The Legal 500

The Legal 500 Latin America 2013

The Legal 500 Latin America 2013

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Who are the 100 most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region? The Legal 500 has interviewed thousands of in-house and private practice lawyers to draw together a list of those corporate counsel who offer an operative model with lessons for fellow in-house professionals.

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Now available: The Legal 500 Latin America 2013 in print and ebook formats (for iPad, iPhone and Kindle)

The full in-depth, comprehensive analysis of law firms across Latin America is available to view here - no registration or fee is required. The research can also be downloaded as a country-specific .epub or .mobi-formatted eBooks – ideal for use on Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Android/Blackberry readers.

Firms in the spotlight

eBooks

Historical Data

Argentina

Argentina

Defying regional economic trends, Argentina continues to isolate itself from its burgeoning regional neighbours. One aspect of this is the series of foreign exchange regulations enacted by the government, which severely restrict the ability to move capital out of the country. Originally brought in to curb the flight of capital in anticipation of a possible currency devaluation, the regulations have disincentivised new entrants to the Argentine market.

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Bolivia

Bolivia

The Bolivian legal market continues to be affected by ongoing political tensions and the current administration’s public policy on natural resources, which partly explains the low level of foreign private-sector investment into the country. This core limitation has resulted in large transactions becoming rare in Bolivia’s corporate market; the mining sector does continue to see some M&A activity but in the oil and gas sector too, transactions have suffered a slump in recent years.

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Brazil

Brazil

It is certainly clear that, while Brazil remains an attractive investment option at a global scale, it has lost a little of the allure acquired when the country was initially identified as one of the BRIC group of key emerging economies, and subsequently went on to be awarded the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics. While the Brazilian economy continued to grow during 2012, its slowing from 2010’s heady 7.5% to less than half that last year did not promote a perception of economic well-being; the first quarter of 2013 saw continued poor performance with growth of just 0.6%, although annual forecasts project a better year than 2012.

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Chile

Chile

Chile’s sustained growth, minimal unemployment rates and economic optimism ensured a healthy flow of big-ticket investment transactions, mergers and IPOs during the course of 2012. The propitious business environment fuelled a thriving legal market which was also accompanied by a number of significant legal developments.

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Colombia

Colombia

Colombia has undergone far-reaching social, economic and political transformations over the course of the last decade and these processes continue. While foreign business interest in Colombia remains very healthy, the strength of economic activity forecast has not fully materialised due to a number of factors. Perhaps foremost is the limited number of new infrastructure projects actually initiated, robbing the economy of a motor that would have driven both economic and legal activity in multiple sectors. It remains to be seen if these will begin before elections scheduled for mid-2014. Mining sector activity, too, has remained limited, awaiting the establishment of an effective new regulatory and administrative body. The government has been far from idle (see the reforms, below), but has also had the extraordinary distraction of peace talks, upon the success of which, the country’s medium-to-long term growth and security depend. Despite these difficulties, the business market –and with it, legal activity– has remained relatively dynamic, with considerable transactional activity, such as Carrefour’s $2.6bn sale of its Colombian holdings to Cencosud, holding centre stage.

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Costa Rica

Costa Rica

As one of Central America’s dominant economies, Costa Rica is frequently a point of entry for multinationals that perceive of the region as precisely that – a single bloc. This undoubtedly strengthens the hand of those legal firms with a regional footprint: principally market front-runners Arias & Muñoz and Consortium – Laclé & Gutiérrez, but also Aguilar Castillo Love, Quirós Abogados Central Law, and Nassar Abogados, as well as ACZALAW, Abogados Centroamericanos Asociados and Lexincorp. In a surprise development, in July 2013 Pacheco Coto joined this group with its announcement of the development of a regional presence as a result of absorbing ACZALAW, Abogados Centroamericanos Asociados’ offices in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The results of this new development remains to be seen. Nevertheless, at least one of Costa Rica’s foremost firms remains a determinedly stand-alone organisation: BLP is a dynamic start-up that has already succeeded in raising the bar in the local market. Nor does the Costa Rican market lack depth: other significant players include market stalwart Facio & Cañas, developing full-service player Batalla Abogados and the innovative yet experienced relative newcomer Sfera Legal; along with Zürcher, Odio & Raven, Gómez & Galindo Abogados, LLM Abogados, Oller Abogados, Cordero & Cordero Abogados and Gómez & Galindo Abogados.

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Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has not been immune to the global financial downturn, and low liquidity has put a brake on foreign investment. Investors also took a wait-and-see approach in the lead up to the country’s 2012 presidential elections. Following the election of Danilo Medina of the Dominican Liberation Party, confidence has picked up somewhat, with lawyers reporting an increase in work. Real estate and tourism continue to dominate the agenda, although there is also a significant amount of infrastructure work, particularly in the energy, mining and transport sectors. For the most part, the Dominican legal market is dominated by a small handful of full-service corporate firms, particularly when it comes to major transactions. The main players in this respect are Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández, Pellerano & Herrera and OMG. Dispute resolution is less profitable for some of these larger firms, and as a result there is more choice in the market, with smaller firms such as Bobadilla Abogados, Pereyra & Asociados and Castillo y Castillo enjoying dominant positions. For areas like tourism and hospitality, clients would also do well to look beyond Santo Domingo. Punta Cana is home to some of the top legal practices in this area, including Castillo y Castillo, De Marchena Kaluche & Asociados (DMK) – Central Law and Guzmán Ariza.

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The Legal 500 Historical Data: historical rankings and analysis

Now available: The Legal 500 Historical Data – a new interactive service available exclusively to commercial partners. The site contains historical rankings from 2008-2013 from The Legal 500 United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Users are able to manipulate the raw data to produce and download reports including comparing and contrasting your firm with your peers and competitors, and customising data which can be used in pitch documents and RFPs. Visit www.legal500.com/historicaldata for more information.

Ecuador

Ecuador

With President Rafael Correa’s re-election to a third term in power, the ongoing overhaul of Ecuadorian legislation looks set to continue. One of the most notable changes recently has been the implementation of the country’s new competition law; after much consultation, the ‘Organic Law for the Regulation and Control of Market Power’ was enacted in October 2011, and implemented in May 2012. A number of firms have sought to develop competition practices to meet the demand for legal services the legislation has created; Consulegis Abogados appears to have gained an early advantage through its merger with the specialist boutique, Antitrust Consultores.

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El Salvador

El Salvador

Despite its recovery from the global financial crisis, low investment activity and slow trade flow are still among the greatest challenges to El Salvador’s economic development. While Central America’s smallest country struggles to boost its economic capacity, the legal market has remained relatively active.

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Guatemala

Guatemala

Guatemala remains Central America’s most significant economy and, since his election in 2011, President Otto Pérez has actively sought to enact regulatory measures to promote foreign investment, and to continue several regional projects intended to stabilise both Guatemala’s economy and its security situation.

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Honduras

Honduras

Having successfully moved on from a long-lasting political and economic crisis, Honduras experienced further economic stabilisation and modest GDP growth during 2012. Leading lawyers attribute this positive trend to a number of investment-friendly policies that have been enacted in recent years – reforms that now appear to be coming to fruition. The 2010 public private partnership (PPP) law, boosted investment in a number of infrastructure projects, chiefly in the maritime and renewable energy sectors: several leading law firms have been involved in the largest PPP project tender to date, the construction and operation of the Puerto Cortés cargo and container terminal. However, in an escalating crisis over a security policy, Congress dismissed several judges causing renewed instability in the Honduran judicial system and fuelling some uncertainty among foreign investors. In a similar vein, corporate lawyers are witnessing considerable caution on the part of foreign investors due to the uncertain outcome of the November 2013 presidential elections.

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International

International Firms: International Arbitration

Traditional bank lending has been in short order in recent years because mainstream lenders, especially the European banks, have retrenched from the market due to their own fiscal constraints following the global financial crisis. Borrowers have had to seek new routes to access debt including facilities provided by multilateral agencies and development banks.

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Mexico

Mexico

The ‘Mexican moment’ shows no sign of passing: proximity to the US and rising labour costs in China have seen Mexico regain viability as a manufacturing base, foreign investment continues to grow and the country has a significant role in international trade, with exports matching the whole of the rest of Latin American put together. Capital markets activity has seen a significant boost, with the rise of FIBRAs (the Mexican equivalent of a Real Estate Investment Trust), AFORES (pension funds) and CKD issuances (a structured equity security instrument).

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Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Nicaragua continues to see reforms in its judicial system and administrative procedures in an attempt to make the country more attractive to foreign investors. However, allegations of corruption and a lack of government transparency continue to affect confidence and hinder the implementation of policies aimed at strengthening the private sector.

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Panama

Panama

With average annual GDP growth at 8.5%, according to the IMF, Panama remains a significant bright spot in an otherwise faltering global economy. In part this has been driven by the huge infrastructure project constituted by the expansion of the Panama Canal, revenues from which, in turn, underpin many smaller-scale, state-backed projects, including roads, hospitals and a new metro in Panama City. Tourism has also flourished, with several new developments in progress, while commercial and residential real estate is also a major source of investment. The country’s convenient geographical position (in regional terms) has seen it become an increasingly important hub, with many international companies establishing their Central American headquarters there. Local companies, including the domestic carrier, Copa Airlines, have flourished as a result. Law firms are among those who have also reaped the dividends. For the country’s largest full-service firms, previous mainstays such as ship registration and offshore work have been eclipsed by the growing need for cutting-edge corporate finance and real estate advice. In turn, commercial litigation and arbitration are increasingly creeping up on the agenda. The larger firms, which include Morgan & Morgan, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee and Galindo, Arias & Lopez, are all well positioned to handle this sort of work, and can offer clients an array of highly competent US and UK-trained lawyers.

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Paraguay

Paraguay

Politically, the country has endured a turbulent year: following Fernando Lugo’s controversial impeachment in June 2012, and the subsequent interim administration of Federico Franco; elections in April 2013 returned the Colorado party back to power and brought Horacio Cartes to the presidency. These events reverberated at a regional level with Paraguay’s (temporary) suspension from the Mercosur trading group, during which Venezuela was admitted to the bloc. The ensuing tensions remain to be resolved and in the interim, Paraguay has signalled its increasing interest in participating in the Alliance of the Pacific. A successful businessman Cartes has made pledges on both foreign and local investment and it is anticipated he will successfully bolster the country’s emerging economy. Legislation that was shelved with the constitutional impasse is also expected to move forward swiftly, not least a Private-Public Partnership law that would boost the financing of infrastructure. A final decision is also expected regarding the construction of an aluminium smelter by Rio Tinto, a project which stalled under Lugo, and which would constitute the largest investment in the country’s history.

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Peru

Peru

Peru continues to enjoy an impressive economic boom, experiencing growth in the 6-9% range for the last three years. As this might suggest, the country remains an attractive destination for international companies and foreign investment, particularly in the extractive sectors, which account for more than 60% of Peru’s total exports. However, issues with local communities are a continuing difficulty for the country and have had an impact on the continuation of a number of mining projects. Poor infrastructure is also a problem of growing relevance, although the government plans to combat this deficit with a $20.5bn investment in infrastructure between 2011 and 2016. Interest from companies in the Asia-Pacific region has also persisted, and Peru has witnessed an influx of European companies looking for alternative investment possibilities. In addition, out-bound investment is emerging as a new tendency, and while it is currently focused on the Latin American region, its scope and extent may broaden if, as forecast, growth continues.

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Uruguay

Uruguay

Uruguay has maintained its trajectory of the last few years, with the country’s reputation as a secure location for investment growing steadily. Its historical dependence on Argentina has weakened as its southern neighbour becomes more volatile, and Uruguay has learnt from the financial crisis of 2002 and emerged stronger for it, exporting agricultural produce to growing economies such as China. Although Argentina remains its biggest trading partner, many Argentines now view Uruguay as an investment safe haven, particularly in real estate.

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Venezuela

Venezuela

With the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in March 2013 and the victory of his appointed successor, Nicolás Maduro in April’s elections, occurring amidst rumours of electoral rigging, Venezuela remains in a state of flux. Nonetheless, many of Venezuela’s lawyers hope that the new president might usher in a more business-friendly period.

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Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014

    The Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014 (the New ELP Law ) has replaced the Exempted Limited Partnership Law (2013 Revision) (the Previous Law ). The New Law includes significant changes to the Cayman Islands' statutory framework regulating exempted limited partnerships ( ELPs ) that will increase the attractiveness of ELPs and will be appreciated by managers, investors and creditors alike. Private equity sponsors in particular will notice substantial improvements that are indicative of Cayman's continuing commitment to balanced and commercially sensible legislation. Read more...
  • Restructuring and insolvency in Luxembourg (part 2)

    RESTRUCTURING - COURT PROCEDURES
  • Enhancements to the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991

    On 23 May 2014, the States of Jersey passed the Companies (Amendment No. 11) (Jersey) Law 201- (the Amendment Law ).  This will now be sent to the UK Privy Council for consideration, then laid before the States of Jersey for a final time before coming into force.  The latest information we have is that the Privy Council will be approving the law on 19 July 2014 and it may come into effect as soon as 4 August 2014.
  • Joost Fanoy appointed partner at BarentsKrans

    The Hague, 4 July 2014 - BarentsKrans has appointed Joost Fanoy as a partner in the Antitrust & Public Procurement department, effective as of July 1, 2014. Joost specializes in European law in general with a particular focus on European and Dutch competition, public procurement and state aid law and is the head of the Antitrust and Public Procurement Practice Group. Joost is also a member of the Cartel damages team of BarentsKrans.
  • PineBridge Acquires 50% Stake in Romatem

    PineBridge Investments Middle East, a global multi-asset class investment manager with regional headquarters in Bahrain, and nearly 60 years of experience in emerging and developed markets, has acquired a 50% equity stake in Romatem, the leading physical therapy and rehabilitation services chain in Turkey.
    - Paksoy
  • Isbank Issued USD 750 Million Notes

    Isbank issued 750 million USD notes under its GMTN programme established in 2013. The notes are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 5 % with a maturity date 2021. Mr. Omer Collak (partner) and Mr. Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have acted for the joint lead managers Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
    - Paksoy
  • Halkbank Issued USD 500 Million Notes

    Halkbank issued five-year term fixed interest rate US currency notes, with a total amount of USD 500 million  with an interest rate of 4.765 %  and an annual coupon rate of 4.750 %. The notes offered the lowest borrowing rate in the first five-month period of 2014, and total demand rose nearly nine-fold due to high investor interest. The note issuance drew great interest from international investors settled in the Middle East and Asia, as well as those investors based in the US and Europe. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised the joint lead managers.
    - Paksoy
  • Turkiye Finans to Issue Ringgit Sukuk to Raise Up to MYR 3 Billion In Malaysia

    Turkiye Finans issued the first ringgit sukuk originating from Turkey. The bank initially raised MYR 1 billion with a five-year commodity sukuk on June 30, with an annual return of 6 %. The sukuk under the programme will have tenure of one to 20 years. Funds raised will go towards general corporate purposes. The sukuk will be issued through TF Varlik Kiralama A.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Turkiye Finans. Malaysia's RAM Ratings has accorded the programme an indicative long-term rating of AA3. HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Standard Chartered Saadiq were the joint advisers. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised Turkiye Finans and the issuer TF Varlik Kiralama A.S.
    - Paksoy
  • Ziraat Bank Established GMTN Programme to Issue Bonds Worth USD 2 Billion

    Ziraat Bank, the largest state owned bank of Turkey, established GMTN programme on 21 May 2014, for the notes to be issued up to  USD 2 billion listed on Irish Stock Exchange. The notes are unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations, and rank  pari-passu with Ziraat Bank's other senior unsecured obligations.
    - Paksoy
  • Vakifbank Sells EUR 500 Million Notes Under USD 5 Billion GMTN Programme

    Vakifbank issued EUR 500 million 5-year unsecured and unsubordinated notes under the first GMTN programme of Turkey established in 2013. The notes are listed on Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 3.5 % p.a. with a maturity date 17 June 2019. This is the very first EUR denominated RegS offering of a Turkish entity.
    - Paksoy