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Competition boutique MLAB Abogados fields a ‘strong team with an international reputation’. Its specialist knowledge in regulated sectors makes it a popular choice for companies in the energy, transport, post and telecoms industries, many of which occupy leading positions in the Spanish market. The team specialises in anti-competitive conduct matters, often representing clients before the CNMC or at the appeals stage. 2020 saw the retirement of founding partner Santiago Martínez Lage to dedicate himself to arbitration; the team continues to be led by co-managing partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann.
Practice head(s): Rafael Allendesalazar; Helmut Brokelmann
Other key lawyers: Mariarosaria Ganino; Alfonso Rincón
‘Competition law focused practice, strong team with international reputations and huge experience in Spanish and European matters.’
‘Helmut Brokelmann: experienced, practical with a deep knowledge of and liking for the law; robust in client’s interest but good team player.’
‘They know how to listen and anticipate the needs of the company. They show great interest in knowing in depth the activity of the company, which is key to obtaining high-impact answers in the field of Competition and EU Law. ‘
Representing telecoms operator ALTICE in its appeal against the decision of the European Commission that imposed a €124.5m fine for gun-jumping.
Representing PRINTEOS in 14 follow-on damages claims brought by customers after the Spanish competition authority’s 2013 envelopes cartel decision. Eight cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Representing Musical and Authors Collecting Society SGAE in various proceedings before the CNMC and the administrative courts.
What the team is known for
Revered boutique firm with a longstanding expertise advising clients from the Spanish market and abroad on competition law issues. Team benefits from a particular prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance cases and cartel investigations. Assists with unfair competition claims, damage claims and infringement proceedings before the CNMC. Expertise further extends to advising clients on general regulatory strategies, as well as administrative procedures related to licensing and public service obligations.
«I liked their way of approaching and handling issues as well as their honesty and clarity when proposing actions,»a satisfied client enthuses.
Others are quick to point out the firm’s «highly specialised services,» further affirming: «Our overall impression is highly positive.»
Represented Altice in an application for an annulment before the EU General Court regarding the decision made by the European Commission to fine the client EUR124.5 million for gun-jumping.
Helmut Brokelmann for being a «very good lawyer, who is totally focused on customer satisfaction.» He focuses his practice on damages claims, infringement cases and merger filings.
Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho remains a towering figure in the market, dedicating his practice to unfair competition claims, investigations and annulment proceedings. He is depicted by clients as «empathic, honest and clear, with high ethical values.»
Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann have been identified again as being amongst the Iberia’s leading experts in Competition law by Who’s Who Legal’s research:
«Rafael Allendesalazar is “very well-reputed” among peers who highlight his “experienced and methodical approach” to complex domestic and cross-border competition disputes».
«Helmut Brokelmann possesses “considerable knowledge of European, Spanish and English competition law”. Sources note he is “rigorous in his defence of clients’ interests” and “a real team player with an impressive grasp of the strategy at hand”.Download document
Helmut Brokelmann has been recognized again in 2021 as one of WWL Thought Leaders of Competition in Spain.
WWL Thought Leaders – Competition brings together the insight, expertise and wisdom of some of the world’s foremost competition lawyers and economists in a single book. It features Q&As with dozens of practitioners with hundreds of years of combined experience in competition between them. The featured individuals obtained the largest number of nominations from peers, corporate counsel and other market sources in our most recent research cycle.
Through interviews with the practitioners themselves, Thought Leaders – Competition aims to shine a light on what puts these practitioners at the apogee of competition law. They are worthy of special mention owing not only to their vast expertise and experience advising on some of the world’s most significant and cutting-edge legal matters, but also their ability to innovate, inspire, and go above and beyond to deliver for their clients.Download document
ELITE – MLAB partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are widely considered two of the top competition practitioners in the Spanish market. The firm is representing Altice in its bid to annul the €125 million fine that the European Commission imposed on the telecommunications company for gun jumping in its acquisition of Portugal Telecom. The EU enforcer said Altice exercised «decisive influence» over Portugal Telecom before the commission conditionally cleared the deal. The firm is defending Michelin subsidiary Euromaster against an unfair competition and antitrust claim brought by a franchisee, and acting for Santillana in the CNMC´s Textbooks investigation. It continues to advise Printeos after persuading the General Court to annul a fine imposed on the company for participation in the Envelopes cartel. After arguing successfully that the European Commission should have paid Printeos interest when returning an annulled fine, the firm is now appealing against the re-imposition of the annulled fine.
The firm is representing Siemens before the Spanish enforcer in an ongoing investigation into railway signalling, and is providing broad competition advice to Uber as well as representing the company in unfair competition cases brought before administrative and commercial courts. Allendesalazar, Brokelmann and their team are also advising on major mergers in Spain, such as an online advertising joint venture by publishers Prisa Noticias, Vocento and Grupo Godó that received Phase I clearance in May 2019.Download document
Boutique firm Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) specialises in EU and competition law, with particular expertise in the regulated sectors. The firm also has notable experience in litigation before the EU and national courts. Founder and president of the firm Santiago Martínez Lage is known for advising on free movement of goods, member state liability and legal privilege. He co-leads the practice with Rafael Allendesalazar, who represents companies, as well as public and private bodies, in front of the competition authorities, and Helmut Brokelmann, who specialises in merger filings, cartels and other infringement proceedings.
Practice head(s):Santiago Martínez Lage; Rafael Allendesalazar; Helmut Brokelmann
‘They dig deep into the details of the business with respect to competition law’
‘They have practical criteria in terms of deciding what is relevant or not, what information helps and what can be counterproductive, and what goes on in the field of competition law that is relevant in each situation’
‘Helmut Brokelman is very knowledgeable, sharp in his analysis, has very good argumentative capabilities in front of the authorities and the court, and is trusted to defend his clients’ best interests’
Rafael Allendesalazar, Helmut Brokelmann and Santiago Martínez Lage have been identified as being amongst the world’s leading experts in Competition law by Global Competition Review and Who’s Who Legal’s independent research amidst clients and peers.Download document
Helmut Brokelmann has been recognized as one of WWL Thought Leaders of Competition in Spain.
WWL Thought Leaders: Competition brings together the insight, expertise and wisdom of some of the world’s foremost competition lawyers and economists in a single book. It features Q&As with dozens of practitioners with hundreds of years of combined experience in competition between them. The featured individuals obtained the largest number of nominations from peers, corporate counsel and other market sources in our most recent research cycle.Download document
El directorio Best Lawyer reconoce nuestro liderazgo en España en el área de Competencia, eligiéndonos como «Law firm of the year 2020» en la práctica de Competition and Antitrust Law.
Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) is a boutique firm specialising in private litigation linked to antitrust and unfair competition cases. The firm ‘digs deep into the details of the business in respect to competition law’. The team is led by founding partners Santiago Martínez Lage and Rafael Allendesalazar; and the ‘knowledgeable and trusted’ Helmut Brokelmann, who is ‘sharp in his analysis’. Also notable is Paloma Martinez Lage, who has ‘a deep understanding of each case’. The practice is representing Renfe in the appeal against a fine imposed by the Spanish competition authority for allegedly colluding with Deutsche Bahn, as well as acting for Orange Spain in its appeal against the €29.5m fine imposed by the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, for abuse of a collective dominant position with Telefonica and Vodafone.
What the team is known for
In-demand boutique that advises on all aspects of Spanish and EU competition law, with recognised prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance cases or cartel investigations. Assists with third-party complaints to competition authorities and defends major corporate clients in high-value follow-on litigation mandates. Also assists with merger control notifications and distribution issues. Experienced in representing clients from a range of sectors, with an enviable client roster featuring prominent names from the publishing, automotive and retail industries.
Clients praise the lawyer for being «very knowledgeable about competition matters both in terms of administrative processes and legal proceedings, and they develop a close relationship with the client.»
The team is hailed for its «availability, thorough study of issues, personal immediacy and quality of work.»
Represented Inditex in an EC investigation initiated by the Task Force Digital Single Market of DG COMP.
The «very straightforward, business-oriented and very knowledgeable» Helmut Brokelmann advises important clients from the TMT, life sciences and energy sectors on a wide array of competition issues. He demonstrated his skills in assistance to Laudamotion with a merger clearance procedure before the CNMC relating to its acquisition of the assets of Niki. His areas of expertise extend to follow-on damages claims and appeal proceedings, before both Spanish and European authorities. Sources further underline his «extensive knowledge» of competition law.
The «young and dynamic» Paloma Martínez Lage is endorsed for her expertise and approach to clients, who hail from the telecoms, aviation and consumer goods sectors. She plays a key role in abuse of dominant position cases, pricing investigations and transactional operations.
The «fantastic» Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho draws praise for his technical expertise and is highly respected in the market. He is active in matters relating to the consumer goods, e-commerce and financial services sectors, including public and private entities, and has expertise representing them at the Supreme Court and the ECJ. His practice includes appealing against CNMC decisions and assisting with investigations. He demonstrated his prowess by successfully representing Procter & Gamble before the CNMC in a cartel investigation concerning the adult incontinence product market.
Santiago Martínez Lage is considered to be «the pioneer practitioner of antitrust law in Spain.» His experience includes representing clients before the EC and the Spanish authorities in various competition matters. He has further expertise in arbitration proceedings.
Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are widely reckoned to be some of the best practitioners on the Spanish market. Paloma Martínez-Lage and Mariarosaria Ganino were promoted to partner in May 2018, creating a team of five partners, one counsel and five associates.
The firm was recently retained by the Correos as its competition law counsel for the next year and to represent the Spanish mail post company in its appeals against regulatory decisions setting the framework for access to the public postal network. Brokelmann and Martínez-Lage in 2016 successfully persuading the General Court to overturn the fines Printeos received for its role in the envelope cartel. The EU court ruled that the European Commission had failed to properly explain why Printeos received a less favourable fine reduction than the other settling cartelists. The Commission reissued the fine in 2017, claiming to have fixed the procedural error. Now, there is a pending appeal against the Commission’s refusal to pay interest to Printeos for the annulled part.
In other litigation, Brokelmann and Ganino represented Renfe during its appeal against the CNMC’s railway cartel decision. The team also represents Orange Spain in its appeal against the €29.5 million fine imposed by the CNMC in an abuse of dominance decision. The Audiencia Nacional annulled the authority’s decision in 2017, and the appeal is currently pending before the Supreme Court.Download document
Antitrust and competition boutique Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) stands out for its ‘technical knowledge and complete understanding of clients’ concerns, always looking at all potential alternatives’. Highlights included representing Renfe in appealing the highest individual fine handed out by the Spanish competition authority, which was imposed for the alleged abuse of a dominant position. Name partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are industry-leading experts, who are recommended for their ‘full availability and commitment’.
What the team is known for In-demand boutique that advises on all aspects of Spanish and EU competition law, with recognised prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance cases or cartel investigations. Assists with third-party complaints to competition authorities and defends major corporate clients in high-value follow-on litigation mandates. Also assists with merger control notifications. Experienced in representing clients from a range of sectors, with an enviable client roster featuring prominent names from the sports, media, automotive and pharmaceutical industries.
Strengths Clients describe the lawyers as «extremely knowledgeable and very specialised,» adding: «Their commitment and quality of work is always outstanding.»
«They have a complete understanding of my concerns and always explore all the potential alternatives,» notes another interviewee.
Work highlights Acted for RENFE in its High Court appeal against the EUR65 million fine imposed by the CNMC for alleged abuse of its dominant position and collusion with Deutsche Bahn.
Represented Printeos in its appeal to the EU General Court seeking a total annulment of the fine imposed by the EC on participants in the envelopes cartel. The firm also advised on subsequent proceedings against the EC aiming to recover interest on the amount returned to Printeos.
Santiago Martínez Lage is a hugely respected figure in the Spanish market owing to his long-standing experience in significant mandates. Sources often highlight his active presence from the earliest stages of the development of competition law in Spain.
Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho is praised for his «technical knowledge, expertise and versatility,» with one interviewee adding: «He is definitely one of the most talented competition lawyers in Spain.» He regularly defends clients in cartel investigations carried out by Spanish competition authorities and handles appeal proceedings. He defended Inditex in a sector inquiry carried out by the EC’s task force for the digital single market.
Helmut Brokelmann acts on both administrative proceedings and litigation relating to national and European competition law. Market commentators note his particular activity in significant follow-on damages claims brought by third parties. He is well respected for his technical expertise, with one source adding: «He has a very practical sense of how to proceed in dealing with national and European competition authorities in different jurisdictions.»
Paloma Martínez Lage has broad expertise in cartel investigations, merger control and state aid. Clients appreciate that she is «dedicated, hard-working and pays a lot of attention to detail.»
EU and antitrust work takes up around 90% of MARTÍNEZ LAGE ALLENDESALAZAR & BROKELMANN’s time, says partner Rafael Allendesalazar, of which roughly 80% is behavioural. The boutique was formerly a branch of antitrust heavyweight Howrey from 2008 until its dissolution in 2011 – a testament to the firm’s top reputation in competition matters in Spain and the EU more generally. Observers say managing partner Santiago Martínez Lage, who founded the firm in 1985, has become less visible in recent years, but Allendesalazar and partner Helmut Brokelmann are widely reckoned to be some of the best practitioners on the Spanish market. Telecoms appears to be a particular strength.
Brokelmann and senior associate Paloma Martínez-Lage secured a victory for Printeos in 2016, successfully persuading the General Court to overturn the DG Comp fines the company received for its role in the envelopes cartel. The EU court ruled that the enforcer had failed to properly explain why Printeos received a less favourable fine reduction than the other settling cartelists; DG Comp reissued the Printeos fine in 2017, claiming to have fixed the procedural error. In July 2017, the CNMC’s board rejected its investigators’ claims that the firm’s client Praxair had entered an illegal market-sharing agreement in the medical gases market.
In mergers, Brokelmann and Martínez represented IBA Molecular before the CNMC as the nuclear medicine company bought rival ITP. The enforcer cleared the deal unconditionally in Phase I despite the merged company’s having a market share of more than 80% in radiopharmaceuticals. And in court work, Brokelmann and senior associate Mariarosaria Ganino represented Renfe during its appeal against the CNMC’s railway cartel decision; the firm also acts for several clients in Spanish follow-on claims.Download document
What the team is known for In-demand boutique that advises on the gamut of Spanish and EU competition law, with recognised prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance cases or cartel investigations. Increasingly active in merger control filings. Experienced in representing clients from a range of sectors, with an enviable client roster featuring prominent names from the sports, media, automotive and pharmaceuticals industries. It has recently expanded its client list with new additions 13 TV and ING.
Strengths Interviewees value the firm’s thorough way of helping clients. One source states: «The team found the right arguments to go beyond the best case scenario,» while another adds: «The lawyers think outside of the box and this is extremely appreciated.»
The team is commended for its quick response in urgent situations. «They come and advise us immediately when we need them to,» says one client.
Work highlights Assisted DTS with its appeal at the ECJ against a state aid decision relating to RTVE.
Represented RENFE in infringement proceedings after a complaint was lodged at the CNMC by another railway operator.
Significant clients Uber, Redexis, PRISA, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners.
Founding partner Santiago Martínez Lage has a wealth of experience in competition law. His impressive reputation in the market leads to sources describing him as «the father of antitrust law in Spain.» He remains active in arbitration proceedings.
Interviewees thoroughly appreciate that Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho «is concerned about matters beyond the investigation – he gets to know the client really well and recommends good practices.» Multiple sources pick up on his «above standard» abilities in the field, with compliments including recognition of his deft negotiation skills and lengthy experience. His recent practice has included assisting high-profile clients with CNMC investigations, regulatory work and merger filings.
German-qualified lawyer Helmut Brokelmann is unanimously recognised as having abundant experience in high-profile behavioural cases. Sources appreciate the way he communicates with the authorities and describe him as «a hard-working, rigorous and excellent lawyer,» with one source adding that he is «very well organised.»
«Fantastic lawyer» Paloma Martínez Lage is recognised for her experience in Brussels and hard-working approach. She has played a key part in some of the firm’s recent mandates, such as assisting clients with appeals against CNMC decisions and with cartel investigations.
Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) is a well-established Spanish antitrust and competition boutique, and has a ‘good image in front of Spanish judges’. The team is currently advising Uber on contentious and non-contentious matters at both domestic and EU levels. Praised for their ‘empathy’ and ‘deep knowledge of antitrust law’, partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are ‘reliable and down-to-earth’.
EU and antitrust work takes up around 90% of MARTINEZ LAGE ALLENDESALAZAR & BROKELMANN‘s time, says partner Rafael Allendesalazar, of which roughly 80% is behavioural. The boutique was formerly a branch of antitrust heavyweight Howrey from 2008 until its dissolution in 2011 -a testament to the firm’s top reputation in competition matters in Spain and the EU more generally. Working with Allendesalazar are partners Helmut Brokelmann and managing partner Santiago Martínez Lage, who founded the firm in 1985; observers say he has become less visible in recent years – but Allendesalazar and Brokelmann are widely reckoned to be some of the best practitioners on the Spanish market. Telecoms appears to be a particular strength.
The firm representad Riberebro during DG Comp’s mushroom cartel investigation; two years after the enforcer imposed more than €32 million in fines on rivals Bonduelle and Prochamp, it ordered Riberebro – which had refused to settle – to pay €5.2 million for price-fixing and market allocation across Europe between 2010 and 2012. Allendesalazar and Alfonso Rincón representad Urban Science during the CNMC’s blockbuster car sales cartel; the company was ordered to pay a €70,000 fine for its role in facilitating the infringement. Brokelmann acted for DTS, which the CNMC ordered to pay €5 million Spanish fine alongside owner Telefónica over a concertad practice linked to televised football rights.
Despite the firm’s behavioural focus, it still finds itself involved in some meaty mergers. It represented frequent client Orange during its acquisition of web and cable provider Jazztel, acting together with a team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. DG Comp cleared the four-to-three deal subject to the divestment of a Jazztel-operated fibre-optic network after an in-depth review, two weeks before its legal deadline, despite concerns the deal would boost prices for internet access for Spanish consumers. In a separate Orange merger-related case, Allendesalazar has representad it during its appeal against the CNMC’s decision to allow Telefónica to acquire Canal+.
What the team is known for In-demand boutique that advises on the gamut of Spanish and EU competition law, with particular prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance and cartels. Increasingly active in merger control filings, as well as private enforcement litigation. Experienced in representing clients from the media, sports, telecommunications, automotive and pharmaceutical sectors.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
«The team is fantastic and keeps that reputation on the market.»
«The team has good knowledge of the law and of the practices. Lawyers are very solid intellectually and they are very serious and accountable in their approach.»
Work highlights Assisted Orange and Jazztel with the notification of Orange’s acquisition of Jazztel to the European Commission.
Represented Uber before the Spanish administrative authorities as well as before the European Court of Justice.
Founder and managing partner Santiago Martínez Lage has extensive experience representing clients before the European Commission and the Spanish and EU competition courts. He is also known for his high-profile academic activity.
Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho is an experienced litigator specialising in EU and Spanish law. He has great experience of investigations and merger control matters. Clients refer to him as a «top lawyer in the market.» He successfully assisted SGAE with a CNMC-initiated investigation in relation to TV rights tariffs.
Helmut Brokelmann advises on competition litigation and administrative proceedings such as infringement proceedings and cartels. In one source’s opinion «He is very solid and knowledgeable about everything in competition law. He is hard-working, very direct and rigorous with clients.» He advised RENFE on the infringement claim initiated by the competition authority against the company.
Paloma Martínez Lage‘s practice covers investigation and leniency requests, abuse of dominant position, merger filings and state aid. Clients say: «She is a very good lawyer. She has a very good knowledge, is hard-working, responsive and puts herself in clients’ shoes.»
Significant clients Printeos, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, Praxair, Procter & Gamble, PRISA.