New research finds that 90 per cent of partners in Spain
expect their firm's revenue to grow in the coming year, with
two-thirds anticipating a rise in profits
Law firm partners anticipate that an increase in corporate and
M&A work, as well as a rise in real estate-related
instructions, will lead to an increase in revenues and profits at
law firms in Spain in 2017, according to a new survey by Iberian
Corporate and M&A is the practice area where most lawyers
expect to see growth in the next 12 months, with 73 per cent of
partners anticipating an increase in work in this area. This
demonstrates growth in confidence – only 67 per cent held
this view in last year´s survey. Meanwhile, real estate is
seen as the second-biggest growth area, with 50 per cent of survey
participants expecting more work in this field during the next 12
More positive outlook
The vast majority of partners expect their firm's revenue to
grow in 2017. Ninety per cent of partners said they anticipated an
increase in billing, though only two-thirds of respondents (66 per
cent) said they thought their profits would increase. When asked
what would be the drivers of growth in the coming year, the reason
most commonly cited (by 77 per cent of those surveyed) was a
"greater volume of work". Two-thirds of respondents (67
per cent) said "a more positive economic outlook" would
lead to growth, while 60 per cent of survey participants said
"more clients" would result in increases in billing.
However, only 13 per cent of partners said they thought revenues
would go up because of fee increases.
While corporate/M&A and real estate are expected to be the
major growth areas in the coming year, a significant proportion of
partners also anticipate an increase in billing in the areas of
dispute resolution (45 per cent) and banking and finance (36 per
cent). Other practice areas frequently highlighted as growth areas
include tax and intellectual property.
It seems doubtful that this expected growth will translate into
considerably more career opportunities for aspiring lawyers. Only
around one in three partners expect their firm to increase its
number of lawyers in the next 12 months. A total of 37 per cent of
survey respondents said they anticipated growth in headcount in
2017. Of those that did expect an increase in headcount, the
majority (58 per cent) said they expected their firm to grow its
number of lawyers by at least 5 per cent. Two-thirds of partners
(66 per cent) expecting an increase in lawyer numbers at their
firms said it would be partly achieved "through lateral
hires", with the same proportion saying it would be partly
attributable to increasing the trainee intake. Six per cent of
respondents said their firm would increase its headcount as a
result of a merger.
Four out of ten partners surveyed said work from outside Spain
would contribute the most growth to their firm in 2017. However, in
a sign of renewed confidence, 60 per cent of respondents said
Spain-originated work would be the key driver of growth. Meanwhile,
17 per cent said the rest of Europe (excluding Spain and Portugal)
would contribute the most growth. A further 13 per cent highlighted
Latin America as the region that would generate the most growth at
Opening foreign offices
The approach law firms are adopting to capitalise on potential
foreign growth opportunities varies. A total of 16 per cent of
respondents said their firm would be "opening new foreign
offices", while 14 per cent said their firm would be
"joining an alliance or network". Meanwhile, 36 per cent
said they would be taking steps to develop "best friends"
relationships with foreign firms. However, a significant number of
respondents said they would be using their existing resources to
take advantage of foreign growth opportunities: 38 per cent said
they would be using an existing alliance or network, 37 per cent
said they would be utilising existing "best friends
relationships", while 30 per cent said they would pursue
foreign growth opportunities "via existing foreign
A total of 91 partners in Spain participated in the research
which was conducted via an online survey in November 2016.
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