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Legal market overview
The legal market in Spain is displaying resilience despite the country’s debilitated economy, and saw significant movement in 2013. Among the headlines, Baker & McKenzie strengthened its corporate and finance teams with the hire of a nine-partner team from Ramón y Cajal Abogados; Clyde & Co and White & Case LLP made striking entrances to the market, capturing talent from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP respectively; and Irwin Mitchell sold its Spanish offices to Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo. International mergers saw Salans become part of Dentons, and SJ Berwin become part of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.
The market saw the emergence of a number of boutique firms set up by senior practitioners, some fleeing the managerial burdens and conflicts of interests to be found within larger structures. Notable launches include the corporate-focused J. Almoguera y Asociados and GTA Villamagna Abogados; dispute resolution boutique Arias SLP; niche environment and energy firm Del Pozo & De La Cuadra; and specialist competition firm DelaCalle Abogados SLP.
For yet another year, restructuring, insolvency and employment work towered above other practice areas, with M&A and real estate deals still hindered by the low level of liquidity in the market. The Spanish IPO market remained closed to issuers, and companies increasingly turned to debt capital markets for financing.
Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira continue to spearhead the Spanish market, and are progressively diversifying their focus on Latin America. Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados, Baker & McKenzie and Clifford Chance are their nearest challengers.