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Legal market overview

Uruguay continues to benefit from a positive economic outlook, thanks in part to a forecast 3% growth in GDP and an international reputation as a safe haven in Latin America for investors. It has also emerged from the 2002 financial crisis (which arose when Argentina’s default sparked an economic crisis in Uruguay) in a stronger position, thanks in part to less dependency on Argentina to drive the country’s economic growth. The country’s impending national election (to be held in October 2014) is presenting a new set of challenges, including the question of how to reach the approximately 250,000 new voters who are disregarding traditional media streams such as radio and print in favour of newer forms of social media.

In the legal market, two local powerhouses dominate for major transactional and disputes work: Ferrere – which relocated to new corporate headquarters in Montevideo in 2013 – and Guyer & Regules. The Uruguayan legal market fields several other significant and respected corporate practices, including Posadas, Posadas & Vecino, which has continued to grow its reputation in corporate and financial matters due to its broad overseas client base; Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana + Brause, which has strength in financial matters; and Hughes & Hughes, Bergstein, Sanguinetti & Foderé Abogados, and 2011 start-up Bragard & Durán Abogados, are all also well-regarded firms.

Standalone IP firms corner the market in the intellectual property space, although the full-service Ferrere is the outlier here thanks to its strong IP service. Other leading practices in the IP sector include Fischer Abogados, Cikato Lawyers – Intellectual Property, Fox & Lapenne, Vanrell Propiedad Intelectual, and Cervieri Monsuárez y Asociados, which recently recruited English lawyer Mark Teuten and absorbed his boutique practice Teuten Abogados.

[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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