14 December 2020
May 1985: The opening of the frontier, a turning point for Gibraltar and a liberating upheaval in which our British peninsula became the Mecca for professional transactions. As I delve into the story of how Attias & Levy law firm came to fruition, I am taken down a path of history, humour and personal introspection.
Having met each other in 1975, Abraham and Levi, the founding partners of our local Gibraltar law firm, began their professional careers in London. Having successfully completed their independent degrees in Political Science & Education and International Relations & African Studies, they jointly decided to study a twelve-month diploma in law at City University.
With hard work, perseverance, and comically revising their one thousand file cards for every single case study covering all core subjects of the law while sitting on the London underground tube, “you really are stumbling in the dark the moment you transition from qualification to practice”.
Originating from different legal practices, they decided to build their own law firm and form a strapping union characterized by an ethos of “hard work and good efficient service”. With shrewd intellect, determined perpetuation and a wealth of support from fellow local practitioners, the two young lawyers became notorious for their bravery, tenacity and perseverance in 1985.
With many law firms reaching out and offering work, assistance and support both administratively and also within the wider profession, “Gibraltar became the glamour boy of the Costa del Sol. The business community suddenly saw a certain standard of life that had not been experienced earlier”. With the Doña Lola building complexes being advertised at the time, the opening of the frontier and the influx of international clients generating a financial boom, Abraham and Levi “were ready to take it on. The first few years [they] worked together were the best years. There was so much creativity, and they were exciting times for Gibraltar’s finance sector. With travel and attending international commercial fairs, this opened up a new vista for [them], and there were certain products Gibraltar was offering that made it very attractive to do business. [They] had an expat community right on [their] doorstep. From Sotogrande to Torremolinos, [they] tapped into it, developed [their] connections and that’s how the business started growing. As Gibraltar’s community became more affluent, [they] as a business grew with it”.
From hard work and perseverance, to laughter and humorous anecdotes, Abraham and Levi strived to build up their successful law firm as it stands today. From an intern’s accidental shredding of legal documents and destructive office building floods, to a lack of hope by their very first employee who lasted half a day and saw “no future for the firm”, the pair progressed from summer jobs selling Amar Bakery’s rolls, to diligent studies and finally setting up the business. Gaining the courage to make their hopes and dreams turn into a reality, and with a vibrant fervor of tenacious determinism, our local law firm is a product of enthusiastic endurance.
With time, social modernisation and the new digital era, business development vastly changed throughout the years. According to our partners “the best form of public relations is word of mouth. Understandably, the new generation taps into the world of social media, but it has introduced an uncanny speed by which the respectability of practice has been lost because of accessibility to emails”. From telex to telephones, “doing a good job for someone and having them recommend you is the best way of developing a business”.
Having transitioned from being “jacks of all trades” with a tremendous ability to embellish legal diversity in day to day practice, as it stands today the firm is more departmentalised. Offering a wide range of legal services, its traditional strengths have been in the areas of property, financial services, trusts, private client work, corporate structuring, civil & commercial litigation, conveyancing and shipping.
With a deep-seated interest in every aspect of their practice, beneath “the theatrics, civic glamour and pomp of the law” there lies a stringent sense of humility and hard-working aesthetic at Attias & Levy law firm. Priding themselves on this ethos, their positive sense of sedulous creativity is an inspirational force to be reckoned with.
Written by Tammy Levy