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Legal market overview
Spain’s ongoing economic difficulties affected law firms with continued downward pressure on fees. Market conditions dictated fewer transactions, but this was counteracted by a boom in areas such as litigation, arbitration and restructuring. Big-ticket private equity deals and IPOs virtually vanished. Government tax reforms led to increasing demand for tax-related advice, and employment law and insurance continued to be hugely active areas.
The real estate market remained depressed, with action being taken in the form of SAREB, the new Spanish ‘bad bank’, which will hold toxic real estate assets from the country’s major financial entities.
Many of Spain’s largest firms downsized considerably, but Garrigues, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira and Uría Menéndez maintained their dominant positions. Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados also has an excellent reputation, and the slightly smaller Perez-Llorca and CMS are also popular.
International firms continued to do well, with Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters leading the pack, and Ashurst LLP, DLA Piper LLP and Allen & Overy also excel in core practice areas. Now in its fourth year in Spain, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s practice is on the rise.
Notable boutiques include Sagardoy Abogados, member of Ius Laboris for employment law, as well as Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) for competition law, Grau & Angulo for IP law, and Albors Galiano Portales for shipping law.