He will join Vieira de Almeida, a law firm, founded in 1976, comprising over 440 lawyers and other legal staff
The co-founder of Campos Ferreira Sá Carneiro & Associados (CS Associados), Francisco Sá Carneiro has left the firm he helped establish 12 years ago.
Outlining the reasons for leaving the firm, one of the top Portuguese corporate lawyers, Sá Carneiro, said that he quit the firm over strategy differences.
Sá Carneiro will be joining Vieira de Almeida (VdA).
João Vieira de Almeida, VdA senior partner, described Sá Carneiro as "one of the most renowned transactional lawyers," adding that his arrival "reinforces a core area of the firm which already boasts enormous talent and a unique track record in mergers and acquisitions in Portugal."
In a circular addressed to his clients and contacts, Sá Carneiro said that his "incredible journey" at the firm had come to an end because while "projects evolve and mature" he was "unwilling to participate" in a new strategy. He believed he would see "the firm lose some of the core values and main characteristics, which unquestionably led to its success."
The news of his parting, coinciding with another co-founder, Fernando Campos Ferreira's retirement, had taken Portugal's tight-knit legal market by surprise. The success of the firm, which has highly-rated banking and finance, corporate, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets practices, is, meanwhile, heralding a new cycle and generational transition.
The departure of Sá Carneiro and Ferreira leaves the firm with only one co-founder, Maria Castelos.
Sá Carneiro, meanwhile, underlined the firm's low leverage ratio and egalitarian leadership structure that from the outset eschewed a managing partner. He also pointed out that the firm had grown to 14 partners and more than 50 fee-earners since it was founded.
In a statement, CS Associados said it was "at a natural turning point with a new cycle and generational transition, which Sá Carneiro decided not to follow by choice."
The firm added it was "confident in the talent and cohesion that we have in our firm to continue to grow and respond to our clients' increasingly demanding challenges while remaining true to the principles of close relationships with our clients and of parity: we are a firm of equals, where all partners own the business."
Recently, the firm had added Mafalda Ferreira as a partner from DLA Piper's Portuguese arm, DLA Piper ABBC, to lead the energy and sustainability practices groups and strengthen the firm's public law and projects offerings.
CS Associados was founded in 2009 with corporate, capital markets, finance and tax practices, though with internal promotions and lateral hires it has since added litigation, labour, real estate, public, criminal and regulatory, competition and intellectual property practices to grow into a fuller-service boutique firm.
Sá Carneiro has been practicing law for more than 35 years and specializes in mergers and acquisitions, finance-related transactions and regularly advising banks on large acquisitions of share capital.