Spain’s Gómez-Acebo reports third year of declining revenue

Spanish firm Gomez-Acebo & Pombo has reported a third successive year of falling revenue, but has almost halted the rate of decline, posting a turnover drop of just 0.9 per cent last year.

Turnover fell from €61.9m in 2012 to €60.7m last year (7 February 2013). The results follow a 1.4 per cent drop between 2011 and 2012, and a 7.7 per cent drop between 2010 and 2011 (17 February 2012).

Despite the figures, managing partner Manuel Martin said the year had been a solid one for the firm, adding that fee collection had improved by 17 per cent and the average value of new cases had risen by 7 per cent. The average hourly fee had also increased, Martin said.

“This is due largely to the increase in the wide experience, importance and prestige of mandates and the clients we serve,” Martin said, adding that Gómez-Acebo was also “avoiding commodity work”.

The firm’s corporate and banking and capital markets teams both saw an increase in revenues, of 14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Martin added that 2013 was “not a bad year” for real estate, litigation and white collar crime.

He said the firm’s representative offices in London and New York had both had strong years. Gómez-Acebo launched in New York in late 2012 (26 July 2012) and Martin said the office had “begun to bear fruit” already.

Headcount at Gómez-Acebo has fallen considerably over the past few years. Between 2012 and 2013 fee-earner numbers fell by 3 per cent, from 285 to 276, while qualified lawyer numbers dropped from 270 in 2012 to 244 last year.

The firm has nevertheless also been hiring, adding a number of lawyers in Madrid in particular, and promoting five partners last year.

The news follows a slip in turnover at Europe and Spain’s biggest firm, Garrigues, last year. Garrigues, which has a 31 August year-end, said its revenues had dropped by 1.7 per cent between 2011/12 and 2012/13 (31 October 2013).