THE FIRM This heavyweight Spanish firm has one of the largest tax departments in the country. The team handles the full range of related matters, including transfer pricing, indirect tax, ecotax, real estate, sports and financial tax, and contentious issues. Recently, the lawyers advised Inveravante on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Petrotesting Colombia.
Sources say: "This firm has all the resources you might need but maintains the same level of involvement as smaller outfits. The lawyers adapt to our needs and always meet deadlines."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Outstanding" corporate tax and wealth management expert Carles Puig remains one of the most admired figures in the market. According to clients, "tax is an ever-changing field and he's always up to date. He is enthusiastic and always strives to achieve the best outcome." Tax litigator Miró Ayats Vergés makes clients feel "extremely safe." As another source remarks, "there's nobody like him when it comes to playing with the law." International taxation specialist Alejandro Escoda has amassed enviable experience in the field. Young partner Ignacio Costa impresses interviewees, with one stating: "I'd give him a ten out of ten: in spite of his youth he has an incredible amount of expertise and is practical, solution-oriented and always available." Andrés Sánchez López focuses on international tax and transfer pricing, and is recognised as "an excellent professional." Clients agree that Jorge Arqués "is more than a lawyer: he understands the corporate world and the authorities extremely well and is very open-minded." Sources describe Gustavo Gutiérrez as "a seasoned player with an amazing technical capacity: you could never find any gaps in his knowledge or catch him out." He is particularly sought after for his experience in the biotechnology sector. Martí Adroer advises large Spanish and multinational companies on the tax issues arising from restructuring and divestments.
THE FIRM This sizeable department remains a top choice for major clients such as Telefónica, Iberdrola, Iberia and BBVA. With 93 partners leading a team of over 560 tax specialists, Garrigues has the resources and expertise to handle the most complex matters. Recently, the lawyers advised Grupo Allianz on a EUR1 billion joint venture established with Grupo Banco Popular.
Sources say: "The lawyers are technically brilliant, flexible and very much in touch with the needs of the client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Ricardo Gómez receives resounding praise from interviewees, with one stating that "he is, in my opinion, the best tax lawyer in Spain." Interviewees commend former tax inspector Abelardo Delgado for his "vast expertise and capacity to explain everything clearly and make complicated matters easy." International taxation and VAT specialist Eduardo Gardeta is highly rated for his work in this area. He has an impressive client list which includes Vodafone and France Telecom. Clients admire Ángel Calleja for his "global vision: he won't stick only to tax issues, he understands the company as a whole and is also very creative." The highly praised Eduardo Abad Valdenebro frequently handles tax matters associated with restructurings and M&A transactions. Barcelona-based Albert Collado enjoys a noteworthy reputation for his expertise in international taxation.
THE FIRM With offices in Madrid and Barcelona and a team of 37 tax specialists, this international giant has a solid presence in the Spanish tax market and an outstanding reputation. The team's areas of expertise include national and international tax planning, transfer pricing and tax litigation. In a recent work highlight, the lawyers assisted Torreal with the tax aspects of its USD1.3 billion acquisition of Saba Infraestructuras.
Sources say: "This is a team of dedicated, first-class professionals who work closely with the client: they listen to my input, creating a symbiosis which provides added value."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Luis Briones Fernández maintains his excellent reputation: "He's an absolute star, an authority: his knowledge of the corporate world is extraordinary and he always finds solutions to the most complex problems." Clients admire Maria Azpeitia's wealth of knowledge of indirect tax, with one client stating that "she's a walking encyclopaedia." Another interviewee considers her to be "highly intelligent and versatile, as well as pragmatic and fast." Rodrigo Ogea co-heads the practice and enjoys a strong market profile, with clients describing him as "creative, responsive and trustworthy." Practice co-head Pedro Aguarón is renowned for his prowess on cross-border tax structurings. "Agile and reliable" Isabel De Otaola handles transactional tax, with a particular focus on cross-border investment.
THE FIRM The team of ten tax specialists at this elite global firm is famous for its prowess on transactional matters, but is also well equipped to handle litigation. The group represents leading private equity players such as Advent International and Permira, and recently assisted the former with its acquisition of a 94.5% stake in TINSA Tasaciones Inmobiliarias. Other clients of note are Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and ABN AMRO.
Sources say: "The lawyers are rigorous, practical and possess excellent knowledge of M&A. My impression is that this team is part of a whole: the different departments within the firm are extremely well integrated."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Miguel Lorán "brings innovative and viable solutions to the table," say interviewees. Silvia Paternain is "brilliant and very used to thinking outside the box; she's enormously creative." Young associate Bosco Montejo is "technically excellent, proactive and reacts immediately: you don't have to ask twice."
THE FIRM This heavyweight Spanish firm houses a team of ten partners and 40 associates specialising in tax. The group has enjoyed a busy year: it acted on behalf of some of the most notable financial institutions in Spain and abroad, as well as corporations in the energy, telecoms and real estate sectors. Key mandates include handling la Caixa's EUR9.5 billion reorganisation.
Sources say: "These lawyers combine technical expertise with a sense of practicality: they understand both the law and the authorities, and are able to anticipate the responses of the latter."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rafael García Llaneza is a reference point for corporate and non-resident tax and accounting matters. His recent workload has included project finance in the telecoms and renewables sectors. Jesús López Tello recently advised Isolux Corsán Concesiones on the structuring of a USD480 million joint venture to construct seven power lines in Texas. Juan Antonio Fernández-Velilla leads the tax section of the firm's French desk and is, according to interviewees, "brilliant: once you explain the problem he'll dissect the whole matter, put the best possible team together and suggest the best solutions." Practice head Rafael Fuster is "one of the truly great lawyers; he understands clients and is able to adapt to each situation. He has an excellent chemistry with us and manages to relax tense situations while always remaining professional," enthuses a client. Guillermo Canalejo co-heads the Middle East practice and is "technically strong, responsive and easy to work with." Corporate tax expert Víctor Viana is "extremely diligent and pragmatic," say clients. Former tax inspector Miguel Cremades, who heads the tax section of the firm's German desk, "understands the authorities extremely well and is hard-working and personable."
THE FIRM The two-partner tax team at this prestigious international firm acts for prominent financial institutions including Santander, Merrill Lynch and BNP Paribas. Although the group also handles tax litigation, transactional work is a cornerstone of its practice. High-profile assignments include assisting Santander with the tax aspects of its international real estate investments.
Sources say: "The lawyers offer an excellent service and balanced recommendations - they're not too aggressive or too conservative. They're fast, rigorous and proactive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pablo Serrano de Haro was recently named partner and is "brilliant: he's young but knowledgeable, practical and solution-oriented," a client remarks. Young associate Álvaro Muñoz is another "fantastic" member of the team.
THE FIRM This major international player has continued to expand its presence in Spain, where it now has over 340 professionals dedicated to national and international corporate and M&A tax, transfer pricing and indirect tax. The firm has excellent geographical coverage, with 20 offices strategically distributed throughout the country. Recent successes include assisting NH Hotels with the tax issues arising from its divestment of assets in the UK.
Sources say: "The firm has a lot of resources in the jurisdictions where we work, so it can offer inside knowledge. It is also crystal clear about potential issues in a transaction."
KEY INDIVIDUALS VAT expert David Gómez Aragon attracts praise for his pragmatic approach and vast knowledge in this area. Prior to joining the firm, Ricardo Gómez Acebo spent 20 years in the international tax department of the Ministry of Economy. He gains admiration for his vast knowledge and pragmatic approach. International tax specialist Enrique López is a key member of the team.
THE FIRM This global giant continues to expand in Spain. Following its mergers with Castro, Sueiro y Varela, Abogados Ubilex and Cusan Abogados, it now offers a team of over 530 specialists who handle the full array of tax matters. In a recent highlight, the group assisted Santander with its acquisition of 70.4% of Bank Zachodni WBK. Other noteworthy clients are Telefónica, BBVA and Iberdrola.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Natalia Pastor Caballero attracts praise for her prowess in indirect tax matters. VAT expert Joaquím Herrera counts Aena amongst his clients. Víctor Mendoza handles the tax issues associated with finance deals. Transfer pricing specialist Montserrat Trapé is "really excellent," affirm sources.
THE FIRM Linklaters climbs a tier this year to reflect its high-profile work. The relatively compact team of five handles the tax aspects of restructuring, private equity and M&A transactions, and also covers contentious matters. It acts for prominent Spanish and international clients such as Lloyds TSB, Goldman Sachs and Santander. Its recent track record includes advising Barclays Bank and BNP Paribas as dealer managers of Caja Madrid's EUR16 billion exchange offer.
Sources say: "These aren't lawyers who will say 'yes, more or less': they always make their position clear and help you to reach decisions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients admire practice head Javier García-Pita, who "doesn't stay on the surface. He is proactive, creative and strives to achieve the most robust structure possible."
THE FIRM This well-respected team remains a popular choice for transactional matters, particularly those with a cross-border element. High-profile assignments include advising Nisshin OilliO on its EUR26 million acquisition of Industrial Química Lasem, and assisting Credit Suisse and Banco Itaú with the USD700 million financing of Petersen Group's acquisition of a stake in Repsol YPF.
Sources say: "The lawyers responded to our needs and those of our business partners and were extremely agile in the use of the firm's wider network."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Carlos Albiñana is "friendly and has great technical expertise. He is also responsive and a deal maker: you can trust him," say clients.
THE FIRM Although this seven-lawyer team is best known for its transactional and transfer pricing expertise, it also covers tax planning and litigation, receiving excellent reviews for its work in this area. Key assignments include advising Caja Madrid on the tax issues arising from the merger of Iberia and British Airways.
Sources say: "These lawyers do sophisticated work and maintain an excellent balance between a commercial approach and what can and can't be done, always considering our best interests."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients speak highly of practice head Eduardo Gracia: "He's perfectly bilingual in English and Spanish, and it was extremely helpful to have that seamlessness between the local language and us. He explains the reality on the ground, can see what's coming up on the horizon and is highly proactive."
THE FIRM Despite the departure of Santiago Díez, this esteemed team maintains a strong market presence. It assists with the full array of tax matters, including transactional and planning issues, tax litigation, indirect tax and transfer pricing.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Víctor Hernán recently moved to the team from KPMG Abogados. He focuses on the tax aspects of M&A and cross-border transactions.
THE FIRM This esteemed Spanish firm has 36 tax specialists based across its offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. Although the group also handles litigation, it is best known for its transactional expertise and often assists Spanish and multinational companies with such matters. Important recent mandates include advising Caixa Nova on the tax aspects of the EUR157 million sale of 35% of R Cable to CVC Capital Partners.
Sources say: "The lawyers have vast knowledge of the market, are solution-focused and analyse everything carefully - they don't answer too quickly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Heribert Padrol is considered by his peers to be "a classic tax lawyer," and clients describe him as "extraordinarily good."
THE FIRM Best known for its expertise in tax planning and transactional work, this prestigious team also handles litigation and has experienced an increase in this type of assignment of late. Recent successes include advising Chevron Global Energy on the tax issues associated with the divestment of several assets in Spain.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Nicolás Martín is "a truly strong partner: he has excellent expertise, a sense of practicality and is always available," say clients.
THE FIRM This five-strong team comes highly recommended for tax issues related to the purchase and financing of assets and restructuring. It serves a diverse client base which includes financial institutions, production companies and private equity houses, and recently assisted Boluda Corporación Marítima with the tax matters related to its reorganisation.
Sources say: "These lawyers have a pragmatic vision and quickly make imaginative proposals. Their international capacity is also excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients highlight Miguel Angel Sánchez's deep expertise, as well as his dedication and availability: "At some firms, getting in touch with the partner is impossible; but Mr Sánchez is always there, and if he's on the phone he'll call you back within five minutes."
THE FIRM Interviewees point to this team's connection to the wider PwC network as a key strength. The lawyers assist companies and individuals with tax planning, transfer pricing, indirect tax and international tax, and are highly rated for their expertise and responsiveness.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Miguel Blasco is well known for his prowess on finance-related matters. Miguel Cruz Amorós is "technically impeccable, brings a strategic vision and handles conflicts extremely well." Alberto Monreal comes recommended for indirect tax issues.
THE FIRM With ten offices in Spain and an extensive global network, this firm's geographical offering is one of the best. It is particularly popular amongst multinationals, and sought after for its expertise in international tax, transfer pricing and M&A-related advice.
Sources say: "These lawyers are flexible both in their approach and when it comes to fees."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Highly respected Javier Martín handles indirect tax work. Federico Linares heads the international tax services department and wins accolades for his expertise. Eduardo Sanfrutos has a wealth of experience in corporate tax. José Luis Gonzalo is renowned for his prowess in international taxation.
THE FIRM This firm has considerable international capacity in the tax field and is a favourite amongst global clients such as Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Barclays. It focuses on transactional and finance-related matters, and recently handled the tax aspects of Abengoa's USD650 million senior notes issue.
Sources say: "The lawyers were completely available, at any time of the day. They were also technically proficient and explained their advice extremely well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "magnificent" Jordi Domínguez leads the team. According to clients, he is "highly experienced and doesn't leave any loose ends."
THE FIRM Eight lawyers make up the tax team at this high-quality Spanish firm. The practice handles transactional and contentious work, and recently assisted Contax with the tax aspects of its EUR146 million acquisition of Allus. Other clients of note are Santander, E.ON and Abengoa.
Sources say: "At this firm you deal with the partners directly, they're not just faces that you see at the beginning. They're very involved and this gives you peace of mind and inspires a lot of trust."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Javier Fernández Cuenca frequently handles the tax issues associated with M&A and real estate transactions. He is, according to interviewees, "brilliant: he can listen and understands not only the Spanish market but the overall picture." Former tax inspector Clara Jiménez Jiménez is "enormously responsible, hard-working, involved, creative and intelligent," say clients. Young associate Marta Moreno de Alborán also wins praise for her work in this area: "She's detail-oriented, practical and has excellent mathematical ability."
THE FIRM This relatively compact but hard-hitting group of four lends its expertise to Spanish and international clients, covering the tax matters associated with M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions. Recent successes include assisting EDP Energias de Portugal with the tax issues related to its acquisition of a EUR617 million stake in Naturgás.
Sources say: "We're extremely satisfied with this team of rigorous and dedicated experts."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Alberto Ruano is "extraordinary: easy to work with, pragmatic, objective and doesn't get lost in the detail; he goes straight to the point without lingering on superficial matters."
THE FIRM Despite the departure of partner Álvaro de la Vía, this compact team maintains a strong position in the small and mid-cap market. Although the group is best known for its expertise in M&A and corporate matters, it also handles contentious issues and recently assisted 3i with an appeal filed at the Supreme Court. Other clients of note are Temporis Capital and RHJ International.
Sources say: "The compact size of this team proves an advantage: the senior partners get extremely involved, are easy to contact and always respond immediately. They are knowledgeable, practical and make things simple."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Javier Prieto Ruiz recently joined the firm from Ramón y Cajal. Clients describe him as "serious, technically strong and responsive" and admire his capacity to understand their needs.
THE FIRM This prestigious tax boutique debuts in the rankings this year following outstanding reviews. It offers a substantial team of tax specialists, many of whom have experience of working in the civil service. In addition, the firm has a network of offices strategically distributed across the country, including in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Ibiza.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Manuel Farnós Jaques and Francisco Franch Romaní are the firm's managing partners. Felipe Alonso moved to the team from CMS in early 2012. Clients declare themselves extremely happy with him, with one affirming that "he's one of the best tax lawyers in Spain."
Since publication, Felipe Alonso has joined GTA VILLAMAGNA
THE FIRM A new name in the tax rankings, this four-strong team impresses clients with its expertise and service levels. Working out of Madrid and Valencia, the lawyers offer advice on all manner of tax issues associated with transactions and restructurings, as well as tax planning and contentious matters. Noteworthy clients include Ford, Vueling and Balearia.
Sources say: "The lawyers are meticulous and practical. They offer specific advice and non-standard solutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Madrid-based Javier Morera gains admiration for his expertise in national and international taxation.
THE FIRM The Spanish office of this international firm houses four tax specialists who handle a broad range of matters, including transfer pricing, VAT and litigation. It recently advised CVC Capital Partners on the tax aspects of its EUR335 million acquisition of a 70% stake in R Cable y Telecomunicaciones de Galicia.
Sources say: "The lawyers understand our business model and the authorities very well, and identify the potential issues that we might face. Highly pragmatic, fast and responsive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients commend Miguel Baz for his know-how: "He has a lot of experience and stays up to date. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of the tax authorities and provides extremely sound advice." Interviewees enjoy working with practice head Carlos Rodríguez: "He's a good listener as well as accessible and punctual."
THE FIRM The team of ten tax experts at this mid-sized firm operates out of Madrid and Barcelona. Through its alliance with international giant Mayer Brown, Ramón y Cajal enjoys a wide network of global contacts, and counts BMW, ING and IKEA amongst its clients.
Sources say: "The lawyers provide added value with their technical expertise, responsiveness and proactivity."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Andrés Jiménez García is the first port of call.
THE FIRM This domestic firm has its origins in Barcelona, where it enjoys particular renown. It also has offices in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Shanghai, and acts for a varied client base which includes Spanish and international financial institutions, manufacturers and airlines. The lawyers recently assisted Lactalis with its EUR630 million acquisition of Puleva Food. In January 2012, the firm joined Nabarro's international alliance.
Sources say: "The lawyers are superb: technically strong, friendly, responsive and always willing to help."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Madrid-based Isidro del Saz Cordero has over 25 years' experience in the field. He specialises in tax planning and the tax issues associated with restructuring.
THE FIRM This well-respected firm has its headquarters in Barcelona, as well as an office in Madrid. Its three-partner tax team assists domestic and international clients with tax planning, litigation and transactional matters.
Sources say: "Its approach is extremely open-minded; it has a fresh perspective on solving problems."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients enjoy working with Jorge Sarró: "He's extremely personable, and as a lawyer he's technically skilled and digs deep; he really looks after you and gives you peace of mind." Sources also recommend practice head José María Durán and highlight his experience and know-how as key strengths.
José Luis Prada
of Fornesa Prada Fernández Abogados is a well-respected market figure with years of experience. A former tax inspector, he has "deep technical knowledge and the capacity to listen, understand where your interests lie and explain issues in a clear way,"
say clients. Pablo Alarcón
of Alarcón Espinosa Abogados maintains his robust position in the market. José María Cusí
joined Amat & Vidal-Quadras in September 2012. He has a wealth of experience and clients point to his "global vision, and proactive, solution-focused approach." Álvaro de la Vía
of Olswang impresses interviewees with his hands-on style and expertise in Spanish and international tax issues. Corporate all-rounder Santiago Díez
of Marimón Abogados handles M&A, restructurings and tax matters for companies and family groups. Peers acknowledge that Carlos Casanova Caballero
of Estudio Jurídico Chamartín is "exceptional: an old hand who's still very much active and incredibly solid." Immaculada Sallent Roig
of Jausas handles corporate tax as part of a mixed practice which also covers restructuring and wealth management. She is, according to clients, "fast, pragmatic and knowledgeable: she has strong accountancy expertise in addition to her legal acumen."
Young partner Gema de la Calle
heads the tax practice at Mavens Abogados. She is "extremely organised and thorough. She listens and makes your objectives her own,"
say clients. Luis Soto
of Watson, Farley & Williams "is fast and responsive, and explains things so that you will understand and feel confident that you're making the right decisions."
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