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Legal market overview
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.
In the legal market, major transactional work is largely divided between the two local powerhouses, Ferrere and Guyer & Regules, which continue to dominate the market across the board. Despite this predominance, the Uruguayan market has a number of other significant and prestigious corporate players, including Posadas, Posadas & Vecino, which has further cemented its reputation in corporate and financial matters due to its broad client base from overseas; Jimenez de Arechaga, Viana + Brause, which has strength in financial matters; and the very competent Hughes & Hughes. The capable and respected Bergstein, dynamic Sanguinetti & Foderé Abogados, and 2011 start-up Bragard & Durán Abogados, are all also noteworthy. Posadas’ José Rodriguez was recently elected President of the (primarily) Brazilian law firm alliance, Aliança de Advocacia Empresarial (ALAE), which has stated its desire to become a fully Latin American organization.
In the intellectual property sector, where (with the exception of Ferrere), stand-alone IP firms predominate, a spin off from Bacot & Bacot in early 2013 saw the establishment of new firm Vanrell Propiedad Intelectual. Founding partner Juan Vanrell, was also elected president of the Inter-American Intellectual Property Association (ASIPI) in December 2012. Other leading firms in the sector include Fischer Abogados and Cervieri Monsuárez y Asociados and Fox & Lapenne.