09:38, February 08 379 0

2018-02-08 09:38:09
European Awards 2018 close-up: Who will win Iberian Law Firm of the Year?

Ahead of The Lawyer’s European Awards 2018 on 15 March, The Lawyer has taken a closer look at the candidates for one of the most hotly contested titles of the year.

This year’s shortlisted firms for Iberian firm of the year have shown strong resilience in an often turbulent market, as well as strides in further internationalisation of their footprints.

A total of 283 people joined Garrigues during the 2016 financial year. Around 15.5 per cent of the firm’s clients are from outside of Spain and Portugal, up by 6.4 per cent during the period. In Latin America, the increase is even more pronounced – 23.1 per cent. Outside of growing its physical footprint and its financial figures, the firm has focused on its diversity and tech initiatives. The firm’s objective is to grow the number of female partners, admitting it “still has a long way to go” after growing the partnership ratio to 14.8 per cent from 13 per cent in 2016. Its tech initiatives focus on ‘think-tanks’ and transformational projects that involve the entire firm.

Perez Llorca is the only firm on the shortlist for the European Awards that was unwilling to provide financial figures. The Spanish firm has promoted five partners to its Madrid office and started a tax practice in Barcelona throughout 2017.

Uria is one of the prime examples of Spanish firm internationalisation in action. Uria’s stake in Latam outfit PPU, which is headquartered in Chile, Colombia and Peru, has proven fruitful, providing a constant stream of domestic and cross-border activity. The firm says that around 10 per cent of its revenue is generated in the region. However the firm, with revenue of €222.2m (an increase of 5.8 per cent compared to 2015) has not put all of its hopes in one region. It also has capabilities in Beijing, New York, London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Sao Paulo. At the end of last year, the firm invested in new offices in Lisbon and expanded its Madrid office.

Other Iberian entries in The Lawyer’s European Awards

Garrigues has entered the Global Strategic Initiative of the Year category, showcasing its efforts in Latin America. Since October 2016, when the firm launched an office in Bogota the firm’s expansion in the region has continued. The firm’s lawyer headcount in the region now totals over 140, spanning Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. This has expanded by 58 per cent compared to 2016. Garrigues was the first of the Spanish firms to refocus its strategy on Latin America, opting for organic growth rather than law firm bolt-ons for its expansion across the territory. The firm’s latest results reflect the strategy’s delivery on investment – almost half of the firm’s €41.3m international revenue generated outside of Spain was attributed to Latin America €18.6m) where the firm has seen revenues soar by 81.4 per cent in 2017.

Iberian firms also stand out in the corporate and infrastructure deals categories, with Cuatrecasas and SRS Advogados appearing in the European Corporate Deal of the Year and European Energy and Infrastructure Deal of the Year categories respectively.

This is an extract from The Lawyer’s upcoming Iberia special report, which will be published in our March issue.