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By Joanne Harris 4 June 2019

Iberian firm Garrigues has lost its position as Europe’s largest independent law firm, according to The Lawyer’s European 100 report, with a French firm claiming the title after a rise in turnover of nearly 8 per cent.

French giant Fidal has regained its spot at the top, posting a turnover rise from €341.3m in 2017 to €367m last year. The firm displaces Iberian firm Garrigues into second place, despite Garrigues also reporting a rise in revenue. The Spanish-headquartered firm saw turnover rise 2.1 per cent from €357.1m to €364.6m in 2018.

Fidal last held the number one position in The Lawyer‘s European 100 rankings in 2015, before faster growth by Garrigues pushed it into second.

The French firm is also the Continent’s largest legal employer, with 2,311 staff and lawyers under its roof last year, 200 more than Garrigues.

However, Fidal’s lead will not last for long. It was hit in early 2019 by the news that KPMG was hiring a team of 145 lawyers from its Paris office, a loss which is likely to dent 2019 turnover as well as headcount numbers. Fidal is fighting the move and has hired fellow European 100 member Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier to represent it in potential court proceedings.

The top 10 firms in Europe based on 2018 financial results are the same as in 2017, including three Iberian firms and four German firms, but the ordering has changed with varying fortunes.

Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira has overtaken Hengeler Mueller into fourth position after an impressive year of double-digit growth to €277m. A similar increase by Noerr, up to €250m, means it is now the sixth-largest independent firm in Europe, ahead of Uría Menéndez.

German multidisciplinary practice Rödl & Partner and Italy’s BonelliErede slot into the rankings in eighth and ninth, ahead of Gleiss Lutz.

All of the top 10 now produce turnover of at least €200m after Gleiss Lutz reached this milestone in 2018. Collectively they turned over €2.73bn last year, up 5 per cent from €2.6bn the previous year.