Member Spotlight – Why boutique is best – Daniel Jimenez Garcia values the personal approach

Daniel Jimenez

Founder and Head of Litigation and Arbitration Department, SLJ Abogados

For Daniel Jimenez Garcia, the ideal law firm is a small boutique with a large reach.

After working for years at Ashurst – the international legal behemoth – Daniel was ready for a radical change. He wanted his own small firm but with an international presence to draw in big clients.

As a specialist in complex litigation law, Daniel cut his teeth at Ashurst for five years at the firm’s Madrid office. He admits the experience was invaluable.

I first started getting involved with criminal law at Ashurst and it seemed like a perfect fit when I set up SLJ

“It was a very good place to work,” Daniel says. “If you’re going to work for a big law firm then Ashurst is a good one to join – I learned a lot while I was there.”

Nevertheless, after a few years Daniel was looking for something different, away from a large firm with its corporate structure and internal politics. Furthermore, as litigation was not a core practice at Ashurst Daniel felt he needed to work somewhere that was more specialised. After giving it some thought he decided to set up his own firm, SLJ, a law firm specialising in litigation. “

I started my own firm in 2014,” Daniel says. “I wanted to keep it small and after seven years we still only have six lawyers in total. We carry out the same kind of work that I did when I was at Ashurst – with very similar clients.”

Those clients include big funds and large multinational corporations. Daniel deliberately aimed to narrow the focus down to litigation and criminal work, while maintaining an international client base of big companies: “For instance, we do all the work for an international private in Spain. All our activity – litigation and criminal law – is based around commercial issues. I first started getting involved with criminal law at Ashurst and it seemed like a perfect fit when I set up SLJ.”

Consequently, about 50% of Daniel’s work deals with criminal cases, although he stresses this is not so different from commercial litigation: “It’s very similar work because the commercial markets we’re in are very similar. The only difference is that some have committed crimes in the corporate space, but the parties involved are pretty much the same.”

“It’s probably worth noting that I’ve been doing criminal law since I started as a lawyer. Litigation and criminal work are very similar for me. And that makes us very different from many other boutique firms. Usually, they’re either criminal, or civil and commercial, but not both.”

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