Firms in the Spotlight Legal market overview

Vinatea & Toyama

Vinatea & Toyama logo

Vinatea & Toyama is the largest specialized practice firm in Peru in labour law & employment, renowned for handling the market’s most complex, sensitive, and strategic matters. The firm has 3 areas: (i) Advisory; (ii) Litigation; (iii) Inspections. To date, the team is made up of 47 labour lawyers, led by eight partners with between …

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Valderrama Abogados

Valderrama Abogados logo

Valderrama Abogados is a multidisciplinary law firm that provides comprehensive legal advice in Labor, Corporate, Legal Compliance, Government Contracting, Real Estate, Regulatory Law, Tax and Social and Governmental Relations.

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DS Casahierro Abogados

DS Casahierro Abogados logo

With more tan 20 years of experience, DS Casahierro Abogados, is the Peruvian firm of DS law firm, the first globalized French firms, with more than 20 offices located in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa, supporting clients in 13 countries, such as: France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Senegal, Canada, …

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Legal market overview in Peru

In recent years, the Peruvian market has become increasingly unstable, with political and economic uncertainties. The situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a substantial impact on the corporate sector and inbound investment into the country.

On December 7th 2022, President Pedro Castillo announced that he was dissolving congress and would be ruling by decree until a new legislature could be elected, in what was seen by many as a coup d’état. It was, however, extremely short lived and within hours, abandoned by his political allies and the executive institutions necessary to govern, Castillo was impeached by the Peruvian Congress. A tumultuous end to a tumultuous reign; Castillo was succeeded by former vice president Dina Boluarte, the country’s first female president and its seventh leader in as many years.

Castillo, a former schoolteacher with no political experience, was relatively popular among poor and rural communities and his arrest led to protests across the country. The protesters’ demands included the dissolution of Congress, the resignation of Boluarte, a general election and the release of Castillo. These protests followed on from those beginning in March 2022, which arose in response to rising fuel and fertiliser prices, a knock-on effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The protests were met with violence by security forces and dozens have been killed in what, according to a recent report by the non-profit Human Rights Watch, amounts to ‘extrajudicial or arbitrary killings’ under international law. Given that most protesters killed are from indigenous communities, the unrest has brought to the surface longstanding ethnic tensions between rural indigenous peoples and more affluent urban populations based in coastal cities, highlighting the continued divide between rich and poor in the country.

In a relatively prosperous wider economic environment (GDP growth was 2.7% in 2022, an impressive post-pandemic recovery rate), the protests led to an economic slowdown and hit the key mining and tourism sectors. As highways and transport infrastructure were incapacitated by the protesters, some mining operators were unable to transport their goods and others suspended their activities due to security concerns.

The recent political and economic issues have shaken investor confidence somewhat and there were few new energy or infrastructure projects announced in early 2023, leading to a downturn in transactional work for law firms. This was reflected more broadly in other key drivers of the economy such as in M&A and finance deals, which were also down in terms of volume. However, given Peru’s position as a key player in the global commodities market (the country accounts for around 10% of the world’s copper supply), law firms are confident of an uptick in foreign investment as soon the situation starts to stabilise.

Another key talking point in the legal market has been the Supreme Decree No. 001-2022-TR, enacted on February 23rd, 2022, which severely restricted enterprises’ ability to outsource certain types of work. Before the law was enacted, there was trepidation from employers and lawyers alike due to the implications of adapting to the change in regulations and the increase in operational costs from doing so.

The change in law led to a huge number of bureaucratic barrier cases brought against government agencies in relation to outsourcing, and in 2022, The Indecopi Specialised Chamber for the Elimination of Bureaucratic Barriers (SEL) suspended the unpopular decree in a blow to the already embattled government. The law sits in limbo until popular action lawsuits filed before the judiciary are resolved. Given the political, economic and social unrest in the country, Boluarte has a huge challenge in uniting the divided nation.

Despite wider challenges and a downturn in transactional work, the legal market remained relatively buoyant during 2022 and 2023, with Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados; Miranda & Amado; Payet, Rey, Cauvi, Pérez Abogados; Rebaza, Alcázar & De Las Casas; and Hernández & Cía continuing to be the top players in the market, and Muñiz, Olaya, Meléndez, Castro, Ono & Herrera Abogados still handling around a third of all M&A work in the jurisdiction.

Key international firms active in the country include Estudio Echecopar member firm of Baker McKenzie International; Garrigues; Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uria; and CMS Grau, which are well known for mining work; DLA Piper Perú; Dentons Peru; and Cuatrecasas.

Major market movements have been limited but one notable merger saw Damma Legal Advisors -best known for its tax offering- absorb Sumara Hub Legal, bringing the former new strength in areas including financial regulation, capital markets and legal innovation; the combination came into effect as of September 2023; while the following month another notable strategic development saw Payet, Rey, Cauvi, Pérez Abogados swoop for CMS Grau's mining team pretty much in its entirety, with a seven-lawyer hire.

Other developments saw the significant growth of Petra Legal, a small firm founded in late 2019 by disputes specialist Javier Lozada Paz, which saw the arrivals of: Claudia Chong (corporate/M&A) and Diego Grissolle  (mining and energy) from Rubio Leguía Normand in March 2023; then that of Fátima De Romaña and Daniel Lovón (both banking and finance specialists) from the former Lazo De Romaña Abogados in July 2023; and finally the incorporation of Martin Mayandia Burns -who was formerly in house- in September 2023.

Note: in this year’s edition of the guide, the dispute resolution table has been split into arbitration, litigation and white-collar crime, allowing readers a better insight into the key players in these dispute resolution sub-segments.

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