Madrid annual report 2017 Madrid_2017 | Page 2

Madrid annual report Firm re- engineering The workflow for law firms in Madrid is looking much healthier than it did 12 months ago – however, this is posing difficulties for managing partners who now have to consider the best way to use their resources to meet rising demand The good news for law firms in Madrid is that their workload is increasing. Transactional activity – especially in the real estate, financial services and renewable sectors – is on the rise and law firms report being much busier than they were a year ago, when political wrangling meant the country appeared to be in a state of paralysis. However, winning more mandates also brings considerable challenges, in particular that of how to best deploy resources in order to meet the surge in client demand. While there may be a temptation for some firms to go on a recruitment drive in an effort to increase headcount, memories of making layoffs during the crisis years mean that this is a strategy that can cause some concern among managing partners. Among the problems currently plaguing law firm leaders is how to increase efficiency. One way of doing this is to hire project managers, but such roles – which may often be filled by non- acknowledge that partners can sometimes be reluctant to bow to their demands. Meanwhile, talent retention remains probably the biggest headache. With a new generation of lawyers that are less than keen to work 12-hour days – an expectation that previous generations may have reluctantly accepted was just part of the job – law firms have to find a magic formula to strike the right work- life balance, while also providing the right environment for women lawyers to flourish. There is a widely held view that one of the biggest failures of law firms is the fact that they allow many talented female lawyers to slip from their grasp before they break into the partnership. Distressed assets attractive Pedro Pérez-Llorca, Class action managing partner at litigation will increase Pérez-Llorca, says that [in Spain]. there is substantial interest from funds José María Segovia – as well as other Uría Menéndez investors – in relation to the Spanish real estate, financial services and media sectors. In addition, he says there has been notable M&A lawyers – can be controversial. activity in the renewables sector. Though project managers may However, Pérez-Llorca says that be highly effective in some one of the key challenges for law firms, some managing partners firms is satisfying client demand, “ 26 • IBERIAN LAWYER • May / June 2017 ” which is becoming more difficult due to the increase in workload. Funds are showing an increased interest in investing in the infrastructure, energy and real estate sectors, with distressed assets also proving to be attractive, according to Ashurst’s Madrid office managing partner María José Menéndez. She adds that financial institutions continue to sell loan portfolios, including non- performing loans. There will be further consolidation in the financial sector, says Linklaters’ Madrid managing partner Iñigo Berricano. He continues: “There will be a concentration of financial sector platforms, as well as consolidation among insurance businesses, and with regard to private equity, there will be ‘dual tracks’ [in which a business pursues an IPO while simultaneously running a confidential, private auction to sell the company]. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy partner Ignacio Ruiz-Cámara says there has been considerable investment in “infrastructure and tariff-related assets” in the last year. There was a notable increase in work for law firms in Spain in the early part of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year. “A year ago, after the election, there was little work in the first quarter of 2016, but now there is plenty of work,” says Araoz &