2013 financials indicate the north-south divide remains

As Europe begins, slowly, to emerge from recession – with the latest statistics putting EU GDP growth at 0.4 per cent for the last three months of 2013 – the first turnover figures from Continental European firms are also coming out.

It’s early days yet, with most firms still to report, but the signs are that things have picked up a little. Nevertheless, the marked divide in growth between northern Europe and southern Europe has not gone away.

Germany’s Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, always quick off the mark with its results, announced a 9.3 per cent rise in turnover last week. The rise sees the firm break through the €100m barrier for the first time with turnover reaching €107.6m.

While Heuking has, admittedly, been hiring extensively managing partner Andreas Urban pointed out that revenue per lawyer is also rising. The firm will continue to focus on its core areas – like M&A – and further recruitment is on the cards.

In contrast, the picture from Spain is less rosy. After Garrigues reported a 1.7 per cent drop last year, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo has chimed in with a 0.9 per cent drop. It’s the third year the firm has announced a drop in turnover, although managing partner Manuel Martin is putting a positive spin on the results.

Martin says that the firm is stabilising, and points to the significant work it has done to restructure. Costs are down and Gómez-Acebo has got better at collecting bills, setting it up for a positive future.

Both Martin and his firm are on the shortlist for tonight’s The Lawyer European Awards, which will be presented in London at a ceremony attended by 250 lawyers from across Europe. Check back on TheLawyer.com tomorrow morning for a full list of winners.

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