For the first time ever, Iberian Lawyer publishes a list of the leading players in private practice in Spain
By Ben Cook
Welcome to Iberian Lawyer’s 50 Lawyers of the Year in Spain 2019 list. For the first time, we have conducted an analysis of the leading lawyers working in private practice in Spain over the last 12 months. How have the Top 50 been evaluated? The list is based on a number of criteria, which includes: the amount of work the lawyers bring into the firm, in other words, their ability as rainmakers to generate substantial amounts of business; their level of specialism; their leadership qualities, that is lawyers who have played an important role in the management of firms, either through building effective teams, motivating lawyers, or driving growth at their firm; the reputation the lawyer has among clients – this refers to what clients say about their performance as lawyers and their client service; and finally, the lawyer’s profile in the market, in other words, how frequently they advise on the major deals that win a lot of public, and media, attention and how well they have built their reputation and image in the market.
01. ALEJANDRO ORTIZ Linklaters
On top of the pile is Linklaters M&A partner Alejandro Ortiz. When a major international corporation wants to complete a M&A deal in Spain, Ortiz is often the first person they call. One of the hardest-working lawyers in the Spanish market, his record speaks for itself. A highly dedicated professional who is known for the long hours he works, Ortiz’s focus seems unshakeable. He also has a reputation for being extremely well-connected. And the perceptions are backed up by hard evidence. In the last 12 months, he has advised on Spanish M&A deals with a total value of more than €16 billion. Highlights in the last year included advising The Carlyle Group on its acquisition of a €3 billion stake in Spanish energy company Cepsa. In addition to being a rainmaker extraordinaire, Ortiz is also renowned for his leadership qualities, which have helped to foster a strong team spirit in Linklaters’ Madrid office.
02. IÑIGO DEL VAL Allen & Overy
Despite only being appointed a partner at Allen & Overy in 2015, Iñigo Del Val has quickly built an outstanding reputation and is widely acknowledged as one of the top M&A lawyers in Spain. The incisiveness that enables him to quickly get to the heart of the matter has impressed clients and he has been entrusted to handle some of the biggest deals in Spain in the last year. Notable matters included advising Banco Sabadell on the sale of Solvia Desarollos Inmobiliarions (SDIN) Residencial to Oaktree Capital for €882 million, as well as being part of the team that advised Intermediate Capital Group on the €700 million acquisition of Grupo Konectanet. An accomplished networker, Del Val now stands out as one of the most skilled dealmakers in the Allen & Overy corporate team in Spain – advising on around 20 deals with a total value of approximately €8 billion in the last 12 months.
03. SALVADOR SÁNCHEZ- TERÁN Uría Menéndez
Sánchez-Terán hit the heights in the last year when he took on what is arguably the Spanish legal sector’s top job: managing partner of the prestigious Uría Menéndez. He was the overwhelming choice among the firm’s partnership, which demonstrates the high esteem in which he is held among some of the finest lawyers in the country. Despite having a very agreeable character, those who know him well say he is more than able to play the tough guy when necessary. These are qualities that will be much in need as he settles into what is a four-year term in the top job. His reputation as a top-notch M&A lawyer, as well as also having expertise in banking and securities law illustrates the versatility that made him the number one choice for the role.
04. VÍCTOR VIANA Uría Menéndez
Víctor Viana is seen by many as the foremost authority on Spanish tax law. However, he has also impressed many in the market with the depth of his knowledge of international tax matters. Despite being highly in demand among many of the most prestigious companies, he also has a reputation for being permanently available to clients who may have concerns that need addressing quickly. High profile deals in which Viana provided tax advice included TPG Real Estate Partners’ recent purchase of 75 per cent of the shares of Spanish real estate investment trust Témpore Properties Socimi for €247 million. In total, Viana has provided tax advice on deals with a total value of €5 billion in the last 12 months.
05. FERNANDO TORRENTE Allen & Overy
One of the leading rainmakers in the Spanish market, Allen & Overy partner Fernando Torrente is not only a leading M&A lawyer, but also has a reputation as a top-class capital markets lawyer. His in-depth knowledge often makes him the top pick for clients looking to finalise megadeals in Spain. It consequently came as no surprise when he was instructed by Cepsa when the business needed guidance on the sale of a 30 per cent stake in the energy company for €3 billion. In the last 12 months, Torrente has advised on deals with a total value of around €22 billion.
06. ALEJANDRO TOURIÑO Ecija
Managing partner of Ecija and the firm’s head of information technology, Touriño is widely regarded to be not only one of the most innovative lawyers in Spain, but in the whole of Europe. One such innovation that has earned plaudits at an international level is its app “Data Forecast”, that predicts “with a percentage close to 90 per cent” the risk of sanctions related to data protection. The algorithm, in addition to analysing and processing the information, estimates the size of the penalty and the estimated resolution period. However, in addition to being a tech whizz, Touriño has also led an astonishing expansion drive, which has seen the firm merge with a staggering 12 firms (in Spain, Portugal and Latin America) in the last two years, including five in the last year alone. Touriño has made no secret of his belief that “size matters” with the result that Ecija has 420 lawyers and an annual revenue of €44.5 million, which represents a 12 per cent increase in billing when compared to the previous year.
07. JAVIER AMANTEGUI Clifford Chance
A prolific dealmaker, charismatic Clifford Chance partner Javier Amantegui is reputed in the market for his considerable technical ability, while his commercially minded approach has won many plaudits with clients. His straightforward, ‘no nonsense’ style has resulted in him gaining enormous respect as a negotiator with clients also being impressed with his focus on finding solutions. In the last year, Amantegui advised on deals with a total value of around €6 billion. In one of the biggest deals in Spain in the last 12 months, Amantegui led a team of Clifford Chance lawyers advising EQT on the financing of the €1.2 billion acquisition of Parques Reunidos.
08. CHRISTIAN HOEDL Uría Menéndez
The man who leads Uría Menéndez’s M&A and private equity practice, Christian Hoedl regularly advises national and international funds on deals and has been a key player in all the private equity deals in Spain involving quoted companies. Financing and re-financing are also areas in which Hoedl excels, with the result that clients widely praise him for his versatility. His multi-faceted career marks him out as one of the key figures in the Spanish legal market.
09. IÑIGO BERRICANO Linklaters
Linklaters’ Madrid managing partner Iñigo Berricano has a well-earned reputation as one of the most perceptive lawyers in the Spanish market, as well as having one of its sharpest minds. His ability to quickly distil the key issues involved in a particular matter make him an invaluable partner to the most prestigious clients. His client-centric approach to legal advice has also won him many admirers in the market. He has also proved to be a highly effective leader too, overseeing a 15 per cent increase in revenue for the Madrid office in the last year, with billing rising to €15 million.
10. JAIME VELÁZQUEZ Clifford Chance
An accomplished networker with considerable personal charm, Clifford Chance Spain managing partner Jaime Velazquez has demonstrated assured leadership of the firm in the last 12 months. The firm is nurturing a dynamic young team of M&A lawyers that is starting to make waves in the Spanish transactional market. But unlike some managing partners whose legal work starts to diminish when they get the top job, Velazquez has also turned on the gas with regard to his own dealmaking in the last 12 months – he has been one of the firm’s top performers in 2019, being part of the teams that advised on Forestalia’s sale of a wind farm.
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