, while his ex-wife remained in the company as a shareholder.
The problem is that this example is very difficult to apply in the legal sector, where the figure of the non-executive shareholder is practically non-existent.

But there are other formulas that have proven their value in the past and in other markets, such as the Koplowitz sisters.

In the 90s, Alicia and Esther Koplowitz led the FCC until 1997, when the former decided to end the family tandem. Thus, without the company's resentment, Esther bought her sister's stake and diversified her investments in other sectors.

In the legal sector, the integration of Castro Suero & Varela into KPMG did not work out, but instead of sterile confrontations, several dissatisfied partners chose to leave the firm and founded one of the most promising boutiques on the market in May. The law firms Vialegis and Dutilh have also decided to break their merger and seek their fate separately.

These types of conflicts are not exclusive to Spain. In the UK alone, around 30 large British law firms have experienced serious problems over the years - mainly financial - and there have been five bankruptcies, as deteriorating personal relationships between partners have made it impossible to resolve these. issues. In the United States, the most visible case is that of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which, with more than 1,000 lawyers, collapsed and was dissolved in 2012.

Litigation and breakdowns in the Spanish legal marketMLA Associates
After working at Clifford and Lovells

Lexmia is a law firm in Murcia with a national and international vocation.

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