Managing partner: Pedro Perez-Llorca
Number of partners: 15
Number of lawyers: 70
Turnover: €15m (£9.9m)
Main practice areas: Private equity, M&A, litigation, arbitration, real estate, competition, tax, employment
Clients: Abbey, Autogrill, British Airport Authority, Metrovacesa, E.ON
Top Spanish independent firm Perez-Llorca has been a staple name in the European deals tables during the past 12 months, and now the firm is trying to build on that reputation.
The buoyant M&A market in Spain for the past 18 months has set the foundations for a growth strategy.
A bumper year of instructions on some of the biggest European M&A deals around, such as E.ON’s e29bn (£19.14bn) tie-up with Endesa, has led the firm to boost its partnership by almost half. A total of four new partners were made up by the existing 11 partners.
Managing partner Pedro Perez-Llorca says: “We generally promote people in January. There are a lot of people that deserve it this year.”
As well as internal growth, Perez-Llorca is looking to add new practice areas to exploit niche areas in the Iberian market. The firm wants to add a restructuring capability to take advantage of any slowdown in corporate activity in the coming years.
Perez-Llorca says: “We’re also looking at strengthening our disputes practice with specialist white-collar crime people. The rest will be strengthening capacity in key areas. We want to be ready to handle any transaction, no matter how big or complicated it may be.”
Perez-Llorca’s success in the market is partly down to having forged strong links with foreign companies with plans to do business in Spain.
Perez-Llorca says: “It’s something we’ve deliberately targeted. We’re very happy working for the outsider as it brings innovation to the market. It also has to do with the size and age of the firm. We’re a relatively young firm and have a smaller market share than other firms’ among the Spanish blue-chip companies.”
Perez-Llorca’s links with companies doing business in Spain has made it a target for international firms looking to either boost their Iberian capabilities or launch their first offices on the peninsula.
Perez-Llorca explains: “We have a strategy of being independent that has worked very well. We’ve been approached for mergers and we’re declining those invitations.
“We’re not pessimistic about US firms coming. The more competitive the market, the better we fare.”
The firm makes up for a lack of a presence outside Spain with a varied mix of lawyers and languages within the firm, including French, English, Russian and Portuguese.
“We have international teams within the firm. The cultural mix is good. I think it’s nicer to have a more open working environment rather than just having people with the same dull Madrid background,” says Perez-Llorca.
Whether the high level of M&A activity in Spain continues or not, Perez-Llorca is determined to stay the course and remain a premier independent firm.