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As March came to a close, more than 80 in-house lawyers enjoyed a fine, late-summer evening on the terrace of the historic Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau, attending the launch of the first Legal 500 GC Powerlist Argentina, sponsored by Baker McKenzie.

The non-business friendly orientation of recent Argentine administrations ensured that many in-house counsels have experienced the last decade or so as something approaching a war of attrition – a battle which, if it has not reached the depths of the current situation in Venezuelan, has nevertheless been very much a fight for survival. As such, the late-2014 election victory of Mauricio Macri and his assumption of the Presidency in 2015 came as an unexpected but very welcome surprise. And it is precisely the uncertainty surrounding the possibility of a second Macri administration –and with it the possibility of an extended period of government with a pro-business orientation– that is the key uncertainty in a market where attracting significant foreign investment is critical to the country’s return to sustainable growth. For this reason, the choice of historian and political analyst Carlos Pagni as the evening’s guest speaker was inspired. Pagni’s opinion columns and weekly TV appearance have become 'required viewing' for those seeking to keep track of Macri’s fortunes as the country approaches mid-term elections.

Suffice to say that Pagni had all those in attendance – be it our in-house counsel guests, the various partners of Baker Mckenzie in attendance, or representatives of The Legal 500 – absolutely enthralled as he spelled-out the reasons for a quiet but determined optimism. His presentation fuelled the predominantly positive mood of the assembled guests who very much see themselves and the country as being on the threshold of really emerging from the shadows of a prolonged counter-cyclical period that saw economic activity drastically reduced. If, for that very reason, this was only the first Legal 500 GC Powerlist for Argentina, it was also -without doubt- the ideal moment for its launch, with many guests applauding the initiative and noting their interest in establishing a corporate counsel community that will constitute a space in which to discuss common problems and challenges, regardless of industry sector. As one attendee commented afterwards: “Thank you for the invitation last night, it was a pleasure to meet you. It was a great event – great organization and great networking!”

I would like to express our thanks to all those who attended –including representatives of 3M, American Express, Atanor, Banco Industrial, Biosidus, Bunge, Cargill, Cencosud, Chevron Global, Colgate-Palmolive,, Frávega, GlaxoSmithKline, Grupo Arcor, Grupo Garbarino, Grupo Tapebicua, Holcim, Honda, L'Oréal, Madalena Energy, MercadoLibre, Microsoft, Molinos Rio de la Plata, Monsanto, NovoNordisk, OLX, OFS, Oracle, Pampa Energia, Perez Companc, Sanofi, SAS, Shell, Simplot, Takeda, Turner Broadcasting, Unilever and Vale, among others. We would also like to note our gratitude to Carlos Pagni, and of course our sponsors, Baker Mackenzie, without whom this event would not have come to fruition.

Please scroll down to see pictures of the event: