On 1 June, LBO Abogados celebrated its first decade. Although not everything has been a “bed of roses”, the result today is more than satisfactory. However, far from stopping there, its partner and founder, Víctor López, recognises that he wants more, although not at the cost of everything else. The firm’s identity and its freedom are untouchable values. Legal Dealmaker wanted to know the story of these lawyer-entrepreneurs, Víctor López, Daniel Ramos and Gabriel Ramos who, one day, decided to bet on themselves and on what they knew best.
There are more and more cases of young lawyers who, tired of waiting for a promotion that never comes, endless working days and not an always humanised treatment, give up the pedigree of a particular law firm and decide to embark on their path as lawyers and entrepreneurs. A path that is not free of risks, since, in addition to the tasks of the legal profession, the new entrepreneurs have to add a wide range of functions that they now have to fulfil. In addition, they have to take on the numerous competitors and the hardness of the growth/consolidation process, which – unfortunately – not all of them survive.
But there are also, fortunately, many others who do. Having clear ideas and values helps a lot. One of these law firms is LBO Abogados, which on 1 June celebrated its first ten years and will undoubtedly celebrate many more decades. It will do so in part thanks to the tenacity and quality of the work they offer, but also thanks to having been clear – at a given moment – that they, and what they do best, we’re the best possible bet.
Legal Dealmaker: You are ten years old. To some, it may not seem like much, but others who are starting out on the same path you are on, and who read this interview, will be in awe.
Víctor López: We were born on 1 June 2012, so we turned ten years old on 1 June; three weeks ago. I founded LBO Abogados when I was 22 years old with hardly any experience, and Daniel joined two years later. I bought back the shares from my two former founding partners because my vision of the business was different (neither better nor worse) than theirs. I wanted to focus on companies with a technological profile with the intention of offering a different legal service like the one we provide to our clients today.
LD: And, at least in this first decade, you have succeeded. But we imagine that there have also been moments of wanting to throw in the towel… or almost doing it.
VL: The path, especially at the beginning, was very complex because we were obviously starting from scratch. We started by advising neighbourhood associations and companies at zero-cost so that they could “try out” our services. One of them was CoverManager, which we still advise today on Data Protection and Taxation. We always use that company as an example because it is the paradigm of success after its recent valuation at €150 million; when that happens, it means that you have done a very good job.
Throughout these ten years, we have achieved some important and much-talked-about milestones, but our greatest success has been not to fall when we were dealt a bad hand. We have made mistakes, and far from falling or stagnating, we have strived to continue taking steps in what we believe to be the right direction.
LD: Nowadays, Marketing is something unavoidable, and many of those who read us will wonder what means you have used to grow and, above all, to keep the same level.
VL: Well, above all, and what we consider most important, is that we have grown organically through word of mouth (largely digital). We have clients inside and outside the country who we have advised – and in fact, we keep advising – and who we have never seen physically. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of our business and the relationship with clients has become naturalised through technological means.
“This sustained growth has meant that we end up selecting who we work with. This is not an arrogant statement but is born out of our own self-imposed need to offer an excellent and highly personalised service”Víctor López
This sustained growth has meant that we end up selecting who we work with. This is not an arrogant statement but is born out of our own self-imposed need to offer an excellent and highly personalised service. The clients in our portfolio are very demanding in terms of time and the need for concrete and accurate answers. We have understood that, with an exorbitant portfolio of clients, it is not possible to provide excellent service and when that happens, the level is lowered, and for us that is unforgivable.
LD: Having international clients comes with the cost of sacrificing other things, like, for example, time availability. Doesn´t it?
VL: We are always available. We don’t practice digital disconnection even though we have a lot of freedom within the firm to organise our timing and our agenda, but if a client needs us available on a Sunday, we are there. And if they need us to travel, we travel. Our client knows that he/she has a partner in us rather than a lawyer. In fact, we have invested through our investment vehicle in some clients such as Spathios or Woonivers, and we will continue to do so in the future.
LD: We mentioned at the beginning that there are many firms out there and that standing out in the midst of so much competition must not have been easy. What do you consider yourselves leaders in or what have you brought to the market that sets you apart?
VL: We see ourselves as a leader in offering a 360° service through our flagship All-in-One product, whereby the entrepreneur can forget about everything and focus on growing their balance sheet.
We are really good on the Tax side with Daniel Ramos at the helm, and we have a superb Accounting and Labour management team. From a Litigation point of view, our partner Gabriel is outstanding and we are very proud of his rate of success. In Data Protection we have also grown a lot and we are DPO for more than 25 public and private commercial entities.
“We believe that this century lawyers must be close, agile and must adapt completely to the real needs of their clients; and never the other way around. We believe in honest, healthy and committed law practice”Víctor López
Our idea of advice is reflected in the hashtag we use in the different publications on our social media profiles: #AbogadosSigloXXI. We believe that in this century lawyers must be close, agile and must adapt completely to the real needs of their clients; and never the other way around. We believe in honest, healthy and committed law practice, and this conviction has enabled us to advise hundreds of companies of all sizes on the development of their professional activity over the last ten years.
The guarantee of quality legal service is embodied in each Professional Services Proposal we sign, and our proven experience backs us up and allows us to continue developing a disruptive and top-quality consultancy model.
We defend an ALSP (Alternative Legal Services Providers) methodology as an operator in the legal sector that provides legal services from a different position to the traditional one. Attentive to the evolution of the digital economy and the new needs of the market, we are committed to a more agile methodology, a closer relationship with the client and the intensive use of technologies that facilitate the work. All this allows us to make the cost structure more flexible, offering a more technical and streamlined service, reducing the fees and expenses that the client must face and budgeting in advance, and offering closed and affordable prices.
LD: All things considered, it’s time to ask how the future looks. Are you considering merging or integrating with other firms in order to grow?
VL: We have discussed the possibility of a merger with some firms in the past, but it is something that we currently consider a pipe dream due to a lack of understanding and vision of what we believe the legal profession of the future should be.
In terms of recruitment, we do not plan to grow because we have found professionals who have adapted to our philosophy and to whom we turn when necessary for specific projects in the commercial collaboration formula. This allows us to have a very efficient cost structure that focuses on the elements that really add value to the client, using technology and processes.
Our main objective is to be the main partner for any startup, regardless of its stage, whether it is in the early stages, growth or scale-ups. Our competitive advantage in relation to national start-up boutiques and traditional large firms is unbeatable, with the traditional firm’s top-level lawyer specialities in each area, but with greater agility, at a much lower cost and with a fixed price with no unpleasant surprises.
LD: Well, but that does not mean that you do not continue to evolve.
VL: Not really. For us, updating and improving our training and knowledge is a main asset and a priority, which must be a constant part of our professional career. At the firm, we continue to train in crypto-assets and their legal and tax treatment, among other scenarios, because we consider it key for the future. For example, I have just finished a postgraduate course in Blockchain Technologies at the UPF. In addition, both Gabriel and I are taking our PhDs at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide.
“A new avenue of activity and advice that has opened up for us in recent years is legal mentoring, and so we have made our first official foray into La Lonja Tech with the help of Telefónica”Víctor López
On the other hand, a new avenue of activity and advice that has opened up for us this year is legal mentoring, and so we have made our first official foray into La Lonja Tech with the help of Telefónica. This section is led by Daniel who, like the rest of us, is in love with startups and with providing advice from the earliest stage. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that Daniel is part of several Boards of Directors such as Easyleapp, a company we admire for the courage of its proposal and its tenacity.
LD: Although we haven’t talked about turnover, we understand that the balance sheet is more than positive.
VL: We can say that going from advising neighbourhood communities to NASDAQ companies such as Kahoot! is quite a good result for the first ten years of the firm’s life, but we want more. Of course, without losing our identity or our freedom, we are very clear about that, and we will make any required sacrifice that needs to be done, such as rejecting interesting merger proposals in the short and medium-term.
“We see ourselves as a leader in offering a 360° service through our flagship All-in-One product, whereby the entrepreneur can forget about everything and focus on growing their balance sheet”Víctor López
LBO Abogados is a law firm created in 2012, with offices in Seville, Madrid and Tallinn, whose premises are immediacy, agility and full availability. The firm offers a highest quality innovative legal service, of a preventive nature and based on honesty and the team´s utmost rigour and professional qualification. Born in the midst of the digital era, this is a plus when it comes to advising the firm’s clients. Its professionals always strive to be at the forefront in terms of training and innovative legal solutions. The team´s background and qualifications, together with the agile culture that is part of the firm’s DNA, make it effective in all types of situations and in record time.
Practice areas: Corporate, Commercial & Venture Capital, New Technologies, Data Protection and Cybersecurity, Banking Law, International Law, Tax, Labour, Litigation, Family and Inheritance, Civil and Professional Liability and Public Sector. “All-in-one” service: Coverage of all Legal, Tax, Labour and Accounting matters so that the company can devote its time to developing its corporate purpose with maximum guarantees. A tailor-made service pack for the company.
Víctor is the founder of LBO Abogados and a specialist in New Technologies Law and Private International Law. After attending schools in London and Edinburgh, he trained at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, where he took two Master´s degrees: in New Technologies Law and in Private Property Law in the Global Market. He is currently a PhD student at the same University, with Professor Rodríguez Benot, and has recently completed a postgraduate course in Blockchain at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.
Daniel is an expert in Tax, Fiscal and Banking Law. After a long career as an external advisor to entities such as Banco Popular and his time at Deloitte, he joined LBO Abogados to provide highly qualified and best preventive solutions in the field to companies and individuals.
Gabriel is an expert in Litigation and courts, with more than fifteen years of experience. He is a specialist in Company and Transport law. He is taking his DEA PhD in Commercial Law at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville. He holds a Master’s degree in Corporate Legal Consultancy from IEJE Cajasol Seville, as well as a Master’s degree in Transport Law from Universidad Jaume I, Castellón, and a Master’s degree in Legal Practice, from ICIDE, Seville.