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‘Outstanding’ EU and competition law boutique MLAB Abogados, SLP is highly renowned for its strength in competition litigation. The team has extensive experience in cases relating to cartels, abuse of dominance, and vertical and horizontal agreements, representing major domestic and international clients before the national and European courts of all levels, as well as handling private damages litigation. Advising clients from regulated sectors (including the telecoms, railway, postal and energy sectors) is a particular area of expertise. Managing partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann, who is also qualified in Germany, lead the practice, while Mariarosaria Ganino and Alfonso Rincón are also names to note.
Practice head(s): Rafael Allendesalazar; Helmut Brokelmann
Other key lawyers: Mariarosaria Ganino; Alfonso Rincón
‘Helmut Brokelmann is a preeminent figure. Very professional, responsive and easy to work with.’
‘The team stands out for its very personal and direct treatment of clients and high level of specialisation in competition matters, with a clear perspective and knowledge of the sector. The team is fully available at any time for any questions and is very decisive.’
‘Working with Rafael Allendesalazar and Alfonso Rincón is a joy. They are experts, with extensive experience and good knowledge of key actors in the sector. Their technical ability is of the highest quality.’
Acting for UEFA (alongside Ashurst) in a civil competition claim brought by the European Super League against UEFA and FIFA before the Madrid Commercial Court, which involved a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Acting for ALTICE in an appeal against the judgment of the General Court in Altice Europe N.V. v European Commission and successfully reduced the fine imposed for gun-jumping.
Representing UBER in several appeals against national and regional regulations restricting the provision of private hire vehicle services and in annulling fines imposed by regional and local authorities, as well as representing the client in an unfair competition case brought by Cabify.
What the team is known for
MLAB Abogados is a well-regarded boutique firm with a longstanding expertise advising clients from the Spanish market and abroad on competition law issues. The team demonstrates a particular prowess in appeals against CNMC decisions arising from abuse of dominance cases and cartel investigations. It has additional experience assisting clients with merger clearance mandates.
MLAB Abogados assisted Uber with court appeals related to the annulment of imposed fines.
«The team provides an excellent service and demonstrates ability to coordinate a very complex case.»
«Communication with them has been very easy and fluid.»
«The MLAB Abogados team has demonstrated especially sophisticated knowledge and skills.»
Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho maintains a top position in the market, dedicating his practice to unfair competition claims, CNMC investigations and annulment proceedings.
«He is one of the godfathers of competition law in Spain.»
«He is very experienced, knows the matters and is a strategic thinker who we use for complex issues.»
«He is available when needed and offers clear and concise answers to the questions.»
Helmut Brokelmann focuses his practice on behavioural investigations, including representing clients in appeals against fines and in damages claims. He offers further experience in merger filings.
«He is an excellent team leader and coordinator.»
Roberto Vallina Hoset joined MLAB Abogados in January 2023. He focuses his practice on representing clients before EU and Spanish courts in abuse of dominance and unfair competition cases.
«He is a great specialist and a dedicated worker with brilliant ideas.»
«I always feel perfectly advised and accompanied. He is available to comment on any aspects of the matter.»
Drawing on its ‘deep knowledge of competition law’ as well as its particular expertise in regulated sectors, the eight-strong department at specialist boutique MLAB Abogados, SLP is a popular choice among companies from industries such as transport, energy, post and telecoms. Co-managing partners Rafael Allendesalazar and the ‘experienced, practical and creative’ Helmut Brokelmann head the department, which is well versed in handling cartels, abuse of dominance, mergers and damages claims. 2021 saw the departure of partner Paloma Martinez Lage from the firm. Mariarosaria Ganino and Alfonso Rincón are other names to note in the department.
Practice head(s): Rafael Allendesalazar; Helmut Brokelmann
Other key lawyers: Alfonso Rincón; Mariarosaria Ganino
‘A small but perfectly formed firm with considerable experience and pedigree in EU competition law as well as in Spanish competition law, proficient both in litigation and transactional work’.
‘Helmut Brokelmann – experienced, practical, creative, at home in various different jurisdictions which gives him considerable insight’.
‘We work very well with the MLAB Competition and EU law team. They take a keen interest in knowing the market and how it works in order to give effective advice.’
Provided advice and co-representation of UEFA in a civil competition claim brought by the European Superleague against UEFA and FIFA before a Commercial Court of Madrid, including preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Representing telecoms operator ALTICE in its appeal against the decision of the European Commission of 24.4.2018 that imposed a €124.5m fine for “gun-jumping”.
Representing Disney in an investigation on sector release performance information shared by exhibitors and distributors through a third party.
What the team is known for
MLAB Abogados is a revered boutique firm with a long-standing expertise advising clients from the Spanish market and abroad on competition law issues. The team demonstrates a particular prowess in behavioural matters such as abuse of dominance cases and cartel investigations. It has additional experience assisting clients with unfair competition claims, damage claims and infringement proceedings before the CNMC. MLAB’s expertise further extends to advising clients on general regulatory strategies, as well as administrative procedures related to licensing and public service obligations.
Clients highlight the team’s ability to handle complex and sensitive cases, describing MLAB lawyers as «trustworthy, efficient and collaborative.»
Defended UEFA in a civil competition claim brought by the European Super League.
Helmut Brokelmann focuses his practice on damages claims, infringement cases and merger filings. Clients highlight him for being «extremely knowledgeable and provides grounded, realistic, assertive and objective advice.»
Rafael Allendesalazar Corcho maintains a top position in the market, dedicating his practice to unfair competition claims, investigations and annulment proceedings. He is described by clients as «consistently strong and dependable.»
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.»
Top competition practitioners – MLAB partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are widely considered two of the top competition practitioners in the Spanish market.
The firm acts for Altice before the EU General Court in challenging the €125 million gun-jumping fine imposed by the European Commission in relation to its acquisition of Portugal Telecom. The team continues to advise Printeos on the fallout from the General Court’s annulment of a fine that the commission imposed on the company for participating in the Envelopes cartel. The EU court ruled in 2019 that the European Commission should have paid Printeos interest when returning the annulled fine, but the enforcer has now appealed against the decision to the European Court of Justice.
The firm advised Uber during the Spanish enforcer’s probe into its ride-hailing business, which the CNMC closed without an infringement decision in May 2020, and also represents the company in unfair competition cases brought before administrative and commercial courts. The team is active in several other CNMC investigations, including acting for: Disney in the authority’s ongoing probe into the movie distribution sector; Siemens in an investigation into the railway signalling sector; and nuclear medicine company Curium Spain in infringement proceedings alleging a market-sharing and price-fixing cartel in the radiography equipment market.
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.»