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Uría Menéndez turned over €186.5m (£158.51m) in 2010, allowing it to retain its position as Spain’s third-largest firm, after Garrigues and Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira.
The 4 per cent growth is Uría’s slowest for a number of years, although in 2008 it grew by only 8 per cent.
However, the latest figure is consistent with those of the rest of Iberia’s big four - Cuatrecasas, Garrigues and Gómez-Acebo & Pombo - which posted increases of between 2 and 5.5 per cent.
Garrigues saw the largest increase. In August 2010 the firm announced growth of 5.5 per cent, with turnover reaching €352.8m.
Cuatrecasas grew by 3 per cent in 2010, with turnover rising to €241.7m, while Gómez turned over e68.9m, a 2 per cent increase on 2009.
Gómez managing partner Manuel Martín said: “At the beginning of 2010 we were working with a budget that predicted two-digit percentage growth, but then we saw that the economy was slowing down.
“In 2011 we’re all working with budgets of between 5 and 8 per cent. I don’t know if we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re in a better position than we were six months ago, and I think you can say the same for Spain’s economy as a whole.”
Martín added that bankruptcy, IP, litigation, tax and white-collar crime were some of the firm’s busiest practices.
Garrigues managing partner Fernando Vives Ruiz echoed these sentiments. “Corporate and tax continue to be the practice areas with the higher turnover figures,” he said. “Each of them accounts for 30 per cent of the firm’s total turnover. Public law, labour and litigation have continued the upward trend that started two years ago when the crisis hit Spain - labour’s revenue registered a 20 per cent increase.
“Our partners are cautious when it comes to economic prospects. However, the fundamentals of the Spanish economy haven’t changed that much. The sentiment is that, if we thrived in the past under these fundamentals, we’ll thrive now and in the future.
“Although late, relevant measures to sort [Spain’s] most pressing issues have been introduced and, little by little, the country will bounce back. For most of the partners, 2011, a year ahead of the country’s general elections, won’t be a decisive year.”
In the past few months both Uría and Gómez have changed their management structures.
In December Uría got rid of its dual managing partner roles and replaced them with an Anglo-Saxon model comprising a senior and a managing partner.
In February Gómez completed its transition from a pure to a managed lockstep, meaning partners will now move up the equity ladder according to performance as well as seniority.
Gómez also launched an office in Lisbon in 2010. According to Martín, the firm wants to strengthen its IP, labour and tax departments and is not ruling out growing through a merger or other non-organic means.