Legal market overview in Argentina

Argentina’s ongoing economic struggles have persisted through 2023, with inflation hitting 115% (the highest levels since 1991) and the OECD forecasting GDP contraction of 1.6% for the year.

The embattled economy has seen employment stagnate and the Treasury has battled to balance the books, with the country struggling to meet its obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), even after renegotiating the terms of a $44bn bailout supplied by the IMF during the Macri administration.

Strict foreign exchange controls, meanwhile, continue to stifle inbound investment and international debt markets remain effectively shuttered to Argentine corporates. The economy’s already challenging circumstances have been exacerbated by a period of dislocation in Argentina’s key agribusiness sector, where one of the worst droughts in forty years has put a severe dent in production, with wheat harvesting down 55% on 2022 levels.

Despite the wider economic turmoil, the country’s energy and mining sectors have continued to prosper. Improving oil-and-gas prices have boosted the country’s Vaca Muerta shale production, which has the potential to quadruple production by 2030 according to some forecasts, while Argentina’s lithium industry (the fourth largest in the world) has continued to boom as global demand of electric vehicles, which rely on the white metal, rises.

There is also cautious optimism within Argentina’s investor and corporate communities that better times lie ahead for players in all industries. On 22 October 2023 the country goes to polls with growing expectations that the general election will bring in a pro-business government with a mandate to get to grips with the public finances and inflation.

The challenges and opportunities facing Argentina have kept the legal sector incredibly busy, with local and international clients turning to their lawyers for support in a fluid and unpredictable market. Employment law and tax law have remained active areas, as have bankruptcy and dispute resolution. Natural resources and energy have delivered a steady flow of transactional and financing work, with banking, insurance, IP law, consumer law and TMT also stable. The country’s burgeoning fintech sector – which is growing at 15% a year – has been active too, and is covered for the first time in the guide this year.

The dynamic legal needs of domestic and global corporates, investors and institutions have been well served by Argentina’s strong roster of full-service law firms. Celebrating its centenary in 2023, Marval O’Farrell Mairal remains -arguably- the standout name in the market, with not only the largest lawyer-headcount, but undoubted and outstanding depth and expertise across multiple key practice areas. Bruchou & Funes de Rioja, meanwhile, has invested significantly in strengthening its already broad offering after combining with benchmark labour and employment specialist Funes De Rioja & Asociados in the most significant shift in the market over the last 24 months. Beccar Varela is another top tier full-service operator, as is Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen.

Other market stalwarts with established track records in all major practice areas include the impressive Allende & Brea, and Bomchil, which has made significant progress during the last three years, boosting its capabilities through mergers with market-leading oil-and-gas boutique Alliani & Bruzzon in 2020 and specialist tax firm Teijeiro & Ballone, Abogados in 2022. With a broad-to-full service offering, the resilient Abeledo Gottheil Abogados is also of note; the firm celebrating its 60th anniversary as we publish this edition of the guide in October 2023.

Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados and Martínez de Hoz & Rueda are also well-known firms with broad service offerings. Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados has successfully expanded its client base in recent years, while Martínez de Hoz & Rueda has made progress building out into other sectors in addition to sustaining its blue-chip oil-and-gas practice. Real estate powerhouse Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados is another firm that continues to broaden and consolidate if offering (as most recently evidenced by its September 2023 absorption of IP boutique Castrillo & Asociados in September 2023); while O'Farrell also covers a range of practice areas, with its telecoms, electricity, tax and public law expertise particularly sought after.

Other key names in the market include DLA Piper Argentina, which boasts formidable banking and corporate practices; go-to banking and corporate firms Salaverri, Burgio & Wetzler Malbran, Tavarone, Rovelli, Salim & Miani and Tanoira Cassagne Abogados; and Baker McKenzie, which has top notch labour, life sciences and compliance teams.

Boutique offerings also continue to thrive. G. Breuer is a market leader in the IP space; Estudio Gabriel Macchiavello and Venditti Hierro Quinteros lead the way in environmental law, with Rosso Alba & Rougès sought out for its specialist tax expertise while Naveira Truffat Martínez Abogados (NTMA) and Estudio Alegría, Buey Fernández, Fissore y Montemerlo are high profile names in bankruptcy and restructuring matters.

In a notable development in the market Salaberren & Lopez Sanson (SyLS) announced its opening of an office in Montevideo, Uruguay, in conjunction with well-known local practitioner, former Posadas, Posadas & Vecino partner, Eduardo Ferrari – effective as of June 2023.

Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen, meanwhile, boosted its labour and employment offering with the lateral hire of Geraldine Moffat, who made the move from Bruchou & Funes de Rioja; and Salaverri, Burgio & Wetzler Malbran strengthened its senior dispute resolution team with the promotion of Matías Rivera to the partnership. Other high profile moves include IP lawyer Maria Santa Luis making the jump from Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum to Clarke, Modet & Co, and oil-and-gas veteran Ricardo Beller departing Marval O’Farrell Mairal  for a role with PAG Law. In the tax space respected tax lawyer Tomás Balzano transferred from Beretta Godoy to Richards, Cardinal, Tützer, Zabala & Zaefferer, while Alfaro-Abogados boosted its ranks with the hire of former Marval O’Farrell Mairal corporate and mining-focused senior associate Andrés Villarreal as a partner.

Practice Areas