Firm Profile > Marval O’Farrell Mairal > Buenos Aires, Argentina

Marval O’Farrell Mairal

Banking and finance Tier 1

Full-service powerhouse Marval O’Farrell Mairal is highly regarded for its ‘top-quality lawyers’, ‘extensive resources’ and ‘strong experience in the banking area’. The team handles an array of lending, corporate finance and regulatory matters, for an impressive roster of local and multinational banks, including Banco Galicia, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs - it also acts for major corporate borrowers. Key figures include structured finance expert Roberto Silva Jr, who led on some of the firm’s highlight capital markets deals over the past year, such as advising the joint bookrunners on the local aspects of Corporación América Airports’ $485m IPO on the NYSE. In another headline deal, corporate finance partner Juan Diehl Moreno acted for the lenders (Citibank, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, JP Morgan and Santander) on a $500m syndicated loan to Telecom Argentina. On the banking M&A side, Silva Jr acted alongside Pablo Artagaveytia to advise Banco do Brasil on increasing its stake in Argentine bank Banco Patagonia, through a $202m share acquisition. The group also benefits from the senior expertise of firm chairman Santiago Carregal, department coordinator Gabriel Matarasso and experienced regulatory specialist Cecilia Mairal. Among the up-and-coming names, associate Francisco Abeal is recommended.

Bankruptcy and restructuring Tier 1

Top-tier firm’ Marval O’Farrell Mairal impresses with its ‘deep and strong experience in all types of restructuring cases’. The well-balanced group acts for a broad range of creditors, shareholders, debtors and trustees — in both out-of-court restructurings and contentious bankruptcy cases. Senior of counsel Martín Campbell is widely regarded as a leading light; he teamed up with department head Fernando Hernández and finance specialists Ricardo Beller and Cecilia Mairal to advise the creditors’ committee on the implementation of Sociedad Comercial del Plata’s reorganisation plan. Moreover, in July 2019 the firm announced its absorbtion of the former Rivera & Asociados, long a noted disputes boutique and 'one of the market’s leading debtor shops’ for restructuring matters, particularly those with complex contentious proceedings. Founding partner Julio César Rivera was appointed as a “supplementary judge” (“conjuez”) of the National Supreme Court in 2018 and becomes an honorary partner at Marval. The team also includes litigations specialist Julio César Rivera (h), who also becomes a partner, and four associates. While it remains too early to evaluate the merger in full, early indications suggest this to be -in the words of one client- a 'win-win situation', boosting Marval's contentious and restrucuturing capabilities significantly. Other representative clients include Arla Foods Ingredients and Supercanal.

Competition and antitrust Tier 1

Clearly the best competition practice in the market’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal impresses with its ‘strong tradition in the area’ and ‘very deep experience’. The firm’s signature corporate practice translates into a steady stream of merger filings and it is also a top choice for complex antitrust investigations. Market heavyweight Miguel del Pino heads the department and is leading the team’s advice to both parties on the local aspects of ChemChina’s $43bn acquisition of Syngenta. He also continues to represent Time Warner on the Argentine merger control review arising from its $108bn acquisition by AT&T. Santiago del Rio is the other key contact and advised Zurich on the Argentine aspects of its $550m acquisition of QBE’s Latin American business. The team has also recently undertaken work for Arla Group, General Electric and Shell. Other names to note include Gabriela Ariel Irizar and the ‘extremely talentedIgnacio Mora — both are associates.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Among the best in LatAm’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s corporate team secures rave reviews for its ‘clear, solution-oriented advice’, ‘unswerving focus on delivering results’ and ‘unmatched knowledge of the legal and economic implications of transactions’. The firm’s deep bench is a recurring theme and clients say ‘almost all corporate partners have a high level of proven expertise, which is rare in Argentina’. Among the names to note, Pablo Viñals Blake is ‘one of the finest corporate lawyers in Argentina’; he paired up with Diego Chighizola (‘a future market leader’) to advise Pampa Agribusiness Fund on Pampa Capital Management’s sale of crop sprayer manufacturer PLA to John Deere. Diego Krischcautzky provides ‘practical and business-oriented advice’ and acted with Hernán Slemenson and Fernando Hernández to advise Argentine biotech group Bioceres on a $456m share exchange agreement with private equity-owned Union Acquisition Corporation. Corporate head Pablo Artagaveytia is an ‘excellent communicator’ with a strong record in Brazil-related deals; he recently acted hand-in-hand with the banking practice to assist Banco do Brasil with its $202m acquisition of an additional stake in Banco Patagonia. Other key names include high-profile figure Héctor Mairal (‘the best "all-practice" lawyer in Argentina’), firm chairman Santiago Carregal, sector specialist Pablo Garcia Morillo , ‘knowledgeable and analytical’ up-and-coming partner Bárbara Ramperti; and María Macarena García Mirri, who made partner in August 2019.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Top tier in commercial litigation’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal also excels in arbitration, with notable firepower in complex, multi-jurisdictional cases. The practice, held up for its ‘unrivalled breadth and depth’, is led by heavyweight litigator Ricardo Ostrower, who brings to bear deep experience in complex, high-stakes disputes. Ostrower recently teamed up with Santiago Soria, and the oil and gas department, to represent Transportadora de Gas del Sur in an arbitration claim brought by Pan American Energy and Pan American Sur related to the performance of a long-term natural gas processing agreement. In another headline piece of litigation, Ostrower acted alongside the public law group to assist Cargill with its case against the Province of Chaco before the Federal Supreme Court arguing the unconstitutionality of certain provincial regulations impacting on its operations. Senior counsel Martín Campbell is ‘a remarkable lawyer’ and paired up with Facundo Viel Temperley to represent Credit Suisse as defendant in a class action concerning the Madoff fraud. Were the ‘seamless and joined-up team’, which also includes Rodrigo García  and Elías Bestani, not formidable enough, in July 2019 the firm announced the absorbtion of 'outstanding disputes boutique' Rivera & Asociados, whom the Marval team had faced in the TGS-Pan American case. The merger adds signifcant firepower to the department, particularly in terms of arbitration: former managing partner Julio César Rivera is widely acclaimed as ‘the best arbitrator in Argentina’; he is also highly regarded for judicial restructuring cases and was appointed as a supplementary judge (“conjuez”) of the National Supreme Court in 2018. Julio César Rivera (h), who joins as a partner, is a ‘first-class litigator’. Incoming associates of note include arbitration specialist Laura Piedrahita Abella.

Insurance Tier 1

Marval O’Farrell Mairal houses an ‘excellent insurance practice’ that is ‘widely recognised as a leader in strategic matters’. The group, which demonstrates robust experience across a comprehensive spread of insurance classes, routinely undertakes corporate, regulatory and contentious work for major industry clients such as Mapfre, MetLife and Zurich. Department lead Pablo Cereijido is widely hailed as a leading light and represented Aseguradora de Créditos y Garantías in a leading case brought by the Argentine government testing the application of certain insurance provisions against the government. On the corporate side, Cereijido acted for Zurich on the Argentine leg of the acquisition of QBE’s insurance and reinsurance operations. Elías Bestani is highly regarded for his specialist expertise in maritime and aviation cases; he recently advised the reinsurers and a foreign shipowner in a salvage remuneration claim involving river barges.

Intellectual property Tier 1

Standing strong at the top of the market, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s widely admired IP practice is held up as ‘impossible to compete with’ by clients. The firm’s ‘unrivalled depth of team’, ‘high volume of cases’ and ‘specialist lawyers’ ensure it maintains a significant lead over its competitors and the client consensus is ‘few firms come close’. The comprehensive nine-partner group fields experts in patents, trade marks, IP litigation and enforcement, with its broad sector expertise spanning the pharmaceutical, luxury goods, TMT, and food and beverage industries, among others. On the patent side, the firm’s dominant position translates into a 45% share of patent litigation cases in Argentina — patent heavyweight Martín Bensadon continues to be a prominent player in that space. On the trade mark front, Sergio Ellmann is a high-profile figure and recently assisted Ultimate Fitness Club with correcting a mistake whereby the wrong trade mark was published — the correction was allowed on appeal. The team also includes widely revered IP litigator Gustavo Giay, who acted with Martín Chajchir to advise Procter & Gamble on an anti-counterfeiting programme to block the large-scale counterfeiting of its Ariel laundry detergent. Other names to note include trademark specialist Iris Quadrio, counsel Iván Poli and impressive patent litigation partner Ignacio Sánchez Echagüe.

International trade and customs Tier 1

The comprehensive practice at Marval O’Farrell Mairal ‘sits firmly at the top of the market’, according to clients. The group, noted as ‘strong across the board in trade issues’, particularly impresses with its ‘great experience in sophisticated and complex cases’. Trade remedy cases are a notable strong suit and the firm is currently handling seven large antidumping investigations simultaneously, in a clear demonstration of its leading position in that sphere. Among its key examples, highly regarded group head Pablo Gayol represented the Brazilian exporters in the antidumping investigation into denim exports. He also represented LG Electronics Argentina on an antidumping investigation into vacuum cleaners from China. Counsel Patricia López Aufranc is another prominent sector expert and is advising Oki Data Americas (Argentine branch) on import and export regulations. On the customs side, tax specialist Juan Pablo Rothschild — acting alongside the corporate department — advised a client from the alcoholic beverage industry on a customs import valuation investigation. Among its other areas of activity, the team also handles tariff code interpretation, litigation and WTO dispute settlement. Other key contacts include senior tax and customs partner Horacio García Prieto and impressive associate Jazmine Daruich.

Labour and employment Tier 1

Put simply, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s employment practice is ‘gold standard’, according to admiring clients. The ‘undoubtedly top-tier group’ is widely agreed to possess ‘one of the most diverse teams in the market’, with its ‘excellent attorneys’ held up for their ‘high ethical standards and deep knowledge’. In particular, high-profile figure Enrique Stile is described as a ‘market leader’; he recently advised Alexion Pharmaceuticals on the employment aspects of the closure of its operations in Argentina. Department head Javier Patrón is also widely revered and advised Sensient Technologies on a $20m termination case. Impressive younger partner Diego Kelly continues to raise his profile in the market, with satisfied clients valuing his ‘strong proactivity and comprehensive business and labour law perspective’. Kelly assisted Shell CAPSA with the labour and employment aspects of the spin-off and sale of part of its business and local operations to Raízen. The group also includes immigration head Rodrigo Solá Torino, litigation expert José María Llano and the talented Guillermo Osorio, who made partner in August 2019.

Mining Tier 1

A stand-out mining firm’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal houses ‘the market-leading practice in Argentina’, according to many. The group covers all the bases in mining law, with specialist skill sets in mining projects, transactions, regulatory matters and litigation — it is also distinguished by its ability to draw upon the wider firm’s top-tier expertise in corporate finance, public law and tax to provide support on multi-layered mining deals. Department head Luis Lucero is widely revered as a ‘go-to mining specialist’ and provides ongoing advice to Oroplata, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldcorp, on its Cerro Negro gold and silver mine. On the contentious side, Lucero is representing Glencore’s subsidiary El Pachón in its high-profile dispute with Minera Los Pelambres (an Antofagasta-controlled subsidiary) regarding a waste dump built by Minera Los Pelambres on Glencore’s property in Argentina. Leonardo Rodríguez is also a key contact and advised Coeur Argentina on granting an option to Minera Santa Cruz to purchase the Huracán and Tornado mining rights in the Province of Santa Cruz. The firm also benefits from an impressive band of younger mining specialists, including senior associate Andrés Villarreal and associate María Mercedes Rudolph. Other key clients include Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti and Pan American Silver.

Oil and gas Tier 1

Top-tier oil and gas practice’ Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s ‘extremely strong group’ is admired for its ‘impressive roster of clients’ and its ‘consistent involvement in key matters’. The team, which is well balanced between corporate, commercial and contentious work, is best known for its track record in multi-jurisdictional issues and it often leans on other departments within the firm to provide support on complex cases. Among its recent highlights, group head Francisco Macías acted hand-in-hand with the corporate and tax departments to advise BP on a joint venture with Bridas and CNOOC to form Pan American Energy Group. He is also leading the firm’s advice to various Argentine and Chilean clients in connection with several natural gas cross-border transactions; notably, these represent the first energy transactions between Chile and Argentina since 2010. On the contentious side, Macías represented gas distribution utility Litoral Gas in disputes concerning long-term gas supply contracts. Corporate finance partner Ricardo Beller is also a key contact.

Public law Tier 1

Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s ‘deep and experienced’ public law practice is distinguished by its ‘deep bench’ and ‘broad subject matter expertise’. The ‘clearly top-tier’ group also secures praise for its broad supplementary capability, with sources particularly highlighting its ‘great ability to draw on support from the corporate and projects teams’. Best known for its relatively even split between contentious and non-contentious matters, the department combines an impressive record in complex litigation with strength in PPP matters and corporate regulatory issues. Among its highlights, Enrique Veramendi represented toll roll concessionaire Autopistas del Sol in the successful renegotiation of its concession contract with Argentina’s federal government, which involved a compensation package of over $500m. In another high-profile case, María Lorena Schiariti represented Compañía Mega (a joint venture between YPF, Petrobras and Dow) in successfully challenging a rate surcharge for being illegal and unconstitutional. The group also includes preeminent administrative law expert Héctor Mairal.

Tax Tier 1

A leader in the tax field’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal houses a ‘major internationally strong practice’, which is noted for its ‘impressive strength-in-depth’ and the ‘sheer quality of its lawyers’. As one would expect from Argentina’s largest law firm, the department is well versed across the full spread of tax matters, with strong skill sets in advisory matters, tax planning, transactional issues and tax litigation. Among its non-contentious highlights, heavyweight tax specialist Gabriel Gotlib advised Terrifico Capital on the creation of a foreign private fund to invest in cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings. María Inés Brandt, highlighted as ‘very knowledgeable on tax matters related to M&A’, advised Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile on the tax aspects of the sale by its subsidiary SQM Potasio of its stake in Minera Exar, which owns the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project. In another headline transaction, Walter Keiniger acted for Bioceres on the tax aspects of its $456m share exchange agreement with Union Acquisition Corporation. Keiniger also assisted POSCO with the Argentine tax aspects of its $280m acquisition of lithium mining rights from Galaxy Resources. On the litigation side, Keiniger represented AMX Argentina in several lawsuits against municipalities disputing requirements to pay local taxes for inspection services rendered upon commercial establishments. The group also benefits from the senior experience of Horacio García Prieto, who is widely regarded as a market leader in tax and customs matters, and Fernando Vaquero.

TMT Tier 1

Deep, broad and very strong’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s comprehensive TMT practice is ‘extremely active in all key industry sectors’, according to clients. Certainly, the firm’s client list is impressive across the three pillars of technology (Facebook, Microsoft), media (BBC, Grupo Vila-Manzano) and telecoms (American Tower, Claro Argentina), and it packs a punch in transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. Recent work includes advising Riverwood Capital and Blackstone on the acquisition of Argentina-based CPS Comunicaciones — Daniel Di Paola led the group’s advice on that matter. Di Paola also paired up with Javier Etcheverry Boneo to assist Globenet Cabos Submarinos with the deployment of its fibre optic submarine cable system to Argentina. Di Paola and Etcheverry Boneo co-lead the team alongside Gustavo Giay.

Electricity Tier 2

Particularly prominent on the transactional side, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s power practice also demonstrates strong expertise in project development and regulatory issues. It also sets itself apart through its experience in alternative power matters, such as hydroelectric, nuclear and renewable energy. Among its highlights, energy and natural resources head Francisco Macías, acting together with the banking and public law teams, advised China Gezhouba Group on regulatory and contractual issues related to the $4.7bn construction of a hydroelectric project. The department also includes associate Gonzalo Santamaria, singled out by clients as a ‘very talented up-and-coming lawyer’. Other key clients include China National Nuclear Corporation and General Electric.

Environment Tier 2

Marval O’Farrell Mairal had a busy year on the project development front, which saw practice head Francisco Macías advise companies such as Senvion and Total on regulatory and permitting issues relating to renewable energy projects. The firm also continues to be a popular choice for complex environmental litigation, such as Macías’ representation of Compañía General de Combustibles in three environmental class actions filed by non-profit organisation ASSUPA, which seek remediation for the alleged damage caused by exploration and production activities. The group, working off its market-leading corporate and M&A practice, is also a strong performer in environmental due diligence matters. Senior associate Gabriel Fortuna is another key contact.

Real estate Tier 2

The ‘very solid’ practice at Marval O’Farrell Mairal is a popular choice for sale and purchase transactions and it also acts on a steady stream of development, leasing and property finance matters. Among the names to note, department co-lead Diego Chighizola is a ‘strong up-and-coming talent’; he paired up with corporate specialist Pablo Viñals Blake to advise property tycoons Edmond Safra and Nassef Sawiris on the $150m asset purchase, development and construction of office buildings in Buenos Aires. The same team also assisted the Werthein family with its $151m acquisition of a landmark site in the city of Buenos Aires. Hernán Slemenson co-leads a department that has also recently undertaken work for Pegasus Management, Hilton Hotels and InterContinental Hotels.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration > Local practitioners of note (by country)

Bomchil's María Inés Corrá focuses on energy and regulatory cases; the team lost Guido Tawil who is now an arbitrator. Rivera & Asociados' managing partner Julio César Rivera is widely recognised as the 'best arbitrator in Argentina', and is 'very reliable on complex civil law issues both as counsel and arbitrator'. At Bruchou, Fernández Madero & LombardiCarlos M. Rotman represented Pan American Energy Group in  ICC arbitration proceedings relating to the breach of contract against Transportadora de Gas del Sur; Ignacio J. Minorini Lima is also highly recommended. Ricardo A Ostrower and Héctor Mairal are names to note at Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal; the latter counts Petrobras, Total Austral, GE and Assurant Argentina Compañía de Seguros as his key clients. At Estudio Alegría, Buey Fernández, Fissore y Montemerlo, founding partner Héctor Alegría is recommended for acting as counsel in international arbitration proceedings as well as sitting as an arbitrator in commercial disputes. At Abeledo Gottheil AbogadosLuis Erize and Hernán Martín Oriolo are particularly well known for energy cases. José Martínez de Hoz at Martínez de Hoz & Rueda is 'rock solid in commercial and investor-state arbitration' and is particularly experienced in energy-related cases; he recently represented YPF in a $1.6bn ICC arbitration initiated by a consortium of natural gas operators.

Founded in 1923, Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal is the largest law firm in Argentina. A market leader at both local and Latin American levels, the firm has been providing sophisticated, high-quality advice to international and local clients for more than 95 years. The firm comprises over 300 lawyers and has wide experience of international business issues and the complexities of cross-border transactions.

Main areas of practice: Banking, finance and capital markets: credit facilities, trade finance, leasing. Trade, vendor, project, acquisition, structured real estate finance. Debt restructurings. Preferred stock, receivables, asset purchase programs. Debt, equity securities, securitizations, derivatives, synthetic products, financial trusts, mutual funds. Regulatory matters.

Bankruptcy/restructuring: advising creditors, shareholders, debtors and trustees from financial trusts in all types of proceedings in a range of sectors.

Commercial and competition: international trade law, commercial agreements and sale, purchase and leasing agreements. Antitrust and unfair competition issues. Product liability and consumer law.

Compliance, Anti-corruption & Investigations: compliance programmes, anti-corruption due diligence in M&A transactions, internal investigations,
and cases with regulatory authorities and the courts.

Corporate/M&A: M&A, private equity transactions, due diligence audits, planning and joint ventures, shareholder agreements, restructurings and spin-offs.

Employment: restructuring, collective bargaining and government/union negotiations. Employee stock options and benefit plans. Litigation.

Energy/natural resources: project financing/development, mining M&A, exploration permits and title rights. Oil and gas exploration, production, transportation, distribution, trading and marketing. Development/operation of pipelines, gas treatment facilities and power projects.

Environment: litigation, transactional, administrative and regulatory matters and contracts. Environmental audits and assessments and evaluation of environmental liabilities and remediation programs, M&A and real estate transactions.

Insurance/reinsurance: incorporation and acquisition of insurers, drafting and adaptation of insurance plans and policies to Argentine law and registration of foreign reinsurers and reinsurance brokers. Litigation.

Intellectual property: IP protection and management, transfer of technology and license agreements, international franchising agreements and licensing and registration of software. Protection of patents, utility models and ornamental design rights, trademark matters and worldwide trademark protection.

Internet & IT: advise internet start-ups on IP, tax, corporate structure and governance, employee benefits and executive and consultant compensation packages. E-commerce and internet-related issues. IT contracts, hardware contracts, software licensing, development and maintenance agreements, and outsourcing contracts.

Litigation and arbitration: civil and commercial litigation, administrative proceedings, arbitration and ADR. Enforcement of foreign judgments and awards in Argentina. Bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, including recovery of debts. International arbitration.

Public/administrative law: administrative law and regulatory matters, including litigation.

Real estate: sale, purchase and leasing agreements, structuring, financing and development.

Tax and customs: tax-efficient structures for transactions, strategic tax planning and innovative tax-driven products. Customs and dumping claims.

Telecommunications: regulatory and corporate matters, M&A and financing.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance Santiago Carregal
Banking and finance Gabriel Matarasso
Bankruptcy/restructuring Fernando Hernández
Competition Miguel del Pino
Compliance, Anti-corruption & Investigations Pedro Serrano Espelta
Corporate/M&A Pablo Artagaveytia
Employment Javier Patrón
Employment Enrique Stile
Energy/natural resources Francisco Macías
Energy/natural resources Luis Lucero
Insurance and reinsurance Pablo Cereijido
Insurance and reinsurance Elías Bestani
Intellectual property Iris Quadrio
Intellectual property Martín Bensadon
Litigation and arbitration Ricardo Ostrower
Public/administrative law Héctor Mairal
Public/administrative law M Lorena Schiariti
Public/administrative law Enrique Veramendi
Real estate Hernán Slemenson
Real estate Santiago Carregal
Tax and customs Horacio García Prieto
Tax and customs María Inés Brandt
Tax and customs Gabriel Gotlib
Tax and customs Walter Keiniger
Telecommunications Daniel Di Paola
Telecommunications Gustavo P Giay
Telecommunications Javier Etcheverry Boneo
Other fee-earners : 265
Total staff : 618
Partners : 64