More foreign firms to open in Spain?

Foreign law firms will open new offices in Spain in the coming year, predicts Juan E. Díaz, managing partner of Eversheds Nicea.

He adds that the Spanish market currently offers a range of opportunities for firms in several different sectors.
“I think there will be consolidation among law firms in Spain,” he says. “We are going to see a wave of change with partners leaving certain firms and starting new ones.”
Díaz expects there to be some new entrants to the Spanish market. “We will see newcomers to the market – foreign law firms, possibly from the US.”
Which sectors offer the biggest opportunities for law firms in Spain at the moment? “We´re seeing more activity in the food and drink, health, industry and leisure sectors,” Díaz says. “We´re also seeing real growth in real estate and mergers and acquisitions.”
Díaz says that increasingly, clients are demanding that law firms are able to offer the services of an international network. He adds that this is particularly the case in the infrastructure and engineering sectors. “Local companies, and by that I mean mid-sized companies as well as big companies, are looking to expand into international markets, for example in Latin America and Asia.”
Meanwhile, Díaz says that Spain is currently a good market for international investors, particularly those interested in distressed debt and distressed companies.
One of the biggest challenges now facing law firms is the fact that clients are now demanding greater predictability on costs and greater efficiency. “Law firms need to be more flexible,” he says. “It´s difficult to find clients that want to pay hourly rates to law firms, they increasingly want fixed fees, capped fees and success fees – it means that firms have to adapt their internal processes.”