Spain’s big three continue Iberia, Latin America drive

The three largest Spanish firms have turned in a steady set of annual results, all experiencing revenue growth around the 10 per cent mark.

By a whisker, Slaughter and May’s best friend and Spain’s premier corporate law firm Uría & Menéndez was the fastest growing of the three, with turnover rising by 11 per cent on 2002.

Garrigues, the largest Spanish firm, saw revenues rise by 10 per cent in 2003, slightly down on its 12 per cent growth in 2002.

Herbert Smith’s best friend Cuatrecasas has enjoyed a 7 per cent revenue hike and a small rise in lawyers, despite saying goodbye to around 50 lawyers in 2003 following a restructuring at the firm.

“People did go, but we’ve continued to recruit,” said a Cuatrecasas spokesperson.

All three firms have continued to loom large in Iberia and Latin America, with no signs of any imminent tie-up with UK firms.

Garrigues has launched an alliance with three of South America’s top law firms: Argentina’s Bruchou Fernandez Madero Lombardi & Mitrani Abogados; Brazil’s Barbosa Muessnich & Aragao; and Mexico’s Mijares Angoitia Cortes y Fuentes Abogados.

Last March Cuatrecasas completed the first-ever Spanish-Portuguese merger with its longtime best friend Goncalves Pereira Castelo Branco & Associados.

Uría, which already had Brazilian and Portuguese presences by 2003, plans to expand in São Paulo and Lisbon this year.

Spain’s top three firms’ performances 2001-03
Firm Turnover 2003 Turnover 2002 Turnover 2001 Lawyers 2003 Lawyers 2002 Lawyers 2001
€m £m €m £m €m £m      
Garrigues 176 117.8 160 107.1 142.9 95.7 1,248 (142 partners) 922 (106 partners) 949 (92 partners)
Cuatrecasas 121 81 113.7 76.1 102 68.3 617 (97 partners) 595 (84 partners) 637 (75 partners)
Uría & Menéndez 93 62.3 83.7 56 78.1 52.3 288 (59 partners) 268 (52 partners) 251 (46 partners)
Source: The Lawyer