Former DLA Piper senior partner Juan Picon has died aged 54, his current firm Latham & Watkins confirmed today.
Picon joined US firm Latham & Watkins in 2017 where he was chair of the Madrid office and co-chair of the firm’s Latin America practice.
His move to Latham shocked the legal market, coming just 18 months after he was appointed senior partner of Anglo-American legal giant DLA Piper.
Spanish national Picon was the first non-British senior partner of DLA Piper, succeeding Sir Nigel Knowles.
“We mourn the passing of our extraordinary and dear friend and partner,” said Rich Trobman, chair and managing partner at Latham & Watkins.
“Juan was a gifted lawyer, visionary leader, and incredibly thoughtful person who touched the lives of so many at the firm and throughout the profession. He will be remembered for his generous spirit, boundless energy, selfless leadership, tremendous courage, and inner strength.
“A giant in so many ways, and an inspiration to all who knew him, he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as we mourn the loss of a truly special individual. Our many fond memories of Juan will live on.”
His move to Latham was a rare example of a law firm leader moving to a rival firm part way through their term of office.
At the time, Picon said the move was in part motivated by a desire to spend more time with his family in Madrid.
Andrew Darwin, global co-chair at DLA Piper, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Juan Picon. Juan has been a great lawyer and an extraordinary person who spent a large part of his life at the firm.
“He has been a great figure in the Spanish legal sector and in the business of law. We convey our deepest condolences to his friends and family.”
Picon began his career at Santander in Madrid, before joining Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance as an associate.
Between 1997 and 2006 he was a partner at legacy Squire Sanders & Dempsey, before moving to DLA in 2006.
Picon was one the top corporate lawyers in Spain and was hired by Latham to lead their renewed push into the Iberian market.
He was also a key part of the firm’s Latin American expansion strategy and brought on board former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to help spearhead the firm’s growth in the region.