APR 2012
Ontier is a Global Firm with a Local Soul

Ontier is a Global Firm with a Local Soul

Adolfo Suárez Illana´s interview. Chairman of Ontier.
In the Legal Sector it rarely happens that a Firm decides to reinvent itself. However, Adolfo Suárez Illana, is determined to try it out.

In the legal sector rarely happens that a firm decides to reinvent itself. Adolfo Suárez Illana, however, is determined to try it out. After 25 years dedicated to the profession and after his incorporation as a responsible Partner in the international arena in 2010 of the firm RHGR (Ramón Hermosilla & Gutiérrez de la Roza), this lawyer, son of the first President of the Spanish democracy, is championing one of the most interesting projects in the sector: the creation of the Firm Ontier, which will integrate offices in 10 countries worldwide.

Will this integration mean the disappearance of the RHGR Brand?

Not at all, no Brand will disappear from the local Firms. We are all extremely well known in our respective markets, so you just have to add Ontier to the local name. In Spain we will be Ontier RHGR.

Will this then mean a complete integration?

Yes, we will integrate completely. Ontier becomes the first global firm with a local soul. We will share from the brand and values to the client selection processes and matters and also the conflicts of interest and billing. Each office will have its turnover that will be consolidated afterwards.

Why is this formula adopted against the mechanism of alliances?

The idea is the response to a problem. When at RHGR we wanted to accompany clients with their internationalization, we realised the difficulties that arose when referring them to a friend firm. So we thought we'd returned to the traditional formula of alliances and that's when Ontier emerged.

How many law firms have joined and how many people made it up?

We are almost 500 people, of which about 30 are partners. We are present in 10 countries: China, Spain, Portugal, UK, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.

How are firms selected?

The selection dates back many years. Although the engine and momentum was born in RHGR, in Madrid, the fact is that the process sought binding legal excellence with the conjunction of certain an almost artisanal understanding of law values. It is not easy for someone who is very good at what he does and solo to cede some sovereignty to be integrated into a larger and distinct group. Our success has been just that. Being able to convince each of them of the goodness of synergies.

How will decisions be distributed at the Firm?

Each office will have to be governed by an independent legal form, with a number of common processes and where flexibility is the common note. I will assume the Presidency. Immediately following will be the Council of each local Managing Partners and from there, it is where it will hang Monitoring Committees of each of the areas we have cited, the conflict of interest, quality monitoring, billing and so on.

What will be the total volume of business of Ontier?

When I get questioned about figures of activity or investment, I always say that the turnover is very difficult to predict because I believe that the sum of local revenues do not reflect the group's turnover, and if we talk of investment is even more complicated because you can not evaluate the investment made by each of the offices for so many years with so much effort and work, that we now dump into a common signature. Having said that, the aggregate volume of all offices would be 60 million.


We have the ambition to grow

Has affected the crisis and the need to find new niche markets to create Ontier?

Totally. Periods of crisis are also times of opportunities. The current economic situation has led many companies to seek an alternative in internationalization. In that process is where we tagged along and which is also an opportunity to find new synergies. Before this what the office of Paraguay did well did not reversed in the London office, however, we were working with both of them and brought the client to both of them too. So we thought it was vital to unite that excellence under one brand and an integrated way to run things.

Will you seek to expand Ontier by incorporating new integrations?

Our ambition is not to grow for the sake of it. We had a hard time establishing ourselves where we are and we want to consolidate it, but of course our clients continue to flock to other places and we have that ambition to grow. For areas, we have an eye in the United States, Africa, Central Europe and India. What will we require? First, legal excellence, also the person will be very important. Being a craftsman of law.

What practices will you highlight within all firms that create Ontier?

We are a Firm that covers virtually all areas of law. Yes, we know that our client is fundamentally the Business. All matters relating to commercial, public law, tendering and procurement, and litigation and international arbitration are the foundation of our Firm.