Mid-sized law firms in Spain still have a lot to offer major clients – even those that may have significant in-house capabilities – argue Pedro Rueda and Francisco Aldavero, partners at Madrid-based Araoz & Rueda in Madrid.
“Although the Spanish market is small and there are very few transactions that as a firm we can’t handle, we’re always honest with our clients at the outset about projects that are too large for us, or by the same token, not in our field of expertise,” explains Rueda. “Everyone talks about legal project management these days but we’ve been implementing that approach for years. We do not pretend to be experts all the time.”
It is this approach that is key to the success of mid-sized law firms, says Francisco Aldavero. “Over the years, we have remained specialised in the same areas and this is what clients value,” he argues. “There are plenty of knowledgeable lawyers out there – and with the transparency that the internet provides, anybody can get any information on any sector – but not every firm has experience and a high level of partner involvement.”
Aldavero adds that while mid-sized law firms face the risk of clients becoming acquainted with larger law firms and deciding to remain with them, clients greatly appreciate the advisory work some mid-sized firms offer, as opposed to “purely execution” of the matter in hand. It is by leveraging these points of difference that some mid-sized firms have seen an increasing number of large European clients choosing to retain their services, alongside big firms that are able to handle large-scale work such as due diligence reviews. Experienced partners handling matters is also appreciated by clients, says Rueda. “To deliver the type of service we offer, our clients do demand grey hair,” he adds.