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Following the disruption caused by last September’s hurricane Irma, a re-scheduled reception for the launch of The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist for US-based Latin America specialists took place at The Four Season’s Hotel in Miami in mid-February. We were delighted to co-host the event with sponsors Lex Mundi, not only due to the prestige of this pre-eminent entity in the Legal Alliance space, but also because this meant that in-house counsel guests had representatives of almost every Latin American jurisdiction on hand.

Following welcome addresses from Lex Mundi Chair, Marval O’Farrell Mairal, Sebastian Iribarne and The Legal 500’s Latin America editor, Tim Girven, guests moved to the ballroom for what became a very lively panel discussion on the specificities of the role of US-based regional counsel for Latin America, and the challenges faced by this very particular community. A hugely experienced line-up included: MasterCard’s Victoria Sánchez; Rune Riegels Christensen, from ISS; Avon’s Marta Carreira-Slabe; and Alex Tolston from Hemisphere Media Group, along with Paulo Rocha of Lex Mundi’s Brazilian member firm, Demarest, who was on hand to give a private-practice perspective.

Issues ranged from the validity of the regional in-house role, when (as one of the panellists had so eloquently argued) each jurisdiction is “a world unto itself in many respects”; the difficulties involved in remaining competitive when other local market participants are not compliant with US and European regulatory requirements; and the increasing role international corporations have as corporate citizens in the region. The conversation grew more boisterous once it was opened to questions from the floor - particularly as the issue of (perhaps inevitable) subject of corruption in the region raised its head. Indeed, when -in response to suggestions of comparability between Latin America and the US came to the fore after a particularly pointed (not to mention political) question, one panellist retorted -to general amusement - that the point “was like comparing oranges and Buicks”.

It was quite clearly time to conclude the panel, at which point the assembled attendees decamped to the Four Seasons’ Edge Terrace, a Miami landmark, to network, chat, and enjoy drinks and canapés in a balmy Florida evening. Suffice to say it was necessary to extend the bar for an additional hour or two as the conversations lengthened and deepened... Indeed, a few guests showed little inclination to call it a night until well into the small hours. I hazard to say that a good time was had by all.

“The event last night was very well done - I had a great time and really enjoyed the panel discussion!” - a Chief Regional Counsel attendee.

“Congratulations on the event [it was] “a great opportunity to meet very interesting people and build relationships with clients and colleagues”a private practitioner

“Very honoured to be named to the Legal 500 GC Powerlist US: Latin America Specialists. I enjoyed speaking on the panel and meeting all the other honourees.”a panellist.

Please scroll down to see pictures of the event: