In 1971 Fernando Pombo and Ignacio Gómez-Acebo conceived a law firm with a vision of being the first Spanish firm with an international projection. They were pioneers in providing service to international clients who required advice in respect of the Spanish market and demanded excellence and cultural affinity. Convinced that success is only achieved through effort, discipline, and an organization focused on the client and which knows how to stay ahead of the client’s needs, they founded a firm dedicated to providing excellent service. Preserving these principles and values, today we are an international firm with a network deployed throughout the principal cities in Spain, as well as Brussels, Lisbon, London and New York. Many of the companies and organizations for which we work have accompanied us since our beginnings.
Fernando Pombo (1943-2011), born in Santander and Chairman of the Firm until his death on November 4, 2011, was a self-made individual who took advantage to the utmost of all opportunities he sought in life. Music and sailing were his great passions, along with his profession.
Fernando studied Philosophy and Law at the Universidad de Oviedo and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1965) and obtained his doctorate in Geneva and at the Max Planck Institute in Munich. He was a guest professor at the International Institute for Legal Studies in Salzburg, in collaboration with the University of the Pacific – McGeorge School of Law (1985-2011), and a regular lecturer at the universities of Paris (Sorbonne), Florence, Montpellier as well as in the United States (Georgetown, Fordham and Harvard), inter alia.
He was one of the pioneers in internationalizing Spanish legal practice, with the vision that modernizing and democratizing Spain entailed opening up the world of business abroad, where the practice of law played a relevant role. From a very young age he was actively involved in the IBA (International Bar Association), the largest international association of lawyers – which pools together more than 45,000 lawyers from more than 200 countries. After more than twenty-five years of service in executive positions within the organization, he was appointed Chairman (2007-2008).
He received the Great Cross of Merit in the Service of Law – the highest distinction of the profession awarded by the Spanish General Council for the Practice of Law (2005), the Medal of Honor of the Madrid Bar Association (2008), the Medal of the Barcelona Bar Association (2009), the Medal of Honor of the Málaga Bar Association (2009), the Aptissimi Award granted by the ESADE Alumni Law Club (2011) and the Iberian Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award (2005), all in recognition of his professional career and his work in promoting the practice of law internationally.
Ignacio Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada (1932-2011) was the honorary Chairman of the Firm until his death on March 27, 2011.
In the decade of the 1960’s, he was also a founding member of the Grupo Tácito, a group of Spanish intellectuals, politicians and journalists who intended to impregnate society with demo-Christian (and later also liberal) ideas within a reformist, non-rupturist project, close to what would later be the thesis of the Central Democratic Union (Unión de Centro Democrático; UCD).
Holding a Law Degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad de Salamanca, he began his professional career working in the industrial property agency Clarke, Modet & Co., which then had only three employees. Ignacio was the primary driver of the international expansion of Clarke, Modet & Co. which today has more than 350 employees and a presence in ten countries. That vision he had with Clarke, Modet & Co. was a constant factor in his extensive professional career. He was a true promoter of the re-structuring and modernization of Spanish enterprise and encouraged the installation of the major multinational corporations in a country that was re-opening itself to the world.
He also founded the Universidad San Pablo, he was a trustee of the Standing Committee of the National Library and Chairman of the European Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange. A member of the Madrid Bar Association since 1962, Ignacio Gómez-Acebo also held the positions of Chairman of Chrysler Financial Corporation, AXA and Nokia Spain.
Throughout his extensive professional career, he was honored with the Great Cross of Civil Merit, he was an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and a Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland.