Iberian Lawyer Top 30 Portugal

In a pioneering piece of research, Iberian Lawyer reveals the biggest law firms in Portugal by revenue – though firms have been notoriously secretive about the income they generate, here we disclose information about the finances of the country’s leading firms as well as details about the top performing firms in terms of revenue per partner and revenue per lawyer

The combined revenue of Portugal’s Top 30 law firms totalled nearly half a billion euros in 2018, according to new research by Iberian Lawyer. Though the Portuguese market has traditionally taken a highly secretive approach to law firm revenues, Iberian Lawyer has broken new ground by publishing information about the income of the country’s leading law firms. In general, firms declined to provide official revenue figures, but Iberian Lawyer sources have enabled us to develop a picture of the financial health of Portugal’s major firms. The combined revenue of the top 30 firms totalled €443.7 million. The biggest biller was Morais Leitão, where revenue stood at €58.3 million last year. This represented an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year. Real estate work was a key driver of growth for the firm, which is led by managing partner Nuno Galvão Teles. Our sources indicate that revenue per partner at Morais Leitão is approximately €911,000 – this is at the high end of the scale compared to most of the Top 30, though it is lower than the comparable figures at some of the foreign firms with offices in Portugal, such as Linklaters and Uría Menéndez, for example. Revenue per lawyer at Morais Leitão stands at €261,000, a figure that is bettered by only three firms in the Top 30.

The second biggest firm by revenue in Portugal is PLMJ where revenue totalled €55 million in 2018, an increase of more than 13 per cent on the previous year. The firm’s headcount stood at 298 lawyers in 2018, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year, and a figure that made it the biggest firm in Portugal in terms of lawyer numbers. Growth at the firm, which is headed by managing partner Luís Miguel Pais Antunes, was attributed to substantial investment in the Portuguese real estate, infrastructure and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME sectors). Revenue per partner at PLMJ stands at €902,000, while revenue per lawyer totals €185,000, which is considerably less than that at Morais Leitão, for example.

Vieira de Almeida (VdA) was the Portuguese law firm with the third highest revenue in Portugal last year. Billing totalled €52 million in 2018, a 2 per cent increase on the previous year. Key drivers of growth at the firm – which is led by João Vieira de Almeida – included work for private equity funds, as well as pension and infrastructure funds.

What will surprise many in the market is the size of the revenue being generated by Uría Menéndez’s practice in Portugal. Though widely recognised as a prestigious firm that carries out highly sophisticated work, few will have anticipated exactly how successful the firm has been in the country. The firm’s Portuguese practice billed €32 million in 2018, which means it is now the fourth largest law firm in Portugal by revenue.

To read the article in full please download issue N.86 here

Juan fernandez