In what should be difficult times, our annual Euro Elite survey finds the 100 leading firms across more than 40 jurisdictions largely in great shape and looking forward to 2022 – with clearly no room for doom and gloom.
The European Commission’s Winter 2022 Economic Forecast projects that, following a notable expansion by 5.3% in 2021, the EU economy will grow by 4% in 2022 and 2.8% in 2023. Growth in the euro area is also expected at 4% in 2022, moderating to 2.7% in 2023. The EU as a whole reached its pre-pandemic level of GDP in the third quarter of 2021 and all member states are projected to have passed this milestone by the end of 2022. The comments coming back from the leading independent law firms across the region reflect this macroeconomic picture – they are generally in rude health. Continue reading “Euro Elite Overview: Sterner stuff”
The relatively small markets of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia enjoy a strong reputation for legal know-how on behalf of international investors, which has ensured that the bigger Baltic firms were able to weather the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic unscathed, easily changing emphasis to respond to quickly shifting and time-sensitive legal mandates.
Consequently, there is a general pattern that has developed since 2020: many reported a momentary freeze in work in the early months of the pandemic. This led to an increase in contentious corporate disputes, restructuring, and refinancing, all expected consequences of an economic downturn. Continue reading “Euro Elite Baltics: Closer together”
Independent law firms across the Benelux region have gone into 2022 with a renewed sense of optimism, with them successfully withstanding the challenges of Covid-19 to continue winning exciting new mandates. Reflective of the buoyant mood of the market, at Stibbe, Brussels managing partner Wouter Ghijsels says: ‘Last year was our best year in terms of turnover. Our office is growing, and things are actually going extremely well in Brussels.’
Deal activity in Belgium has remained high since summer 2020, with firms reporting unprecedented demand from clients, as pre-pandemic trends in debt markets reassert themselves. 2021 saw an increase in activity from private equity funds, with the TMT, logistics and industrial sectors doing particularly well. Real estate, after a period of uncertainty, has once again become a sought-after asset, with centrally-located office space, logistics property and data centres in particular proving attractive targets for international investors, REITs and portfolio holders. Continue reading “Euro Elite Benelux: Full steam ahead”
The second year of the Covid-19 crisis has seen French firms busier than ever. Following an initial slowdown between March and May at the beginning of the pandemic, the Paris market has more than picked itself up since early summer 2020. As corporates and investors adapted to life under Covid rules and French courts opened up again, firms across all areas of the legal market report extremely high levels of activity.
As interest rates remain low, firms are struggling to keep pace with the big appetite for mergers and acquisitions. LBO specialists in particular shouldered more transactions in 2021 than in the year before the pandemic hit. The Paris fund formation teams also report a buzzing market, partly caused by a necessity to fund restructurings, but mainly driven by the economy’s staggering comeback. In the venture and growth capital scene, the extremely busy market, and in particular the heavy investments made by US and UK investors, has caused a rise in the number of new firms specialising in venture and growth capital transactions. Continue reading “Euro Elite France: Vive l’autonomie”
Though the landscape has shifted as a result of the pandemic, the entry of international players and the ongoing digital transformation, independent law firms in Spain and Portugal continue to rise to the occasion.
The M&A market took an inevitable knock due to Covid-19, but Spanish firms’ optimism appeared justified, with high liquidity and low interest rates continuing to fuel M&A activity in 2021. ‘There has been strong investor interest in sectors such as renewable energy, technology, real estate, health, finance and agri-food,’ notes Fernando Vives, executive chair of Garrigues. Continue reading “Euro Elite Iberia: Aiming high”
The past six years have been a turbulent period for the Irish economy, with uncertainties surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU quickly followed by the impact of Covid-19. Despite these external shocks, however, Ireland’s economy has performed strongly relative to the rest of Europe, with the country’s technology and pharmaceutical sectors particular bright spots. In addition to continued foreign direct investment, the domestic economy has overperformed expectations in spite of prolonged periods of restrictions, and ambitious targets on climate change are driving the development of new energy infrastructure.
Multinationals remain a major engine of Irish economic growth. Dublin is home to a host of household names in the tech space, including Apple, Google and TikTok, which established a base in the Irish capital in 2021. The presence of these tech giants in Ireland has wide-ranging effects on the Irish economy, with increased demand for Dublin office space and data centre infrastructure two particularly visible trends. Continue reading “Euro Elite Ireland: Setting the pace”
Our Euro Elite report in 2021 noted how the Italian legal landscape, dominated by independent law firms, had been more resilient to the pandemic than initially predicted. A year later, with the global crisis still not over, the verdict still holds true. With its consistently healthy market, Italy’s future outlook remains positive.
Italian law firms across the board saw their turnover increase by an average of 4% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Looking at the firms with the highest turnover, only 10% registered a decline, while 20% were able to maintain the same revenues. Meanwhile, a striking 70% reported growth of varying degrees – from feeble to impressive. Within this group are, on the one hand, international firms with a strong Italian presence that were able to consolidate their position and, on the other, independent Italian players including Legance, Chiomenti and Advant Nctm, while multi-practice boutique firm Pedersoli also achieved remarkable success. Continue reading “Euro Elite Italy: La dolce vita”
Across the Nordic region, the Covid-19 crisis meant firms faced challenges in terms of adapting to remote working requirements and new regulations. The early days of the pandemic saw a noticeable dip across the board in terms of new work coming into firms, and transactional activity slowed down, but despite the ongoing uncertainty, the market has proven resilient.
‘The Norwegian legal market has proven to be very robust with high growth over time,’ observes Thomas K. Svensen, managing partner of BAHR. ‘Despite an uncertain global situation, the strong and stable outlook for the Norwegian economy continues to attract activity which again fuels an already strong legal market.’ Continue reading “Euro Elite Nordics: Complete package”