June 20, 2019
It is with tremendous sadness that we mourn the death of our dear friend and partner, Juan Picón. After a short but brave battle with lymphoma, Juan passed away June 19.
Since joining Latham in early 2018, Juan has left an indelible mark on our firm and all who knew him in a short span of time. He was a person of immense character and courage, and his understated charismatic presence will be missed greatly. Juan was a truly extraordinary colleague, visionary leader, gifted lawyer, and an incredibly selfless and kind human being.
Juan served with distinction as the Office Managing Partner of our Madrid office and as Global Co-Chair of the Latin America Practice. A titan of the legal industry and gifted leader who consistently embraced change and opportunity, Juan was an inspiration to us all. He had extensive experience advising on national and international commercial transactions, especially in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and capital markets. Juan was a driving force in the growth and continued success of Latham’s practice in Spain, where he built the preeminent team in the market. He also played a large part in strengthening our practice in Europe and Latin America. Under Juan’s leadership, Latham has been recognized as a leading business law firm in Latin America by Latin Lawyer as well as a Top 5 International Law Firm in Latin America by Latinvex.
Prior to Latham, Juan was the Global Co-Chairman of DLA Piper. Juan received his degree in law and economics from the ICADE Business School at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in 1987, and an LLM in European Community Law from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1989. Juan built an illustrious career with a wide specialization in numerous industries and has advised on countless landmark corporate transactions in Spain and across Europe and Latin America.
Chair and Managing Partner Rich Trobman says: “We mourn the passing of our extraordinary and dear friend and partner. A giant in so many ways, and an inspiration to all who knew him, we mourn the loss of a truly special individual. He positively impacted the lives of so many, and he will be deeply missed.”
Rich recalls Juan’s uncanny ability to connect with others on the deepest of levels. “Even though Juan had only been with Latham for under two years, it’s as if he had been here for decades, and, as is true with leaders of his extraordinary ability and profound character, he had so much more to contribute. Juan was a man of deep-rooted compassion and inner strength, touching the lives of so many at the firm and throughout the profession. His unassuming leadership style belied his determination, grit, and fierce competitiveness. One could not want for a better partner, colleague and friend. He will be remembered for his boundless energy, generous spirit, and tremendous courage.”
Global Co-Chair of the Latin America Practice Tony Del Pino adds: “Juan was a good friend and an extremely valued colleague. He was a strategic thinker and a dynamic and engaging person who impacted the lives of many people. I will miss him dearly.”
Deeply saddened by the loss of his dear friend, former President of Spain Jose María Aznar, who also serves as a special advisor to Latham & Watkins, remembers Juan as “an extraordinary individual, an extraordinary professional, and an extraordinary friend. I will cherish all of the fond memories and great moments we’ve shared over the years, of which there have been so many. Rest in peace.”
Juan was a true believer in the quintessential value of servant leadership, as he poignantly shared in the firm’s Leadership My Way video series. In his view, leaders “aren’t just the rainmakers. They’re the star makers, creating the opportunity for others to grow instead of focusing on themselves.” With his signature humility and candor, he also shared that “leaders need to take themselves not too seriously; things could evolve in life, they could go up or down, and you should be the same person. You should remain authentic.”
Chief Operating Officer LeeAnn Black saw these exact qualities first-hand: “Juan was an exemplary leader, mentor, and team player; he inspired immense loyalty and spirit. His enthusiasm and passion to develop the next generation of lawyers was palpable, and his desire for others to succeed and achieve their personal and professional dreams is the true measure of this extraordinary man. His legacy is enormous and we are all the better for knowing him. We will greatly miss his big heart and positive attitude.”
Partner Jordi Dominguez follows: “Since the day I met Juan, I could sense he was an inspiring leader. He was a great example for all of us: his core values, his endless optimism, and his general attitude toward the challenges in our lives were an inspiration. He cared for all of us; he wanted us to be happy and encouraged everyone to work together toward a common goal. He made us all feel important, a true mark of his character. We will miss you, Juan. You will always be in our memories. Rest in peace.”
“Juan was ambitious and hardworking,” says partner José María Jiménez-Laiglesia. “He was special in the sense that he had a gift — one which he could surround himself with people of different personalities and outlooks and influence everyone to work together. He loved Latham, and we loved him. We will miss him.”
Practicing what he preached, Juan was regularly recognized not only for his expertise but also for his tremendous collegiality and ability to bring the firm’s resources to bear for clients. Chambers noted that Juan’s clients were “impressed with his ability to mobilize the resources in the firm well” and that “his main strength is that he’s just an exceptional person and gets on with everyone.”
Partner Ignacio Gomez-Sancha, colleague and friend for many years, remembers Juan as a truly remarkable man: “Juan has left an unforgettable mark in the world. He had an astonishing capacity to enrich others’ lives and change them for the better, and I’m humbled to have been one of the many beneficiaries of the pure joy he emanated. Juan had an amazing energy, and anyone within his orbit gained from being in his presence. A giant in the legal profession — and a peerless one at that — the impact Juan has had across industries is doubtlessly unmatched. We will miss him, his affability, and his true passion for people and the law.”
Juan’s unforgettable presence will be felt for years to come, notably by the way he worked with others. Partner Ignacio Pallares says: “I cannot express in words my gratitude to Juan for providing me with assurance, guidance, and space to develop my career. With no doubt, his enthusiasm, ambition, and kindness have inspired us all and will continue to do so in the future. ‘Upwards and onwards’ was his constant motto when he joined our firm, and I’m sure he would smile knowing that it’s now that of the entire office.”
Partner Jose Antonio Sanchez laments the loss of his colleague: “Not only has Juan been a unique leader and true lawyer, but also an incredible friend. The way he has always managed to gain the loyalty and admiration of those around him has been mind-blowing. He always sought to support and make sure that his team members grew into the best they could and took pride in the success of others working with him. Clients and the whole industry loved him, and young lawyers saw him as an example. Sharing all these years with him has been a real privilege. He was one of a kind.”
We extend our deepest condolences to Juan’s family and friends and to the many others across the world who were so close to him. While he may no longer be with us, our many fond memories of Juan will live on.