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Managing partner Manuel Martín told The Lawyer that the drop in revenue was largely due to a drop-off in transactional work in the second half of the year, as well as the firm’s decision to write off bad debts.
“Before the summer we were more or less comfortable,” he said. “It was on the return from holidays that we saw the number of deals that we expected to be closed before the end of the year fall.”
Martín said that although Gómez-Acebo had seen a decrease in headcount at all levels of the firm, the number of billable hours recorded was almost the same as in 2010. However, fee pressure and the debt write-off contributed to the decline in turnover.
Gómez-Acebo made a number of lateral hires during the course of 2011 and promoted nine lawyers to its partnership in January. However, the equity partnership decreased by three, from 52 equity partners in 2010 to 49 currently, after several departures and the deaths of founders Ignacio Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada and Fernando Pombo as well as that of real estate head Victoria Llavero.
The number of salaried partners remained steady.
Gómez-Acebo recently announced the promotion of three lawyers to its partnership. Eduardo Castillo San Martín, Alfonso Fernández-Puebla Muñiz and Javier Vinuesa Magnet are all based in Madrid.
Martín added that the firm had been keeping a close eye on costs during the course of 2011 and would continue to do so. He said he was happy with profitability levels and the performance of Gómez-Acebo’s offices outside Spain in Portugal, Brussels and London.
Spain’s biggest firms Garrigues and Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira (7 February 2012) have both reported marginal increases in turnover for 2011.