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Legal market overview

The general elections in late 2014 secured the continuity of the governing centre-left Frente Amplio coalition, and the return of former president Tabaré Vazquéz to the Palacio Estévez. This new political development alongside a series of positive economic and social factors (including scoring high on several welfare measures, institutional stability and low levels of corruption), continue to position Uruguay as one of the most attractive countries in the region for foreign investment. Despite the fact that the country has been steadily growing at an average annual rate of 5.2% for nearly a decade now, the economy has slowed down due to adverse economic scenarios in neighbouring giants Brazil and Argentina.

The explosion of renewable energy projects and their financing (including wind power, biomass, and solar energy) and the booming infrastructure projects (not least regasification plants) has required a good deal of complex legal advice and has contributed to the honing of the sophistication of the legal market.

Two firms dominate the local market; one, Ferrere, has developed a substantial regional presence in a number of smaller jurisdictions over the last 12 years; the other, Guyer & Regules is a renowned, blue-chip firm. They are closely followed in the corporate and financial areas by Posadas, Posadas & Vecino. Other key, medium-sized firms including Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana + Brause, Hughes & Hughes, Olivera Abogados, Bergstein, and young Bragard & Durán Abogados, all have a certain share of the market.

With the exception of the practice at Ferrere, IP continues to be the battlefield reserved for boutique firms. Traditional names include Fischer Abogados, Cikato Lawyers - Intellectual Property, Fox & Lapenne, Bacot & Bacot and Fernández Secco & Asociados; also of note are newer firms Cervieri Monsuárez y Asociados and Vanrell Propiedad Intelectual.

A notable market development in 2014 was the separation of Eduardo Sanguinetti and Alberto Foderé, previously at Sanguinetti & Foderé Abogados. The spin off comes after the division in 2011 of Sanguinetti-Foderé-Bragard Abogados which resulted in the foundation of Bragard & Durán Abogados. Both former name partners have now set up their own firms: Sanguinetti & Asociados and Foderé Abogados, respectively. The market awaits the consequences of the turmoil to better consider the position of the new players.

(Note: Unlike accountants, Uruguayan public notaries (escribanos) have the same educational requirements as lawyers. For the purposes of this chapter, such notaries are included herein.)

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