Spanish legal market shows strain of economic slowdown

Firms in Spain saw their revenue growth slow by an average of 10 per cent last year, reflecting the inertia in the country’s capital markets, according to figures released by Spanish business paper Expansión.


Rankings by turnover of the country’s top firms and Spanish offices of City firms remained largely unchanged. As in 2001, Spanish heavyweights Garrigues, Cuatrecasas and Uría & Menéndez were the country’s highest grossing firms in 2002.

Landwell and Ernst & Young, which were fourth and fifth in the table in 2001, kept their rankings in a year that saw accountancy-linked firms in Europe shrink and disband as a result of post-Enron regulatory pressures from the US.

Despite the quiet market, City firms in Spain grew at a healthy rate. Linklaters‘ turnover grew by 27 per cent. This was only slightly off the 35 per cent turnover rise the firm anticipated for the year.

Allen & Overy‘s revenue rose by 25 per cent, although this was in stark contrast to 2001, when turnover leapt up 52 per cent.

Clifford Chance, Spain’s highest grossing City firm, experienced modest growth for the second year running. The firm’s turnover rose by 7.5 per cent, compared with just over 4 per cent in 2001.

Borja Martínez-Echevarría, legal editor of Expansión, said: “Exposed to economic crisis, the legal market in Spain saw no relevant M&A activity, and only the litigation sector experienced any remarkable developments.”

Spanish firms turnover 2003
Rank Firm Turnover 2002 €m (£m) Increase % Revenue per partner €m (£m) Number of partners Revenue per lawyer €K (£K) Number of lawyers
1 Garrigues 160.0 (114.2) 12.0 1.5 (1.1) 106 174 (124) 922
2 Cuatrecasas 113.7 (81.2) 11.0 1.4 (1.0) 84 223 (159) 511
3 Uría & Menéndez 83.7 (59.7) 7.1 1.6 (1.1) 52 312 (2223) 268
4 Landwell/PwC 67.7 (48.3) 9.0 2.8 (2.0) 24 124 (89) 546
5 Ernst & Young 51.7 (36.9) 10.2 1.4 (1.0) 38 134 (96) 385
6 Clifford Chance 38.5 (27.5) 7.6 1.8 (1.3) 21 269 (192) 143
7 kpmg 38.3 (27.3) 14.5 1.8 (1.3) 21 169 (121) 226
8 Gómez-Acebo & Pombo 33.6 (24.0) 9.1 1.0 (0.7) 33 206 (147) 163
9 Baker & McKenzie 33.4 (23.8) 34.7 1.3 (1.0) 26 223 (159) 150
10 P&A 30.2 (21.6) 3.1 1.0 (0.7) 31 174 (124) 174
11 Hispajuris 26.0 (18.6) 7.4 0.2 (0.1) 115 107 (76) 242
12 Bufete Barrilero 23.7 (16.9) 26.0 2.2 (1.6) 11 199 (142) 119
13 Iusfinder 22.0 (15.7) 12.0 1.1 (0.8) 20 333 (238) 66
14 Roca Junyent 15.6 (11.1) 15.6 0.6 (0.4) 25 111 (79) 140
15 Linklaters 14.0 (10.0) 27.3 1.8 (1.3) 8 275 (196) 51
16 Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo 12.8 (9.1) 6.7 1.0 (0.7) 13 160 (114) 80
17 Alzaga Caro G Palencia Sánchez-Terá& Asociados 12.4 (8.9) 8.7 1.8 (1.3) 7 234 (167) 53
18 Bufete Díaz-Arias 11.9 (8.5) 10.2 1.5 (1.1) 8 143 (102) 83
19 Práctica Legal 8.4 (6.0) 16.6 0.7 (0.5) 12 70 (50) 120
20 Mullerat 8.2 (5.9) 34.4 0.8 (0.6) 11 121 (86) 68
Other ranked City and US firms…
24 Squire Sanders & Dempsey 7.0 (5.0) 1.4 1.0 (0.7) 7 250 (178) 28
25 Allen & Overy 6.5 (4.6) 25.0 1.3 (0.9) 5 241 (172) 27
26 SJ Berwin 6.1 (4.4) 5.2 2.0 (1.4) 3 226 (161) 27
28 Denton Lupicinio 5.7 (4.1) 5.8 1.0 (0.7) 6 158 (113) 36
31 dla 4.3 (3.1) 8.3 0.9 (0.6) 5 205 (146) 21
32 Ashurst Morris Crisp 4.2 (3.0) 110.0 1.4 (1.0) 3 233 (166) 18
Source: Expansión