WINNER: Manuel Martín, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

The European Managing Partner of the Year award is always difficult to judge and this year proved no exception, with all the candidates standing out for one reason or another. The judging panel finally decided that Gómez-Acebo & Pombo’s Manuel Martín was the winner for leading the firm through the economic crisis with vision and stability.

Although the firm has seen declining revenue for the past two years, Martín nevertheless led it through a restructuring and refocus which has seen the firm increase its average billable time, hourly rates and the average value of a matter, while cutting costs significantly. Profitability was accordingly up last year.

The main focus of the restructure has been to shift the power to the younger generation and adopt a leaner and more commercial business model. Partners are remunerated on a variable basis, with performance, client wins and referrals recognised. Future management committees, involving younger partners, assess how Gómez-Acebo should undertake governance and business development and efficiency has been at the forefront of the firm’s thinking.

The strategy is paying off, with several partners aged 35 or under in management roles and a growing list of new, high-profile clients. As a full-time managing partner with no fee-earning responsibility, much of Gómez-Acebo’s current stability is down to Martín and his inspirational leadership.

Highly commended

Emer Gilvarry, Mason Hayes & Curran


  • Oleksiy Didkovskiy, Asters
  • Dimitry Afanasiev, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners
  • Per Magnusson, Magnusson