Spanish independents repel Anglo-Saxon competition with record year

London’s magic circle has profited from a buoyant legal market in Spain, but is still a long way from challenging Madrid’s local elite.

This year Garrigues strengthened its position as Spain’s largest law firm, growing 10 per cent to record revenues of €193m for the year. Clifford Chance was the UK’s top representative in Spain. Its 21-partner operation grew by 13 per cent to send €54m back home, according to the latest figures from Expansión.

Overall the Spanish legal market grew by an average of 13.7 per cent, almost four times more quickly than the national economy.

But Linklaters, Allen & Overy and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary all recorded turnover increases well beyond even the market average.

The 10 partners at Linklaters mustered a 22.7 per cent rise to €20m and Allen & Overy broke the €10m barrier after 23.8 per cent growth for the year. DLA Piper just pipped them, reaching €11m with a 19 per cent increase on last year.

Trying desperately to close the gap at the top are Cuatrecasas and Slaughter and May best friend Uria & Menendez. But with 185 partners and over 1500 lawyers, Garrigues is still by far the largest firm in terms of number of lawyers.

Cuatrecasas grew faster than any other leading Spanish firm, posting a 19 per cent rise in turnover to reach €159m for the year. Uria & Menendez chased them with an 18.6 per cent increase, billing €119m for the year.

The top placed US firm is Baker & McKenzie, which posted 7.6 per cent growth and a €43.5m turnover. The next largest US operation is Jones Day, whose five partners made €8.4m.