Winner of

European managing partner of the year

João Vieira de Almeida, VdA

One of the most respected managing partners in Europe, Joao Vieira de Almeida has led the firm through a stellar period of growth. In 1996, when he took office, the firm had just six partners. It is now the largest firm in Portugal and over the last decade partner numbers have doubled, profits have grown 150 per cent and the firm is now a recognised power in the Lusophone world. In the past year alone, turnover has increased 15 per cent. However, it is not just a story of statistics, for he has implemented a one-firm vision that has stressed collaboration and collegiality without sacrificing energy and drive. Most notable is his leadership of the firm into the international arena, in particular Africa. The VdA Legal Partners network extends the firm’s reach to 13 jurisdictions, particularly in Africa, and now represents more than 20 per cent of turnover.

 The judges praised Joao Vieira de Almeida’s ‘imagination and determination’ that has created a ‘powerhouse in Portugal and beyond - from small roots into a multi-office, international player with focus and conviction. It’s a thoroughly impressive career and track record of building a distinctive firm sui generis. While in tune with the changing legal business world, this is not a case of copying existing UK/US strategies, but a distinctive strategy for the specific market.’


Highly commended: Casper Herler, Borenius

Casper Herler became managing partner of Borenius in 2016 and has led a significant shift in the firm’s strategy to focus on high-value clients and matters, something that has resulted in a 37 per cent rise in profits. In turn, this necessitated a shift in culture away from the individual towards collaborative working, in which partners were compensated accordingly.


Highly commended: Barry Devereux, McCann Fitzgerald

In the three years since Barry Devereux has been managing partner of McCann Fitzgerald, his influence has been felt throughout the firm, from strategic focus, technological investment and bench strength. The firm’s new technology-led legal services business division boasts a project services offering, a digital services business, which has resulted in the in-house development of three apps, and a flexible people services business. Under Devereux’s leadership, a newly emboldened McCann is embracing workplace agility and investing in technology training, from AI to internal hackathons that engage the associate constituency.



Barry Devereux, McCann FitzGerald                                            

Casper Herler, Borenius                                                                 

Dr. Tobias Pusch, Pusch Wahlig Workplace Law                         

Luís Pais Antunes, PLMJ                                                                 

Tobias Bürgers and Alexander Ritvay, Noerr                              

Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Drzewiecki Tomaszek & Wspólnicy