Spain

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Consejo General de la Abogacía Española

Competition authority: Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia

Financial regulator: Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Banking, Capital markets : Debt, Capital markets : Equity, Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation, M&A, Project developmentProject finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

There is limited legislative regulation in place to restrict the practice of law in Spain, and lawyers from all bars in EEA states are permitted to practice. Foreign firms do not need to acquire specific approval to establish themselves in the jurisdiction, and as a result the market is flooded with foreign firms from a variety of countries. 

In spite of this, three of the jurisdiction's largest firms are Spanish in origin. Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira has nearly a thousand lawyers across its global network, and Garrigues and Uría Menéndez are also visible on a multitude of transactions every year. Aside from these three firms, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and Pérez-Llorca come as recommended domestic outfits. 

English magic circle firms hold a significant share of the market alongside several other English firms. There are also several American based firms in the market, although their activity is less palpable than that of the English firms. Baker & McKenzie, Jones Day and Latham & Watkins are all established, while Davis Polk & Wardwell, operates as a US law only capital markets boutique.

The Spanish legal market is also home to the legal arms of some of the world’s largest consultancy firms; Deloitte, KPMG and EY are all currently active. 

The Spanish system of civil law has influenced the civil codes found in South America and other former colonies around the world. The legal market is also closely linked to that of Portugal, and several international firms active in Madrid share resources with Lisbon counterparts.

The majority of the legal work undertaken in Spain occurs in its capital, Madrid, but due to national polarity with its second city, Barcelona, most firms also have offices in the Catalonian city. 

Financial and corporate
Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy is an international firm with offices in Madrid and Barcelona, and with a strength across the banking, capital markets and M&A areas.

In banking work during the research period the firm worked for both lenders and borrowers in connection with project finance facilities, acquisition financings and general corporate financings, acting for the likes of Banco Santander, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Caixabank.

The capital markets team advised on the issuance of notes and bonds working for issuers, joint lead managers, arrangers and dealers on the debt side. On the equity side the team advised the issuer on an IPO in the real estate sector.

In M&A the team predominantly advised acquirers on deals in the energy, infrastructure, financial services, telecoms, health, retail and real estate sectors. The firm also advised both acquirers and sellers on private equity deals.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm acted as counsel to creditors on matters in the retail, real estate, financial services and energy industries.

Recent staffing changes include the departure of M&A partner Antoni Valverde.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Arima IPO

•Banco de Sabadell €750 million 1.625% notes issue

•CaixaBank €1 billion 1.75% notes issue

•Carlyle €3.7 billion acquisition of a 30% stake in Cepsa

•CVC Capital Partners €1.1 billion acquisition of Spanish university

•Forestalia Renovables €310 million financing

•ICG €600 million acquisition of Konecta

•KKR €600 million takeover of Telepizza

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a leading firm in Spain with offices in Madrid and Barcelona and is particularly well known for its work in banking and debt capital markets.

In banking the firm recently advised a mix of lenders and borrowers on syndicated loans, revolving credit facilities, acquisition finance, project finance and refinancing matters, acting for the likes of JP Morgan, Banco Santander, Deutsche Bank and CaixaBank.

The capital markets team was busy advising issuers on convertible bonds and hybrids issuances, notes and bond issues on the debt side. In equity capital markets work the firm worked for an issuer on a rights issue and for global coordinators and joint bookrunners on a block trade deal. It also represented originators and arrangers on securitisation matters.

In M&A the firm worked mainly for acquirers on infrastructure, oil and gas, financial services, retail and energy deals.

In project development the firm represented sponsors and contractors on the construction and development of energy projects in Spain and Latin America.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm was mandated counsel to debtors and creditors on matters in the retail, telecoms and media sectors.

During the research period banking and finance partner Carlos Hernández-Canut left the firm.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Algonquin €492 million acquisition of a 25% stake in Atlantica

•Applus Services €830 million financing

•BBVA €1 billion 1.375% green bond issue

•Cellnex Telecom €600 million 1.5% convertible bond issue

•Eroski €2.2 billion refinancing

•Kingdom of Spain €4 billion 0.7% treasury bond issue

•Prisa €1.6 billion refinancing

•Real Madrid €575 million financing for Santiago Bernabéu redevelopment

Cuatrecasas

Cuatrecasas is a top tier domestic firm and one of Spain’s largest firms with offices in Madrid and Barcelona.

In banking work during the research period the firm advised borrowers and lenders on refinancing, acquisition finance, project finance and loan facility deals.

In debt capital markets work the firm was busy working for issuers on bond issues. In equity capital markets work it advised issuers on a commercial paper programme and on listing processes.

In M&A the firm is active advising a mix of joint venture partners, acquirers and sellers on the energy, oil and gas, ports, aviation, real estate, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm also represented creditors and debtors in a range of industries including construction, technology, energy, media, real estate, infrastructure and retail.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Axiare/Colonial merger

•Banco Santander €2 billion bond issue

•El Corte Inglés €4.49 billion refinancing

•Forestalia Renovables €600 million financing

•Grupo Sando €600 million refinancing

•Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios €745 million financing

•Selecta Group €1.45 billion high-yield bond issue

•Taiyo Nippon Sanso €5 billion acquisition of Praxair

Garrigues

Garrigues is one of Spain’s leading domestic firms and secures top tier rankings in all of our ranked categories.

In banking and finance recently the firm has acted as counsel for lenders and borrowers on general corporate finance, acquisition finance, refinancing, project finance and credit facilities deals.

In the debt capital markets area the firm advised issuers on notes issues, mortgage covered bonds, senior secured notes and convertible bond issues. On the equity side the firm worked for issuers on capital increases and on listings in the Alternative Stock Market. Additionally, in structured finance and securitisation, the firm acted on a number of deals advising originators and rating agencies, like DBRS Ratings and BBVA.

In M&A, highlights included advising acquirers on deals in the real estate, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors and working for sellers on the media, gaming and power industries.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised a mix of creditors and debtors on long-term deals in the energy, real estate, construction, retail and infrastructure space.

During the research period M&A partner Jose María Gil-Robles left the firm to join DLA Piper.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Adveo Group €200 million restructuring

•Blackstone €1.5 billion acquisition of Cirsa

•Blackstone €1.9 billion acquisition of a 16.5% stake in Hispania

•Caixabank €1.7 billion consumer loans securitisation

•Deutsche Bank €1 billion mortgage covered bond issue

•Orient Hontai Capital €1 billion acquisition of 50% capital share in Imagina Audovisual

•Red Eléctrica €600 million notes issue

•Renomar €221 million financing

Client feedback

"The firm did an excellent work. It has excellent negotiation skills and knowledge of Spanish regulation under de covered bonds." - Capital markets: Debt

"The firm provided quick and direct answers. Garrigues is practical, efficient, has a high technical level and a focus on out of the box. The firm has great contacts and is proactive." - Capital markets: Debt

"Garrigues is deal oriented. Its work can be described as outstanding and superb. The firm has fantastic negotiation skills and is pragmatic with a good sense of strategy." - M&A

"The firm has a good understanding of the situation and its different parts. It has practical solutions for the problems and total availability." - M&A

"The firm is a high technical legal services provider. It is fully dedicated, very professional, efficient and of very good quality." - M&A

"The firm provided excellent support. Since we have been working with Garrigues for many years they have deep knowledge of how we work that facilitates very much cooperation. Availability, knowledge of the sector, high professionalism, competence of the team, and a win-win approach are their strengths. I really do not see any weakness, but maybe the least I like is that it is a quite an expensive firm. However we always get value for money." - M&A

"The firm provided good legal advice and a quick turnaround." - M&A

"The firm's work was outstanding and I am highly satisfied with them. The main strengths are high involvement of the senior partner; attention to detail; 360 service by involving the different specific teams when required (real estate, public law, etc.); very strong people skills; ability to adapt to different M&A environments and very high degree of involvement in the deal. " - M&A

"The principal strength of Garrigues lies in the wide experience of its lawyers and the main weakness is related with the lack of an international law practice." - M&A

"Garrigues has a solid knowledge of waste and waste management legislation which, coupled with their longstanding experience in financing and projects in Spain, has been essential in order to reach financial close for this key transaction. Among their strengths, Garrigues has a solid and large group of lawyers who can assist in complex transactions and who are able to understand difficult technical issues, which need to be properly reflected in the legal documentation. On the less positive side, Garrigues remains a pure Spanish law firm and sometimes lacks from the latest inputs for international market standards. Likewise, Garrigues is sometimes more reactive and proactive, which requires additional efforts from clients." - Project finance

"Strengths: deep knowledge of the project finance industry, dedicated multidisciplinary teams, high involvement of seniors, and it is able to meet tight deadlines. Weaknesses: lack of an international angle." - Project finance 

"Garrigues is a law firm that foresees the risks our company faces and proposes innovative solutions. They also have teams all over the country specialised in different areas that work together to reach the final common objective." - Restructuring and insolvency

"The firm's overall service was outstanding. Strengths: commitment, creativity, punch, regulatory knowledge and seriousness. Weaknesses: perhaps too rigid at some points of the negotiation." - Restructuring and insolvency

"The firm has flexibility, knowledge, and a very professional team." - Restructuring and insolvency

"They are the best on the sector." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Garrigues was acting on behalf of our business to be transferred from one company to another. They have carried out the valuation of the business and have provided the adequate advice on what should be necessary and the best options for the business."

Aida Garcia and Gonzalo Garcia Fuertes

"Both of them did an excellent work."

Gaspar Atienza

"Gaspar Atienza has been leading the firm's team in charge of our business. Gaspar is very commercial, sensitive on pricing, good leader and keeps under control the team's work on a transaction. Gaspar remains generally involved in the particulars of the transaction and is generally available. Need to improve some transparency on time recording, but otherwise delivers good value-for-money work."

"He is proactive, focuses on clients, is practical and thinks outside the box."

Ildefonso Polo

"Ildefonso is a top lawyer. He is extremely hard working and dedicated. He has an excellent knowledge of M&A related law; he also has a very good understanding of other legal aspects surrounding a transaction. He is a great team player. He is incredibly easy to work with and has very strong interpersonal skills. He has a great ability to adapt his approach depending on who is the counterparty. He gets completely involved in every transaction in a way that you almost feel, as he was part of your own team. He finds practical solutions to all the problems as he has an excellent can-do attitude."

Jaime Bragado

"He has very good knowledge and understanding of the problem and was very efficient when providing solutions."

Javier de Rojas

"He has an excellent knowledge of tax aspects, M&A and investments; he is extremely hard working and dedicated. He is really easy to work with and has great people skills."

Juan Verdugo

"He is professional, has knowledge, and is accessible."

"He is amazing, the man to go when we have a problem in Spain."

"His job was excellent. Strengths are his vast knowledge and track record, as well as his creativity and problem-solving approach. I cannot find any particular weakness except perhaps some rigidness during the process."

"Juan has a great capacity to coordinate different teams and follow several issues at the same time. He is close to his client and he is accessible. He goes deep into the detail of problems offering innovative solutions. He knows our company very well and we trust in his opinion."

Monica Martin de Vidales and Xabier Urtiaga

"They have very practical solutions, availability, high knowledge, good understanding of the situation and proactive solutions."

Renata Mendana

"She is a good lawyer with excellent knowledge of local and international legal insights."

Sergio Gonzalez Galan

"Sergio is a top class lawyer. He is very bright, very professional, easy to get along with, very understanding of the problems and always proposing solutions."

Víctor Chiquero

"Víctor Chiquero has led a magnificent team of lawyers at our service. Almost three years have passed and during this time, we have managed to multiply our sales and profits by ten. He has played a key role in this growth of the group in Spain. His services and his intervention have been decisive for us, both at the time of designing our procurement strategy, and in the execution of the same. Víctor has in-depth knowledge of Spanish and international legal regulations, has a magnificent team of exceptional lawyers who masterfully leads, and has a vast personal experience in the advice of multiple operations of great complexity. If I have to highlight something that I admire it is: his humility, his ability to work, his good sense, his honesty, his precision, his ability to respond in real time, his instinct to 'read the game' and to adapt perfectly to the circumstances of the negotiation - all without losing sight of the objectives set, in order to get the deal under optimal conditions."

Xabier Urtiaga

"He is a highly skilled lawyer. He is a hard worker. He is always happy to assist. He has deep knowledge of the project finance industry and a strong capacity to meet tight deadlines. He has a pro-deal approach always providing alternative solutions to get the transaction closed."

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is a Spanish firm strong in the banking and finance practices.

In banking work the firm is often mandated counsel to lenders in credit transactions, including corporate financing, project financing, structured financing, asset financing and restructurings.

In the capital markets area the firm worked primarily for issuers on bonds, notes and securitisations issues.

The M&A team focuses on advising international investors entering Spain and on mid-market deals in the telecoms, transport, education, financial services and real estate sectors. The firm advised both acquirers and sellers.

In project development the firm recently worked for sponsors, contractors and developers on infrastructure projects.

In restructuring and insolvency work the firm predominantly represented creditors on deals in the real estate, financial services, infrastructure, energy and construction sectors recently.

Recent staffing changes include the recruitment of M&A and capital markets partner Augusto Piñel from KPMG Abogados.

Recent Deal Data Highlights

•Abengoa €3.4 billion debt restructuring

•Valiente and Sotillo 35MW wind farm

•Meag Munich Ergo acquisition of Don Rodrigo solar park

•Refinancing of Zaragoza Tramway

•The Mula 493MW solar plant

•Pymes Santander 14 securitisation fund

•Platinum Equity $1.3 billion acquisition of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation European vacation rental business

•Daikin Industries €881 million acquisition of AHT Cooling Systems

Pérez-Llorca

Pérez-Llorca is best known for its M&A practice but it is also strong in equity capital markets.

In banking work recently the firm advised a mix of lenders and borrowers on corporate finance, acquisition finance, refinancing and project finance deals.

The capital markets team is mostly active on equity matters working for issuers on capital increases. It also advised on the debt side working for issuers on bonds and notes issues.

In M&A the firm worked for acquirers on retail, telecoms, real estate, energy, agriculture and technology deals. It also advised sellers in financial services, energy, real estate, aviation and chemicals matters.

In the project development space the team has advised sponsors and project companies in deals in the energy industry. Clients include Marguerite Solar, Marguerite Fund and Sacyr Group.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised debtors in the infrastructure, telecoms, technology, energy, real estate, media and construction sectors.

During the research period banking and finance partner Ildefonso Arenas joined the firm from DLA Piper. In addition, M&A partners Alejandro Alberte from Herbert Smith Freehills and Francisco Iso from PwC joined the firm.

Recent Deal Data Highlights

•Blackstone €947 million acquisition of Testa Residencial

•Cellnex Telecom €970 million restructuring 

•CVC Capital Partners €1.1 billion acquisition of Spanish university

•DS Smith £1.5 billion acquisition of Europac

•Minor €2.5 billion acquisition of NH Hotel Group

•PIP6 Aguila Imperial €1.4 bilion acquisit5ion of Eolia Renovabls de Inversiones

•Testa Group $2 billion financing

•Värde Capital €1 billion acquisition of a 49% stake in WiZink

RLD

RLD is a Spanish boutique focusing on M&A work. The team recently worked on deals in the retail, consumer goods, real estate, healthcare and technology sectors, and has done work for acquirers and sellers.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•CIECH €44.6 million acquisition of Proplan

•Gaw Capital Partners €125 million acquisition of Hospes Hoteles

•Grupo Pikolin acquisition of 49% of Sleep House Colchoes e Accesórios

•OZU €12.5 million acquisition of Celma property 

 

Client feedback

"Over these past years we have worked with the firm in different transactions, but I would highlight those matters with a special legal-business complexity where RLD has always respond in a very quick, professional and impeccable way. This is very important to us. Even in those transactions happening abroad, RLD has even travelled with us to the countries where the matter took place, providing us with a personalised treatment." - M&A

"We work with the firm as a team, they offer a 24 hour service and are very active in the negotiation of the deals." - M&A

Rafael Lopez Dieguez

"He is unique."

"He provided us with quick, efficient and personalized treatment. I know that if I need him I just have to call him and he will directly answer anything I need. I really value this."

Uría Menéndez

Uría Menéndez is one of the most high profile domestic Spanish firms and secures a leading position across all areas of financial and corporate work. The firm works in association with a number of firms across Europe and Latin America.

In banking recently the firm has acted for lenders and borrowers on loans, refinancing, acquisition finance, mortgage-backed financing, syndicated financing and project finance deals.

In the debt capital markets the firm worked for issuers on notes issues, green bonds and convertible bonds. It also advised initial purchasers on senior secured notes. In equity capital markets work the firm represented issuers on capital increases and on an IPO.

In structured finance and securitisation work the firm represented originators, sponsors and purchasers on securitisation programmes, cross-border trade receivable factoring program and NPLs securitisations.

The M&A team advised on matters in the real estate, infrastructure, oil and gas, financial services and energy sectors. The firm worked for acquirers and sellers.

On the project development side the firm acted as counsel to project companies and sponsors on health PPPs and on mining, infrastructured energy projects.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised agents, debtors and creditors on deals in the construction, financial services, infrastructure, real estate and retail sectors.

Recent Deal Data Highlights

•AI Candelaria €650 million 7.5% bond issue

•Cellnex Telecom €1.2 billion capital increase

•DS Smith £1.5 billion acquisition of Europac

•Iberdrola €800 million green bonds

•Iberian Assets €250 million mortgage-backed financing

•Lone Star Funds €5.6 billion acquisition of 80% stake in CaixaBank real estate business

•Minor €2.5 billion acquisition of NH Hotel Group

•Telefónica $1.25 billion bond issue

 

Client feedback

"Best law firm, has an extreme attention to detail, and the customer comes first." Capital markets: Debt

"The firm did an excellent work. They are always available and provide straightforward advice. They know all the environments the client can face and are always respected by counterparts and regulatory bodies." - Capital markets: Debt

"The firm has excellent professionals, with deep knowledge of the Spanish equity capital markets."  Capital markets: Equity

"The firm is excellent. It has accuracy, reliability and very good communication." - Capital markets: Equity

"Uria provided the highest level of performance, showing a deep understanding of the client's needs and full knowledge of the law. It has a strong and well-coordinated team with unbeatable responsiveness and efficiency." - Capital markets: Equity

"The firm has in-depth knowledge of securitisation business even including the junior lawyers. I would demand in some occasions more agility answering doubts. " - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"No weaknesses identified. They excelled in knowledge of business and involved regulation and also in displaying a whole range of resources for a controlled and timely transaction covering all issues." - M&A

"The firm has a high technical level, availability, and supports through all stages of the operation." - M&A

"Uria has showed that they have experience in international deals and in particular in China." - M&A

"Uria is firmly committed to the transactions in which they are involved, from the partner to the junior lawyer from the beginning and far beyond the closing. Strengths: professionalism, commitment, and availability. Weaknesses: macro-perspective." - M&A

"The overall work of the team was very good. We achieved successful outcomes in both transactions. I should stress the thoroughness of their legal work: reading and providing sensible judgement (amending/modifying when necessary) on every detail of every document required for the execution of the transaction, always illustrating good points with regard to possible interpretations. The resilience and determination of the team, was evidenced with lenders of very different nature. Their outstanding project management skills (deadlines were always met, for the benefit of all the parties involved, without any inconvenience). " - Project finance

"The firm has very technical and hardworking lawyers in general. Some partners (Carlos de Cárdenas and Juan Miguel Goenechea) are extremely creative, brilliant and understand very well our transactions. However, other teams and partners of the law firm are less impressive." - Restructuring and insolvency

Alfonso Ventoso

"He is an excellent lawyer. He is trustworthy, proactive and with deep knowledge of Spanish ECM."

Antonio Sanchez

"He is a very approachable lawyer with deep legal technical knowledge. He is good understanding the client's needs and proposing practical solutions."

Borja Contreras

"He has a great technical level, availability, and knowledge in the sector."

Carlos Paredes

"No weaknesses detected. Carlos had a superb management of all team members and issues impacting on the transaction, providing reliable and practical solutions to all matters of concern."

Enrique Nieto

"Enrique's performance has been nothing but outstanding. At his young age, Enrique shows a splendid combination of lawyering skills, and has negotiation abilities to deal with the most complicated counterparties and the execution capacity on solving complex issues with creative solutions."

Jaime Pereda

"Jaime understands the urgencies of the client and provides effective and fast solutions. He is a chief negotiator."

Javier Redonet and Rafael Sebastian

"They have excellent knowledge of technical legal matters and the economic environment. Both have full availability."  

Javier Ruiz Camara

"Javier is a professional and a outstanding lawyer. He is committed to our transactions as if they were his own. Counting with his advice is a guarantee of success."

Javier Tortuero and Juan Alti

"Javier Tortuero and Juan Alti provided extraordinary legal advice. They have an excellent ability to step in their clients shoes, proposing adequate and fair alternatives during the negotiation."

Jose Felix and Zaldivar de la Rica

"They are always thinking of the client first. They are able to dig in to find innovative solutions to tricky issues, it is like a high-end camera, able to zoom in or zoom out at every step, to ensure that its clients meets the deadline and their long-term goal."

Pedro Ravina

"He is highly recommendable. He has large experience in the securitisation business and innovative ways to resolve problems."