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More than 100 lawyers attend fifth IBA French Spanish Day in Madrid

Friday 10 March 2023

Pictured (L-R): IBA President, Almudena Arpón de Mendívil; Spain's former Secretary of State for the European Union, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo; and partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, Paris, Jacques Buhart.

Convened by the International Bar Association (IBA), more than 100 Spanish and French lawyers from the main law firms of both countries met this week in Madrid to analyse the legal environment for Spanish investments between France and Spain. The meeting, which took place at the Madrid Bar Association (ICAM), is the fifth that the IBA has sponsored between lawyers from the two jurisdictions since 2016.

According to the recent Friendship Treaty signed between the two countries on 19 January 2023, France is Spain's largest trading partner and Spain is France's second largest client. France is the fourth largest investor in Spain with more than 2,000 subsidiaries, employing 300,000 people. Spanish companies are present in France through 1,300 branches and employ more than 55,000 people.

In the opinion of IBA President Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama, a partner at the law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, Spain: ‘The key to promoting business relations between our two countries is to share a common understanding of the rule of law and democratic values. Legal certainty means foreseeing how the rules will be applied, the proper functioning of the judicial system and the recognition of arbitration awards. Lawyers have a fundamental role representing our clients in the development of their international business, but we must not disregard our role as guardians.’

The IBA 5th French Spanish Day was opened by the French Ambassador to Spain, Jean-Michel Casa, the President of the IBA, Almudena Arpón de Mendívil and Teresa Mínguez Díaz, Member of the Governing Board of the Madrid Bar Association (ICAM) and was followed by a fireside chat with Spain’s former Secretary of State for the European Union, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo. He talked about the impact of the Friendship Treaty, signed in January 2023 by French and Spanish Prime Ministers Emmanuel Macron and Pedro Sánchez, respectively.

Pictured (L-R): Teresa Mínguez Díaz; Jean-Michel Casa; Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama; Íñigo Méndez de Vigo; and Jacques Buhart.

Three panels on the legal environment for Spanish investment in France, dispute resolution in mergers and acquisitions aimed at promoting Madrid and Paris as venues for international arbitration, and a review of recent Spanish and French acquisitions, followed. The day was brought to a close by Jacques Buhart, Co-Chair of the conference and a partner at the Paris office of McDermott, Will & Emery. The meeting was attended by guests of honour including Loreto Ordóñez, President of the Spanish-French Association ‘Diálogo’, and Soledad Atienza, Dean of the IE School of Law.

Mr Buhart, Laura Muñoz and Sergio Sánchez Solé, both partners at Garrigues (Barcelona), and Clara Rivero, senior associate at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Madrid), formed the organising committee for the event.

The IBA’s focus will return to France later this year at the IBA Annual Conference 2023, which will be held at the Palais des Congrès in Paris on 29 October – 3 November.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice. The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for fair practice and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

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