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Legal market overview
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.
2012 saw Bolivia undertake its first international bond issue (for $500m); the specialised agency that assigned it a ‘BB’ rating predicted stable fiscal and monetary policies in the country in the coming years.
Despite Bolivia’s withdrawal from ICSID in 2007, the dispute resolution sector remains dominated by ongoing arbitration proceedings against the state, primarily in relation to the expropriation of foreign companies’ assets in the natural resources and energy sectors.
Full service firms Moreno-Baldivieso, Attorneys At Law, Guevara & Gutierrez S.C., Servicios Legales and CR & F Rojas Abogados are the most established firms and maintain their position as market leaders, while mid-sized firms Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. Abogados and Indacochea Asociados, Abogados Sociedad Civil also retain their share of international work. Boutique practices are sometimes seen providing top-tier specialised legal services on a par with larger firms, particularly in IP (Estudio Juridico Orpan), tax (Araujo & Forgues) and labour and employment (Estudio Jurídico Carrasco & Carrasco – Abogados Asociados). Meanwhile, multi-jurisdictional operation Ferrere is increasingly coming to the fore, with a growing presence in Bolivia to match that of its offices in Uruguay and Paraguay.