Legal Market Overview
Amid the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, the renewable energy sector in Spain has stood out as a beacon of both stability and hope. Investment in the sector continues apace, and it is looked to as one of the key drivers of economic recovery.
Law firms are also reporting continued investor interest in the technology, real estate and healthcare sectors, and while M&A activity took an inevitable knock during the first wave of the pandemic, transactions are active once more, fuelled in part by the combination of low interest rates and high liquidity.
In the field of competition, private damages claims are becoming increasingly common in Spain, as elsewhere, and a number of law firms are active in such litigation. Dispute resolution departments in general have remained busy, with many handling Covid-related disputes and financial litigation. An uptick in insolvency-related cases is also being anticipated by firms once the support via government measures is withdrawn; for now, many restructuring experts in Spain have been advising clients on how to avoid insolvency once that help stops.
Together with this is the move of international litigation funders into the market. Litigation funding has become increasingly prominent in Europe and beyond in recent years, and is now becoming a more common feature of the dispute resolution landscape in Spain as well.
The unrelenting digital transformation and the demand for digital content also continues in Spain, with future trends likely to be impacted by EU regulations on digital services: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The country launched its 2021-2025 SME Digitalisation Plan, with the objective of integrating digital technologies into the business processes and models of SMEs in the country, thus helping them to confront crises such as that brought by Covid-19.
Environmental lawyers are also in high demand in Spain. Clients and law firms alike are increasingly interested in ESG and sustainability, as the world grapples with the transition towards a greener economy. Many firms are combining their existing expertise in areas such as energy, environment and corporate governance, to provide firms with a one-stop-shop offering for ESG queries and concerns.
Spain’s legal market is host to a varied range of firms, with independent firms including Uría Menéndez, Cuatrecasas, Garrigues, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and Pérez-Llorca remaining at the forefront in areas such as M&A and dispute resolution. Several international firms are also well established in the competitive and busy legal market: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters are key UK-based law firms operating in the country, with Hogan Lovells International LLP, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Watson Farley & Williams LLP other international names to note.