Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

Firm: Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
Managing partner: Manuel Martin
Turnover: €47.5m (£32.4m)
Number of partners: 43
Number of lawyers: 218
Offices: Barcelona, Brussels, Las Palmas, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Valencia, Vigo
Clients: Diageo, Gallagher Group, Union Fenosa, Warner Brothers

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is one of Spain’s largest independent law firms and is one of the first to bring in external business consultants to review its strategy.

Management consultancy Accenture recently completed a review of Gómez-Acebo’s business that will see the firm well into the next decade.

As a result Gómez-Acebo is changing from top to bottom. The firm’s management board has expanded with the addition of IP head Gonzalo de Ulloa y Suelves and public law specialist Juan Alfonso Santamaria Pastor.

The firm is also re-evaluating its career path for associates and has developed a skills profile to help associates analyse and measure their own progress.

Managing partner Manuel Martin is hopeful that this initiative will give associates a greater understanding of their own career paths and make them happier as a result.

It was one of the areas most heavily researched by both the firm and Accenture and is very important for the firm’s future. But, as Martin says, “there are no magic solutions”.

The number of lawyers at the firm has grown dramatically over the last 12 months.

In the summer of 2006 Gómez-Acebo snapped up 12 lawyers from Mullerat’s Madrid office and over the whole year the firm’s numbers swelled by 24 per cent to reach 218.

At the beginning of this year the firm made up four new partners, bringing its partner count to 43.2007 looks like it could be a year of even greater expansion for Gómez-Acebo as the firm turns its attention to lateral hires.

Martin says: “Lateral hires are ongoing at Gómez-Acebo. It’s very difficult, but one of the critical areas for growth is litigation and we’re going to make a big effort in that area.”

Part of Accenture’s plan for the firm’s continued growth involves opening a representative office in London, joining rivals Cuatrecasas and Uría Menéndez in the UK capital.

The firm is trying to win more domestic names on its client list. As Spanish companies look abroad for opportunities, firms such as Gómez-Acebo need to follow them.

Martin says: “We want to concentrate more on a Spanish clientele. At the moment Spanish companies make up around 40 per cent of our client base.”

Although Gómez-Acebo’s 11 per cent revenue growth rate is not exceptional in the buoyant Spanish market, it is an improvement on last year’s increase of 6 per cent.

With the strategic plan in place, Martin has set a minimum target of 15 per cent turnover growth for 2007, which would take the firm well beyond the €50m (£34.1m) mark.