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Legal market overview

Spain’s sustained economic growth in 2015 has finally given investors hope after years of gloom following the onset of the financial crisis. Despite ongoing political fragmentation after the general elections of December 2015, and Catalonia’s independence claim, the market mood is optimistic.

The confidence is attributable in part to several governmental measures: the cutting of public expenditure; higher taxes aimed at autonomous communities; and the results of labour and financial reforms of previous years. According to the European Commission, Spain is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the eurozone. It is expected to grow by over 3% in 2015, compared to 1.4% the previous year, marking its highest growth rate in seven years.

Law firms report an increase in M&A transactions, a consequence of an increase in credit lines to businesses and increased foreign investment. While there is still some activity on the insolvency front, the focus is turning to refinancing transactions relating to existing credit. Real estate is a core sector, and the country is seeing high levels of interest from investment funds, with the explosion of SOCIMIs (the local equivalent of REITs) being one of the main drivers of new work.

Three domestic heavyweights – Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira – have a commanding presence in the market, closely followed by international names including the Magic Circle firms present in Spain and Baker & McKenzie. Other notable domestic firms include Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados, Pérez-Llorca and the up-and-coming Rousaud Costas Duran SLP.

Firms in the spotlight

Gallego, Martos & Quadra-Salcedo Abogados

The Firm is a small (in terms of the number of lawyers), legal boutique established in 2008 by lawyers coming from multinational firms (Clifford Chance – all partners have had a common experience in said firm –, CMS Albiñana, Cuatrecasas, Cremades & Calvo Sotelo), with broad, practical experience and with strong participation in public and private Spanish universities as Professors (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, ICADE, Universidad Carlos III, etc).

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