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The Legal 500 Latin America

PACKED OFF TO THE PRINTERS

by MIKE NASH | 4TH AUGUST 2016

The Legal 500 UK 2016/17 edition (covering solicitors and barristers) and The Legal 500 Latin America 2016 edition have been safely packed off to the printers after a mammoth effort by staff here and at many hundreds of law firms and sets. As ever, we're very grateful to every lawyer, BD or marketing person involved in the research processes, as well as the well over 100,000 referees that we contacted for these two books. The Latin America guide publishes online and in print on 7 September, with the UK edition following on 14 September; both will be available and free to view at www.legal500.com.

 

Peru's increasingly competitive competition sector

by Tim Girven | 28th JULY 2016

Peru's competition sector has long been distinguished from that of its neighbours by its lack of merger control beyond the electricity and telecom sectors. However, with Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's election as president, the country's drive to become a member of the OECD is likely to be redoubled and this -in turn - will have knock on effects for the competition sector, among others. Likely reforms include a better financed competition body able to undertake more robust and far reaching investigations and, crucially, a broadening of merger-control requirements. This is, perhaps, the backdrop to recent developments in the competition sector that has not only seen a number of significant full-service players --notably Miranda & Amado Abogados-- seek to strengthen their capabilities in what is likely to be an increasing significant sector, but also the emergence of a number of new boutiques. Both Martinot Abogados and Diez Canseco Abogados have been spun out of Estudio Muñiz, Pérez-Taiman & Olaya over the last 12 months; while Lazo, De Romaña & Gagliuffi Abogados saw the 3-strong León e Iparraguirre Abogados spun out of its sizeable competition department earlier this year. The new head of Peru's competition and IP agency, INDECOPI, is likely to be named in the next 3-4 weeks, after which we should have a clearer idea of policy direction in the sector. If closer alignment with the OECD is on the cards, don't rule out increasing competition for talented and experienced practitioners and further movements in the sector.

A Latin American dispute resolution alliance emerges…

by Tim Girven | 27th JUNE 2016

When asked by the managing partner of a full-service firm, recently, where I stood on the thorny issue of law firm independence vs. regionalization, I had to declare that I remained agnostic - at least until the issue is considered on a case-by-case basis. Certainly some moves towards multi-jurisdictional capability make sense, others, however seem little more than a pretext for florid marketing claims on a firm’s website. And nor is it, finally a dualistic, either/or question: there also remains that tried and tested "third way", the alliance or network.

We’ve all watched the genuine regional mobilizations of Uría Ménendez and Garrigues; and the arrivals in various jurisdictions of Dentons, DLA and Greenberg Traurig, of Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, and Jones Day. And as such there has been a tendency to focus on the arrival of full service players, as if this were, ipso facto, more important than the arrival of (primarily) single-practice operations such as DAC Beachcroft or Littler Global (in the insurance and labour sectors, respectively) which have, in a generally quiet and efficient manner, expanded across various countries in the region with relative rapidity: Littler's reach stretches from Mexico down to Colombia and Venezuela, including Central America; and DAC has offices in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

But with the exception of Central America, what has been largely absent is the establishment of local, 'autochthonous' networks or mergers (the major exception being, of course, Ferrere, with its presence in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and most recently, Ecuador). But while there have been rumours of a Central American IP-focused network (an eminently sensible proposal given the size of the markets involved), the newest network to crystalize in Latin America is in the disputes sector.

At least in its prototypical form, the new alliance –which remains nameless as far as I am aware– aligns four disputes firms from the countries of the Pacific Alliance, namely:

The combination brings together considerable firepower: in the case of the Chilean and Mexican firms, the lead lawyers Esteban Ovalle and Carlos Malpica were formerly at leading corporate heavyweights in their respective jurisdictions (Carey & Cia and Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes, respectively); in Colombia’s Jorge Suescún the alliance has an arbitral specialist of international standing; and in Perú the alliance has alighted on one of the few boutiques in the Peruvian market with a vision beyond local litigation; again both name partners have experience drawn from major corporate firms and experience in arbitration and litigation.

One could speculate that the alliance will constitute a spoiler to Quinn Emanuel’s march towards global coverage in the disputes sector; be that as it may, it certainly offers a new resource for corporates facing multijurisdictional disputes and an alternative free of the conflict issues encountered with full service firms. The proof, of course, will be in the process.

 

DIVERSITY IN THE LAW

by MIKE NASH | 23rd JUNE 2016

legal500.com has some interesting stats and key interviews on diversity and inclusivity in the law, courtesy of our colleagues in our company's GC Magazine and Client Intelligence teams - a free read that is worth dipping into - see here.

 

KEEPING YOU INFORMED

by Mike Nash | 16th March 2016

If you are a business development or marketing team member at a law firm or set of chambers, The Legal 500 Newsletter is a useful monthly email that is sent to alert you to upcoming research deadlines, publications or editor visits to markets - it's not a marketing email and recipients are only added upon request; if you don't find the content to be useful, you can be removed at any time. We thoroughly recommend that you do sign up for the newsletter if you don't already receive it. You can request to be added to the mailing list via editorial@legal500.com.

 

An interview from Central American business magazine Estrategías y Negocios

by Tim Girven | 18th January 2016

An interview from Central American business magazine Estrategías y Negocios. Please click here to view the PDF.

 

Further competition in the Chilean dispute resolution market as COVEL opens its doors

by Tim Girven | 9th December 2015

The already competitive dispute resolution market in Chile saw another new firm, Contreras Velozo Abogados (COVEL) open its doors in November. Name partners Francisco Velozo and Óscar Contreras are specialists in economic litigation and commercial & civil litigation, respectively, and Velozo, in particular, as the former head of litigation at Albagli Zaliasnik, is well known for representing both Carlos Menem, and Alberto Fujimori in their extradition cases. Ex 'Defensora Nacional' (national head of the public defenders office) Paula Vial –who acted for former securities-and-insurance superintendent, Fernando Coloma, in the Cascadas case– is also a partner at the firm. The 13-strong boutique handles both civil and penal cases and is seeking to focus upon complex work requiring considerable specialization; current matters include involvement in the Penta and SQM cases. The firm also handles corporate work - led by Vicente Eguiguren and Agustín Salas - as well as IP and bankruptcy matters.

 




A new model for Latin American dispute resolution firms?

by Tim Girven | 9th December 2015

In Latin America, legal dispute resolution capability has traditionally taken one of two forms: on the one hand, the classic litigation boutique, generally with a couple of partners and perhaps a dozen lawyers in total; and on the other, the disputes department of so-called ‘full-service’ firms, typically with greater exposure to fully-fledged international disputes and which, more recently, have tended to lead the way in terms of developing arbitral capability.

However, perhaps for the first time, we are seeing a new model emerging in this sector. At either end of the continent, in Chile and in Mexico, a new firm has appeared that looks set to break with the foregoing schema for good. In each case it has come into existence with the spin-off of an in-house department (with all its knowledge of international and cross-border corporate matters) that has then taken additional steps not simply to establish itself as another litigation boutique, but rather, has gone further by incorporating dispute resolution capability in additional sectors.

In Mexico, Malpica, Iturbe, Buj y Paredes [www.mibp.com.mx/], spun out of Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes in late 2013, has quickly established a reputation for complex litigation and has since continued to broaden its service offering throughout the disputes sector. Led by senior partner Carlos Malpica, whose practice ranges across administrative and constitutional litigation, contentious bankruptcy matters, and commercial work, the team also includes:

  • Rodrigo Buj, a specialist in both anti-trust litigation and arbitral matters, and who can draw on his time at Cleary Gottlieb in New York

  • Alvaro Huerta González, a contentious IP specialist is a partner with international experience at (what was then) Fulbright & Jaworski

  • Counsel Carlos Orvañanos Rea, an administrative specialist of note with extensive experience in the public sector

  • and recently appointed partner, Rolando Zárate Guzmán is a complex disputes specialist with an LLM in international arbitration from Georgetown

In Chile, the appearance of Bofill Escobar Abogados [www.bofillescobar.cl/] – in large part spun out of full-service player Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana Abogados– was met with little more than indifference: what possible synergies were to be drawn from a firm whose founding partners were (albeit leading) specialists in white-collar crime (Jorge Bofill), on the one hand, and tax and administrative matters (Ricardo Escobar), on the other. Those who looked a little further, however, would have noted the names of the junior partners that also figured on the firm’s letterhead: Aninat – Praetorius – Silva – Yanine. A little further analysis would have revealed both the depth and breadth of the team:

  • Francisco Aninat, a dispute resolution specialist with additional knowledge of competition and environmental matters and who spent several years as a member of Jones Day’s global dispute team based in Washington DC.

  • Daniel Praetorius, a white collar and administrative disputes specialist with particular knowledge of conflicts with a significant economic element, whose former experience includes a stint at Freshfields in Germany

  • Sebastián Yanine, a civil and commercial disputes specialist with expertise in complex litigation as well as in both national and international arbitration (commercial and investment); he too spent time at Freshfields, in this case, in New York

  • And Loreto Silva, a regulated markets specialist with extensive knowledge of contracts and concessions matters as well as experience in the public sector, most notably as Minister for Public Works.

Which is to say, a team with remarkable breadth that can better be considered a firm focused upon the management of crises (ranging from shareholder disputes to full-blown international arbitration) rather than simply a litigation boutique. And in the still-unfolding wake of the Penta scandal, few now query the logic of a firm led by a tax practitioner and a penal specialist.

Two firms; both of which, weighing in at around 20-odd lawyers, offer something like twice the capacity of the more traditional formats –be it standalone boutique or the department of a full service firm. It remains early days but - as disputes grow more sizeable and more complex - this may prove to be the way forward in Latin America over the next decade. Time will tell.

 

Current Issues in Intellectual Property - a Latin American Perspective

by Tim Girven | 17th November 2015

Temas actuales de Propiedad Intelectual - Una perspectiva Latinoamericana, por Alfredo Corral Ponce. Una introducción excelente al sector de IP en la region hoy por el ex-Presidente del Instituto Ecuatoriano de la Propiedad Intelectual (IEPI) y socio de la firma Romero Corral Abogados.

Capitulos incluye:

  1. Interrelación entre la propiedad industrial y el derecho de autor
  2. Alcance jurídico del 'Derecho Preferente' en las acciones de cancelación por falta de uso de la marca
  3. 'Paquetes Genéricos' o 'Paquetes Simples' para la comercialización de cigarillos frente a los derechos de propiedad intelectual
  4. 'Diseno Industrial': 'Elementos Esenciales' y 'Requisitos para su Protección'
  5. Protección Jurídica a las patentes de preocedimiento: 'Inversion de la carga de la prueba'
  6. 'Alcance de la protección jurídica de los Datos de Prueba

 

Notas a pie de página de un escándalo previsible

by Tim Girven | 6th November 2015

El escándalo “Pentagate”, que no solo ha sacudido al mundo de los negocios como al político –si no también el legal– fue algo previsible y, más allá, evitable. Acá varios artículos y comentarios sacados por Transparency International (Chile) en los años anteriores a la crisis:
[La Segunda: p26, 12.11.2013]
[El Mercurio: 26.07.2013]
[Diario Financiero 07.08.2013]
[Diario Financiero 27.12.2013]

Lo lamentable es que, cuando al final el problema había explotado de manera irreparable (con la investigación del oficial de la autoridad fiscal -SII-, Iván Álvarez), el gobierno ha buscado culpar a los del otro lado, en vez de reconocer una realidad común que requiere una respuesta bipartita. ¿O es que la única acción ‘bipartidaria’ chilena es la inactividad compartida, como se ha mostrado arriba?

 

REGARDING COMPLIANCE

by Tim Girven | 2nd November 2015

As compliance requirements throughout the region reach ever more industries and corporate activity, the ad hoc "Grupo IberoAmericano de la Práctica de Compliance" has propduced a very timely country-by-country guide:

Práctica de Compliance en LatinoAmérica - estado actual de legislación anticorrupción y otras [AutoresEditores.com 2015], with chapters on:

  • Argentina - Pedro Serrano & Gustavo Morales (Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal)
  • Brazil - Mário Panseri Ferriera & José Alexandre Buaiz Neto (PinheiroNeto Advogados)
  • Chile - Marcelo Sanfeliú & Nicolás Allamand (Carey)
  • Colombia - Carlos Fradique-Méndez, Ana María Rodríguez & Calros Kure (Brigard & Urrutia)
  • Costa Rica - Juan Carlos Tristán & Mauricio Salas (BLP)
  • Ecuador - Juan Gabriel Reyes & ALejandro Páez (Pérez Bustamante & Ponce)
  • EL Salador - Eduardo Ángel (Arías & Muñoz)
  • Guatemala - Astrid Dominguez & Edwin de Léon (Consortium Centro América Abogados)
  • Honduras - Karla Andino Peñalva & José Ramón Paz Morales (Consortium Centro América Abogados)
  • México - Hugo López Coll & Eduardo Rodríguez González (Greenberg Traurig)
  • Nicaragua - Rodrigo Taboada & Mureyinés Téllez (Consortium Centro América Abogados)
  • Panamá - Michelle I Dueñas de Canto (Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega)
  • Paraguay - Graciela Narvaja Jones & Alicia Arrúa (Peroni Sosa Tellechea Burt & Narvaja Abogados)
  • Perú - Daniel Lovón & Jorge Otoya (Muñiz Ramírez Pérez-Taiman & Olaya Abogados)
  • Uruguay - Diego Baldomir (Guyer & Regules)
  • Venezuela - Fulvio Italiani & José Valentín González (D'Empaire Reyna Abogados)

 

CARIBBEAN MOONLIGHTING

by Mike Nash | 19th October 2015

Over the past couple of days I've been moonlighting as editor of The Legal 500 Caribbean, which also includes coverage of Bermuda. With the growing number of offshore structures being used as part of global strategy, it's well worth a look. The guide goes into production this week and will launch online here on 9 November.

 

IF LAW FIRMS WERE SUPERHEROES

by Tim Girven | 5th October 2015

The Legal 500 series provides impartial opinion and analysis on thousands of law firms globally. Alongside helping general counsel to make decisions on which law firms might be the ones to instruct, or helping law firms seeking a referral partner, www.legal500.com also serves a useful purpose alongside our sister publication – The Lex 100 – in helping students and new graduates to identify potential future employers that appeal to them. The latest edition of The Lex 100 is now live at The Lex 100. For a lighthearted, superheroic spin, click here to check out The Lex 100's 2015/16 fictional characters list.

 

Latest developments / Looking forward

by Tim Girven | 15th September 2015

The Legal 500 Latin America 2015 went live last week and hardcopy editions are winging their way to law firms and clients alike. My thanks to all who have participated and contributed: from partners who have given up their time for interviews, PRs –both internal and external- for their diligence in preparing submissions and scheduling calls, and to all our Latin America researchers and the legion of other staff –production, sales, etc.- who have made it possible.

I’ve no doubt that firms will –rightly– bring any issues or inconsistencies to my attention but I would also be interested in suggestions regarding possible new sections and or other proposals that would allow us to better reflect the region’s legal offerings and market.

On another front, I had the good fortune to attend the IBA’s ‘Law firm’s as businesses – option or necessity’ conference in Sao Paulo last month. Despite the slightly redundant rhetoric of the conference’s title (there was not a lawyer present who did not understand the issue as an absolute necessity), it was nevertheless a very timely event insofar as it truly opened up many of the uncomfortable questions related to issues such as institutionalization, remuneration and motivation. Indeed, the event attracted a very strong showing from key managing partners from across the region including Marval O’Farrell’s Alfredo O’Farrell, Guyer & Regules’ Nicolás Herrera and Carey & Cia’s Jaime Carey, among many others. It was also good to see representatives of firm's such as Mexico's Galicia Abogados and Ecuador’s Pérez Bustamante & Ponce, which, until recently have not generally attended IBA events.

The IBA conference coincided with (peaceful) demonstration in favour and against President Dilma’s impeachment.

Perhaps the best-received presentation was that given by Harvard Professor Heidi Gardner on the subject of collaboration and the clearly proven benefits of this behavioural mode for a successful business – or indeed, any other institution in which the ultimate capital is constituted by its human resources. Dr Gardner’s comments to some degree suffused the rest of the conference, which addressed (among other matters), the imperative for professionalised operations (read: genuine institutionalization); and efficient and executive leadership that is nevertheless exercised in a manner which ensures cohesiveness moving forward, while furthermore, remaining open to further communication. This is the law firm as a ‘cybernetic’ organization, which is to say, one that is in a constant process of updating its knowledge of itself and its operations in real time(!), and it is one that requires members who look beyond themselves and their own personal success.

My congratulations to conference co-chairs (& key organizers) Jaime Fernández Madero (Fernández Madero Consulting), and Veirano Advogados founding partner Ronaldo Veirano, as well as to all the other participants who helped to make this such a rewarding event.

A number of Legal 500 editors (as well as business development staff) will be attending the IBA Global Conference in Vienna during the week of the 4th of October. I will be in attendance from Sunday 4th to Tuesday 6th (inclusive); should you wish to organise a meeting, please contact me a.s.a.p. Unfortunately there will not be time to see everyone so I will have to act on a first-come, first-served basis; obviously I'm more than happy to arrange a conference call with those of you whom time limitations prevent me from meeting on this occasion.

Post-IBA I will be travelling in the region and can confirm that I will be in Santiago de Chile from the 19th to the 23rd of October, and subsequently in Lima, from the 26th to the 30th. Subsequent country visits will be detailed in due course.

 

LAUNCH OF THE CLIENT INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2015

by Tim Girven | 8th September 2015

It's well worth noting the launch of The Client Intelligence Report 2015 (Twitter: #CIR2015 / @clientintel), a comprehensive investigational survey into the global legal market that includes the feedback of over 4,700 GCs and in-house respondents in 120 countries. The survey findings, which have now been launched, include responses from 82% of the FTSE 100 and 80% of the Fortune 100. The respondents provided approximately 2,000 hours of interview time to allow us to compile the largest ever legal survey.

The Legal 500's editors recently got a sneak preview of the data, which provided a mix of the interesting / enlightening / surprising alongside the reliably familiar - some matters that get a lot of media coverage are not so important to GCs, it seems; but the findings also in many ways support and substantiate the common refrain of client referees that respond to research for The Legal 500 Series each year (we contact 250,000+ during research each year). #CIR2015 is instructive stuff that is free to all the survey's participants and can be purchased by law firms.

To find out more, please click here.

 

Update and events

by Tim Girven | 27th July 2015

The Legal 500 Latin America 2015 has now gone to press: my thanks to all those firms – partners, associates and PR/BD personnel alike – for all their time and assistance over these last few months. I note that the new edition will be published on the 9th of September.

In the interim, a couple of dates and events to highlight:

  • I will be attending the IBA's 'Law Firms as Businesses - option or necessity?' conference in Sao Paulo from the 19th-21st of August. Any firms that wish to arrange a meeting, please contact me directly.
  • The Legal 500 will also be attending the IBA Global Conference during the week of the 5th of October. I, a number of my fellow editors, and other senior staff will all be attending for a couple of days each. Again, should you wish to arrange a meeting, please let me know ( Please note I will be present on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th only).
  • And closer to home, another event for the diary here in London is this year's LexMex event, which will be held on Tuesday 29th September at The Law Society. Among the confirmed participants is Minister Fernando Franco of the Mexican Supreme Court. It's not to be missed!

 

Paraguay steps forward… Baker & Mckenzie to step in?

by Tim Girven | 10th November 2014

The Paraguayan flag was flying in Park Lane last week as the first UK-Paraguay investment forum took place in London under the auspices of Developing Markets Associates. A strong turn-out (the largest-ever gathering of this type in Western Europe), heard Ambassador Solano-López give a brief and informative historical overview of UK-Paraguay relations before the event broadened its focus to provide a comprehensive trade and investment overview, followed by in-depth sessions on investment in the Energy & Renewables, Infrastructure, and Agriculture & Tourism sectors. DMA are to be congratulated on securing a very high-level Paraguayan delegation including Minister of Foreign Relations, Eladio Loizaga; Minister of Finance, Germán Rojas; Minister of Industry & Commerce, Gustavo Leite; and the Governor of Central Bank Carlos Fernández Valdovinos, among others. The UK, in turn, remained true to the new Canning House agenda (as launched by William Hague back in 2012), with the presence of Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire; Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin American Group, Baroness Hooper; and –of course- the British Ambassador to Paraguay, Dr Jeremy Hobbs, who is also to be congratulated on the success of this initiative. Amid a strong showing from the business community, attendees also included law firm representatives from Ferrere Abogados (a co-sponsor of the event), Herbert Smith Freehills and Hogan Lovells, among others.

In a one-to-one conversation, hugely experienced former banker (and editor of Paraguay: 200 Years of Independence in the Heart of South America), Robert Munro nevertheless sounded a note of caution, pointing to judicial insecurity as one area where challenges remain, and highlighting -in the process- the importance of good legal representation. It has been notable that law firms in the local market have given increasing emphasis to institutionalization in an effort to gear-up for what is, already, a steadily increasing workload. Market pressures have also led to growing speculation as to new developments in the legal sector; Moreno Rufinelli & Asociados, for example (which lost key members of its ‘younger’ generation with the appointment of Roberto Moreno Rodríguez as Attorney General, and more recently, the departure of José Antonio Moreno, to establish Altra Servicios Jurídicos) has been rumoured to be exploring the possibility of a merger with Olmedo Abogados, itself one of the two firms that emerged from the division of Vouga-Olmedo Abogados in mid-2013. More likely to attract attention across the region are indications that Baker & McKenzie, which recently held its global partners meeting here in London, will also be opening an office in Paraguay as a follow-on from its successful entrance into the Peruvian maket in 2012. Fuelled by the appearance of anonymous recruiting adverts in the local press, these persistent rumours remain unconfirmed but lead me to suggest that the firm will have an outpost in Asunción before we celebrate next year’s UK-Paraguay investment forum. Watch this space!

 

Press Freedom

by Tim Girven | 30th October 2014

If the talk given by Nando Parrado, one of the survivors of the infamous Andean plane crash in 1972 was the most moving at the regional IBA conference in Punta del Este earlier this year, its counterpart at the American Bar Association's Fall meeting in Buenos Aires last week were the presentations on 'Freedom of the Press and the Law'.

The legendary editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, Robert Cox, spoke of his experiences during the Argentine military dictatorship, and how, one night in 1976, he went to speak with the women queueing in the Plaza de Mayo, each one awaiting a number so as to enter Government House and request information regarding their missing loved ones. Although we are now almost 40 years on from those events, only two years ago Cox met a couple – youngsters, in their early twenties at that time – who had been arrested and tortured at the infamous ESMA Naval School; only the fact of having been named in the pages of the newspaper (and even though neither of them even spoke English), had saved their lives. In his talk, Cox contrasted the decision by the Herald to continue reporting the fact of disappearances and the letters of concerned relatives with the silence of the other newspapers of the time. For him, the title of the famous report on Argentina's disappeared, Nunca Más (Never Again), remains not just an alert that such an episode must never be repeated, but also a call to journalists that they should never fall silent again.

We only have to think of the current circumstances in Mexico to recognise the size of this challenge. As I write, here in Lima the InterAmerican Press Society, in conjunction with Pervuian Press Council, is presenting a report on attacks on Radio Rumba en Pichanaki (Junín); just days ago, assailants sought to enter the broadcast studios of Radio Mitre in Buenos Aires; and in Ecuador the year-old Communications Law is, as feared, gradually suffocating in-depth reporting. One could cite more cases and examples. This issue (with the possible exception of Chile) is region wide, and it is incumbent upon all of those interested in the rule of law – and therefore, by definition, the legal profession – to protect free speech and journalistic activity.

 

The Legal 500 Latin America publishes today!

by Tim Girven | 10th September 2014

My thanks to all the firms that participated in research for the latest edition of Legal 500 Latin America (2014), which is published today. I would also like to thank all those clients who took the time to respond to our questionnaires and calls; without your participation the finished product would be immeasurably weaker. Printed copies will be mailed out to you all shortly.

We hope that this, our third edition in the region, is clear, informative and useful. Please check the website, here: http://www.legal500.com/assets/pages/latin-america/latin-america.html

Should you have any queries, please contact me via: editorial@legal500.com

 

 

MARKET DEVELOPMENTS

by Tim Girven | 4th September 2014

Market developments around the region continue apace: In the Dominican Republic, where the recent tie-up between Squire Saunders and Patton Boggs will be particularly felt (the former Squire Sanders, Peña Prieto & Gamundi was a key market player), further movement has seen the departures of Marielle Garrigó and Fabiola Medina (from Pellerano & Herrera and Medina Rizek, respectively), to establish new firm Medina Garrigó Abogados.

Elsewhere, ongoing developments in the turbulent Mexican market have most recently crystalised in Holland & Knight's establishment of a litigation practice with the recruitment of experienced in-house figure Daniel Jiménez as a senior counsel. Formerly at state electricity utility CFE, Jiménez is also a former head of the in-house litigation team at the public company Luz y Fuerza del Centro. The recruitment brings the headcount of legal professionals at the office to 16.

Also in the disputes sector, this time in Guatemala, Arías & Muñoz has recruited the former founding partner of Consortium Centro América Abogados’ Guatemalan office, Mario René Archila Cruz, to head up its local disputes practice.

In the face of the severe ramping up of activity by Brazil's competition authority, CADE, TozziniFreire has pulled off a notable coup with the recruitment of two significant competition and anti-trust figures from rival firms. Marcel Medon Santos arrives from Azevedo Sette Advogados, and Márcio de Carvalho Silveira Bueno from Vieira, Rezende, Barbosa e Guerreiro Advogados; both acted as practice head at their respective former firms.

Finally, Garrigues continues to make good on its intention to establish fully-fledged offices in key Latin American jurisdictions with the notable strengthening of its Peruvian office, recruiting four key figures from full-service firm Rubio Leguía Normand. The hire of Oscar Arrús, along with Sergio Amiel, Thomas Thorndike and José Francisco Meier, effectively constitutes the hiring of Rubio's entire finance team, a sector in which all four enjoy notable market profile.

 

Latin America in London

by Tim Girven | 29th August 2014

UPCOMING DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

The number of events in London related to Latin American legal / business matters is steadily growing and for those of you interested in such markets here are a few of dates to be aware of.

This coming Tuesday --2nd September-- the London member of the growing ONTIER Alliance, SC Andrew, is hosting a Workshop on 'Doing Business in Colommbia and Peru'. Open to trade mission delegates, government officials and exporting companies interested in developing links with these potential markets, the meeting is at the firm's offices: 24 High Holborn (16.45-18.00pm).

Also on the horizon is the return to London of the incredibly successful 'Chile Day', which this year will be held on 13-14 October at the Mansion House. With high level business and public sector representatives, as well as key partners from a number of the country#s most prestigious law firms, this is a singular opportunity for those interested in business and investment opportunities in Chile.

And for those of you interested in the fast-moving Mexican market, I'll be on a panel at the Law Society's 'Doing legal business in Mexico' event on 3rd October discussing the country's current legal market. To register, please CLICK HERE.

 

Talking oil and gas

by Tim Girven | 6th August 2014

The attention of the hydrocarbons community has very much been directed towards Mexico, of late, and particularly completion of the country's oil and gas reforms. Further interest has been spurred by the fact that the moratorium on exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico's "Western Gap" sector is due to end, shortly (cross maritime-boundary reserves alone are estimated at over 170m barrels of oil and 300bn cubic feet of gas). Nevertheless, as Mexico's secondary laws are sent to Congress it is worth looking at tendencies elsewhere in the region for indications of developmental prospects. In Colombia, for example, recent auctions raised little more than half government estimates (approximately $1.4bn of a $2.6bn projection), and barely more than a quarter of the Caribbean blocks put up for auction recieved bids. While the relatively low level of interest has a number of local drivers (the lack of tax incentives; a shortage of technical information regarding the fields themselves, etc.), what is notable is the very limited interest in unconventional blocks, particularly onshore.

Further south again, in Argentina, such disinterest is unlikely to be repeated: the Vaca Muerte field remains a remarkable prospect with what are estimated to be the third largest shale-gas reserves in the world. Somewhat lost amid the economic miasma resulting from last week's (technical) sovereign default (generally regarded as a temporary set back although one not without cost), it is of note that the country's new hydrocarbons legislation has been sent to Congress and is poised to overhaul a legaislative framework in the sector that is almost 50 years old. The draft legislation would see a significant shift of power away from the provinces with the federal government recouping control of the granting, extension and termination of concessions. Fundamentally, the reform constitutes a struggle for control between the recently re-nationalised state oil-and-gas entity, YPF, and Ofephi, an entity that brings together key hydrocarbons-producing provinces such as Chubut, Río Negro and Mendoza. All signs indicate that the latter will seek to fight their corner in Congress rather than negotiate with the (currrent) government. The outcome of such debate is going to prove key to the attractiveness of the sector as the country looks beyond the Cristina Fernández administration

 

Mexico Roundtable / Market Movements

by Tim Girven | 1st August 2014

The Legal 500 Latin America's first corporate counsel round table in Mexico proved very successful. As noted last week, a transcript of the event will be posted on our webpage shortly. In the interim, my sincere thanks to Juan Manuel Posada (Banamex), Isabel Ocaña (Deutsche Bank), Edgar Trueba (Morgan Stanley), Rodrigo Pérez (UHDE / ThyssenKrupp), Victor Villafranca (Grupo Herdez), Noe Pascacio (Schlumberger), and Armando Rivera (Debevoise & Plimpton).

On the other side of the table (so-to-speak), in corporate private practice, specualtion is feverish as to which will be the next international firm to arrive in the local (Mexican) market. The scenario is reminiscent of Colombia a couple of years ago. Frequently mentioned candidates include: Norton Rose Fulbright (whose successful arrival in the Colombian and Venezuelan markets, and energy/infrastructure focus, makes it a comprehensible candidate); King & Spalding and Baker Botts, among other primarily oil-and-gas focused firms; and even members of the UK markets magic circle. While in all likelihood the latter can be discarded, there is no doubt that more arrivals are imminent. Just as interesting is the discussion as to which firms constitute realistic targets for acquisition or merger: despite the size of the Mexican market there are fewer genuine full-service alternatives than could be expected. Nor are all of them open to such overtures. The international players circling the market are also running their slide rule over mid-market players. At the individual level, too, an unfolding game of musical chairs continues with leading tax figure Manuel Tron recently announcing his departure from Ernst & Young, and capital markets specialist Guillermo Pérez Santiago moving to Galicia Abogados. Interesting times indeed.

 

Mexico Round Table and meetings

by Tim Girven | 23rd July 2014

Arriving at Mexico City airport last night I had the good fortune to run into Jorge Sánchez, formerly of Goodrich Riquelme, and - as of this month - at Haynes & Boone. I'll be talking to him and Jorge Labastida regarding the developments at the firm's Mexico office next week so please watch this space.

In the interim, Legal500's General Counsel round table series continues tomorrow with a meeting here in Mexico. The representatives of major local and international banks, along with figures from a number of industry sectors will be attending; we'll seek to have the transcript up online for you as soon as possible.

 

Almost press day!

by Tim Girven | 16th July 2014

The Legal 500 Latin America 2014 will be sent to the printers this Friday, ready for publication in early September. In the interim, I'll be in Mexico City for the week of the 28th July to the 1st of August. I still have a few slots available in my schedule so should you wish to arrange a meeting, please let me know.

The Legal 500 Latin America 2014 será enviado a la imprenta este viernes, listo para su publicación a principios de septiembre. Entretanto, estaré en México DF durante la semana de 28 de julio a 1 de agosto. Tengo unas ventanas en mi agenda todavía; si quiere agendar una reunión, por favor de contactarme.

 

Hogan Lovells enters Mexican market

by Tim Girven | 9th July 2014

As ever, when research is over and editing begins, the Latin American legal fraternity decides that now is the time to announce mergers, moves and other merriment. So, a few word of congratulation to Hogan Lovells and full-service Mexican firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa on their recently announced tie-up. Hogan’s -long rumoured- arrival in the turbulent Mexican market is an interesting contrast to the arrivals of, for example, Greenberg Traurig, Jones Day or DLA Piper. Moreover, as with Baker & Mckenzie’s associaion with Estudio Echecopar in Peru a couple of years ago, it brings the firm in at the top of an increasingly competitive market. One area of obvious synergy is international arbitration, where Hogan’s have a substantial regional practice operating from its Miami office and BSTL’s name partner Eduardo Siqueiros is a leading practitioner with a regional profile. We await the fruits of this development with interest. Right, back to editing…

 

The Legal 500 Latin America to go to ABA fall meeting

by Tim Girven | 25th June 2014

Representatives of The Legal 500's Latin America team will be attending the American Bar Association’s fall meeting in Buenos Aires from October 21-25 2014. With the annual IBA meeting in Tokyo this year, the ABA event will be the key gathering of those working in –and into- the Latin American region. Please see HERE for further details.

 

Roundtables to be hosted in Mexico and Brazil

by Tim Girven | 28th May 2014

Following the success of the Corporate Counsel 100 – Latin America, I will be hosting a number of round tables in the region, involving both in-house lawyers and law firm representatives. Addressing a range of themes, transcripts of these conversations will subsequently be posted here on The Legal 500 Latin America website. The next round tables will be in Mexico, in July; and Brazil, in October. Further events will be announced in due course.