Firm Profile > Prieto Abogados > Santiago, Chile

Prieto Abogados
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Competition and antitrust Tier 2

The competition practice at Prieto Abogados  handles contentious and non-contentious cases before the TDLC, representation before the FNE in cartel or abuse-of-dominant-position cases and (increasingly since the June 2017 reforms) merger-control review, along with preventative consultancy and compliance programmes. In TDLC matters, the team has been particularly active in the retail, agriculture, energy, banking and transport sectors. The dedicated four-strong team advises clients including Aguas Andinas, Banco Internacional, SURA and Transelec, calling on relevant partners including Claudio Undurraga  (energy, infrastructure, arbitration), Fernando Samaniego  (arbitration and litigation) and Juan Tagle  (M&A) as necessary. Recent matters saw practice head Benjamín Grebe , who demonstrates 'strong expertise', lead the defence of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha in an antitrust lawsuit against six maritime transport companies for allegedly collusive agreement of tender terms in the interoceanic automotive transport market. Other work included the deisgn of a compliance program for Watt's and ongoing antirtrust advice to Puertos y Logisticas. Former senior associate Manfred Zink returned to the FNE in 2018 and was replaced by Nicolás Yuraszeck, himself returning to the firm after a period in London, most recently at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Prieto Abogados' 'flexible practice' covers complex cross-border deals, private equity transactions and joint ventures; recent deals involved the energy, banking, insurance and pensions sectors. The 30-strong group is also experienced in transactions involving the retail sector and food and wine industries. Active clients of the department include Inversiones La Construcción (ILC), Engie Energía Chile, Altis Principal Investments and HDI Seguros. In recent matters, the team was counsel to ILC, which operates in the Chilean and Peruvian finance and healthcare sectors, on its $49m purchase of a stake in Chile's Banco International and Factoring Baninter (the team also provides ongoing compliance advice to ILC). Juan Tagle and Fernando Bravo head up the practice, while José Andrés Pascual Moreno leads on compliance work. Also key to the group are Cristóbal Villarino, Gerardo CruzatPatricio Prieto L, senior associate Andrés Laymuns and associate Juan Andres IlharrebordeJaime Ríos  left to establish Ríos & Llaneza.

Insurance Tier 2

Prieto Abogados' seven-strong team is led by Patricio Prieto L , who is particularly well-known for advising on the creation, implementation and operation of insurance and reinsurance companies. In contentious matters, the practice assists with claims and insurance recoveries in relation to risk - such as fire, earthquake, business interruption and insolvency. Notable clients include Assurant Chile Compañia de Seguros Generales, Chubb Seguros Chile and American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida. Recent matters saw the team assist HDI Seguros (Chile), which with the sale of its Peruvian subsidiary, HDI Seguros (Perú). Other key contacts on the team are litigator Alberto González Vidal and associate María Cristina Ríos Llaneza.

Mining Tier 2

The six-strong team at Prieto Abogados assists with financing agreements, project development, easement procurement, and environmental and antitrust matters; it is particularly active in mining issues related to port, energy and infrastructure projects. Recent mandates include advising Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte on several mining concession and easment matters related to the financing agreements for a power transmission project. Other ongoing work includes assisting Prospecta, Agricola Talinay and Compañía Minera Doña Francisca mining patent reviews. Firm managing partner Alberto González E and transactional specialist Juan Tagle are both highly regarded. Key support comes from experienced senior associate Camila Kutz. In addition, the July 2018 arrival of Agustín Martorell from Claro & Cia. as director of the environmental practice has further strengthened the firm's offering. Other clients include Americas Energy Fund, VivoCorp and Puerto Lirquén.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Prieto Abogados advises both private and public sector clients on tender matters, construction issues and project development; the practice has particular expertise in the energy, gas, and water and sewage treatment sectors. Clients include Solar E, Empresa Depuradora de Aguas Servidas Mapocho-Trebal and Engie Energía Chile; the team recently advised the latter on the due diligence and closing documents for a wind energy project acquisition. Claudio Undurraga, Fernando Bravo, José Andrés PascualPatricio Prieto L and Cristóbal Villarino are the key contacts; Camila Kutz and Nicolás Yuraszeck are the associates to note. Jaime Ríos left for Ríos & Llaneza.

Real estate Tier 2

Prieto Abogados is well respected for its advice on the acquisition, development and construction of large real estate projects. Clients include Inversiones La Construcción, Desarrollos Urbanos and Inmobiliaria Deisa; current mandates include regularly advising real estate investment fund Fondo de Inversion Privado GSI I on property acquisitions. Infrastructure and real estate litigator Fernando Samaniego, Cristóbal Villarino and associate Juan Andrés Ilharreborde are the names to note.

Banking and finance Tier 3

Prieto Abogados' 12-strong team has been active, recently, advising on domestic and international syndicated loan agreements (predominantly on the debtor-side), and complex restructurings and corporate reorganisations. Other areas of strength include project finance and debt recovery, and the team has a notably high-profile role in debt placement work. Clients include Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte, CaixaBank, Engie Energía Chile and GM Financial and recent mandates saw the practice assist Eléctrica Nueva Energía with the amendment of series of loan agreements with Banco Santander-Chile; and Caixa Bank with the negotiation, execution and collateral agreements of a loan to Inversiones la Construction. Gerardo Cruzat heads up the banking and finance practice, while senior market figure Patricio Prieto L leads the capital markets team; practice director Isabel Margarita Wolleter is an experienced capital markets counsel.

Dispute resolution Tier 3

The eight-strong team at Prieto Abogados is 'usually well informed about almost every important case in Chile, even when not directly involved'. The practice regularly acts before arbitrators and ordinary courts, particularly in disputes involving the energy, construction, real estate and retail sectors; the practice has also recently been active in insurance and healthcare-related matters. Recent headline mandates saw Alberto González V (arbitration, particularly in real estate, construction and energy disputes) and Fernando Samaniego (real estate, construction and anti-trust litigation) advise four electrical power generating companies (including Engie Energía Chile), in a $160.2m damages claim against GasAtacama Chile for unlawful conduct in relaton to the reporting of generation data. Other work saw González and Samaniego team up with senior partner Claudio Undurraga (utilities, energy, infrastructure and anti-trust litigation) to advise GWC Inversiones in a $21m damages claim for presumptive breadch of contract. Associate Juan Pablo Riesco is also a key team member. Clients include Engie Energía Chile, Huawei,  Aguas Andinas, VivoCorp, Watt's and Sibelco Chile.

Environment Tier 3

Following the departure of former senior associate Aldo Cardinali to the Mining Ministry in 2018, Prieto Abogados hired senior associate Agustín Martorell from Claro & Cia.  as practice director. The three-strong team, which can rely on partner-level input from Juan Tagle, handles environmental due diligence during M&A, administrative procedures before the environmental authorities, contentious defences, and environmental compliance and permitting issues. Clients include Engie Energía Chile, Plaza del Trébol and YPF Chile; the team recently acted for the latter before the administrative authorities in relation to an oil spill in the Magallanes region.

Labour and employment Tier 3

Prieto Abogados is focused on labour litigation, labour-related corporate advice and collective bargaining. Key clients include Engie Energía Chile, Plaza and LG Electronics; recent matters include assisitng Yamana Gold with a collective bargaining matter that involved approximately 400 employees.  Christian von Bergen heads the department; Cristóbal Raby, who was made partner in 2019, 'focuses on the best and most efficient way to comply with clients' requirements'.

Public law Tier 3

Prieto Abogados is 'committed to its clients and achieves their public law objectives; the practice also has an excellent working style'. The team is primarily focused on energy matters. Recnet work in other market segments include representing Portuaria Lirquen regarding maritime concession issues before the Constitutional Court. The key advisers are managing partner Alberto González Errázuriz, litigation and arbitration head >Fernando Samaniego, and associates Agustín Martorell (recently hired from Claro & Cia. as environmental team head), and litigator Juan Pablo Riesco; Martorell 'has solid technical knowledge and great negotiating skills'.  Former senior associate Carolina Helfmann left for Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos.

Tax Tier 3

Prieto Abogados 'stands out because of its approach towards clients, taking the time to understand their needs'. The practice is experienced in the tax issues surrounding investments into the energy, ports and public utility sectors; the team also advises on project finance-related tax matters, tax-planning for family offices and individuals, and tax litigation. It recently assisted Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte with the VAT aspects of the construction of an electricity transmission line. Mario Gorziglia, Leonidas Prieto and Cristián Bay-Schmith are the main advisers; Rosario Vidal is the associate to note.

TMT Tier 3

Prieto Abogados advises on the corporate, M&A, financing, tax, dispute resolutions and public law aspects of TMT work; notable clients include Telcordia Technologies, Empresas Red Salud, Multitiendas Corona and  MediaPro Chile; the practice also recently became Huawei (Chile)'s principal day-to-day legal adviser for contractual matters, compliance, government authority relations, and TMT-related litigation. Mario Gorziglia is telecoms and technology leader and Cristóbal Villarino advises foreign companies on the provision of web services in Chile. Gerardo Cruzat and senior associate Juan Andrés Ilharreborde are also key team members.

Electricity/oil and gas

Prieto Abogados has longstanding experience in the energy, gas, and water and sewerage sectors. The firm fields lawyers with energy-sector M&A, regulatory and litigation expertise and the team regularly advises developers, owners and investors - particularly on renewable energy projects. Notable clients include Solar E, General Electric Capital, Electrogas and Engie Energía Chile; the team assisted the latter with the closing acquisition documentation for the Los Trigales wind-energy project in southern Chile. The team also advised Empresa Depuradora de Aguas Servidas Mapocho-Trebal (EDAM), which is part of the Suez Group, on an EPC contract for the replacement of Archimedes screw pumps at a waste water treatment plant. Claudio UndurragaFernando Bravo, Juan Tagle and José Andrés Pascual are the main contacts; experienced associates Camila Kutz and Alejandra Bañados provide a strong second line.

Prieto is a full-service business-oriented law firm with consolidated prestige in handling complex matters, and is well known by its relevant foreign and local client base. With its broadly experienced team of lawyers, the firm provides legal services across a wide range of practice areas.

Areas of practice
Administrative: Prieto counsels domestic and international companies on public and administrative law, whether during due diligence processes or at litigation phases.

Antitrust: Prieto is highly regarded in this area, having participated in numerous investigations conducted by the FNE and cases before the TDLC.

Banking, finance and capital markets: the firm’s strong team of lawyers are involved in securities’ offerings, IPOs and project finance transactions, usually representing both local investment banks and issuers.

Corporate and securities: much of the firm’s work consists of corporate finance, corporate governance, takeover bids, joint ventures, reorganizations and partnerships, among others.

Customs and trade: Prieto covers several areas in these matters. Customs law and regulations: import, export, classification, custom value, rules of origin, custom due diligences, free trade zones, custom litigation, custom rulings, subsidies dumping and other WTO regulations.

Energy and natural resources: Prieto has an intense and active role in energy and natural resources matters. Prieto counsels national and international players involved in energy generation and transmission.

Mining: the mining department counsels national and international clients on constitution procedures for exploration and exploitation mining rights and their related easements.

Environment and permits: throughout the years, the environmental department at Prieto has evidenced the relevance of permit validity and integrity regarding the acquisition of a company.

Insolvency, bankruptcy and business reorganisation: Prieto is one of the leading firms in restructuring, reorganization and liquidation of companies.

Insurance and pension funds: the insurance department has a solid base of local and international insurance companies and brokers, with an experienced group of specialists that include a former head of the insurance department at the Chilean regulator.

Intellectual property: Prieto offers its clients registration of trademarks, designs, patents, internet, domain names, vegetable varieties and copyrights.

Labor: the firm advises clients in establishing incentive programs for executives and employees, in collective bargaining procedures and in the restructuring of companies.

Litigation and arbitration: Prieto regularly represents clients on relevant disputes related to energy, construction, real estate, retail, insurance, securities and transportation.

M&A: Prieto has a seasoned team with an extended experience in multinational, cross-border and domestic M&A transactions and due diligence work

Public utilities: Prieto has extensive experience in gas, power, water and telecommunication services. It has advised in matters related to the construction and financing of a gas works.

Real estate, construction and infrastructure: Prieto offers comprehensive advice on real estate, from due diligence, financing, purchases, leases and mortgages to planning, development and construction projects.

Tax: the tax department at Prieto advises clients in respect of all tax issues, particularly in the structuring of diverse and complex transactions.

Department Name Email Telephone
Founding Partner Patricio Prieto S
Founding Partner Alberto González E
Corporate and M&A Juan Tagle
Corporate and M&A Fernando Bravo
Energy and natural resources Claudio Undurraga
Energy and natural resources Juan Tagle
Energy and natural resources José Andrés Pascuall
Banking, finance and capital markets Patricio Prieto L
Litigation and Arbitration Fernando Samaniego
Litigation and Arbitration Alberto González V
Labor Christian Von Bergen
Labor Cristóbal Raby
Environment Agustín Martorell
Customs and international trade Mario Gorziglia
Tax and administrative Mario Gorziglia
Tax and administrative Leonidas Prieto
Administrative Agustín Martorell
Administrative Juan Pablo Riesco
Arbitration and antitrust Benjamin Grebe
Arbitration and antitrust Claudio Undurraga
Real estate, construction and infrastructure Fernando Samaniego
Projects and Infraestructure Nicolás Yuraszeck
Tax Cristián Bay-Schmith
Photo Name Position Profile
 Cristián Bay-Schmith  photo Cristián Bay-Schmith Partner
Mr Fernando Bravo  photo Mr Fernando Bravo Partner.
Mr Gerardo Cruzat  photo Mr Gerardo Cruzat Partner
Mr Alberto González E.  photo Mr Alberto González E. Founding Partner
Mr Alberto González V  photo Mr Alberto González V Partner.
Mr Mario Gorziglia  photo Mr Mario Gorziglia Partner.
Mr Benjamín Grebe  photo Mr Benjamín Grebe Partner.
Mr Carolina Helfmann  photo Mr Carolina Helfmann Senior.
 Camila Kutz photo Camila Kutz Senior Associate.
Mr Andrés Laymuns  photo Mr Andrés Laymuns Senior Associate
 Mr. Agustín Martorell  photo Mr. Agustín Martorell Senior Associate.
Mr José Andrés Pascual  photo Mr José Andrés Pascual Partner
Mr Leonidas Prieto  photo Mr Leonidas Prieto Partner.
Mr Patricio Prieto L.  photo Mr Patricio Prieto L. Partner.
Mr Patricio Prieto S.  photo Mr Patricio Prieto S. Founding Partner.
Mr Cristóbal Raby  photo Mr Cristóbal Raby Partner
Mr Jaime Rios  photo Mr Jaime Rios Partner.
Mr Fernando Samaniego  photo Mr Fernando Samaniego Partner.
Mr Juan Tagle  photo Mr Juan Tagle Partner.
Mr Claudio Undurraga  photo Mr Claudio Undurraga Founding Partner.
Ms M Teresa Vial  photo Ms M Teresa Vial Senior.
Mr Cristóbal Villarino  photo Mr Cristóbal Villarino Partner
Mr Nicolás Yuraszeck  photo Mr Nicolás Yuraszeck Partner
Mr Christian von Bergen  photo Mr Christian von Bergen Partner
Other fee-earners : 46
Meritas International Law Firms
Mackrell International (Global Network of Independent Law Firms)
Partners : 16

Pinilla Gonzalez & Prieto Abogados continues to consolidate its leadership in the practice of urban and real estate law in the legal services market in Colombia but has also made important achievements in other areas such as environmental, corporate and M&A, tax, conflict resolution and litigation and public law, offering high-quality knowledge and services to important natural and legal persons of great importance in the business world inside the country and abroad. The excellent performance of the firm’s legal and technical team in the last year has not only translated into high levels of satisfaction among its clients but has also allowed growth in the number of partners at the firm, going from six to ten, and also in the number of lawyers, going from 45 to 65. Recently Angela Caicedo and Martha Rico were named as new partners in the area of urban and real estate law. Also, Camilo Baracaldo was named in the area of conflict resolution and litigation, with Julian Rojas becoming partner in the area of corporate and M&A.

Areas of practice
Urban planning and real estate: the firm keeps and consolidates an undisputed leadership in this practice, headed by Juan Manuel Gonzalez, Angela Caicedo and Martha Rico, considered number one by Chambers & Partners in the legal services market in Colombia. A highly skilled team of professionals in different disciplines provides advice and accompaniment for the design and development of urban and real estate projects throughout the national territory.

Corporate, civil and commercial: it is one of the practices that has been gaining significant ground in the last year thanks to the arrival of new clients and its excellent results. The team, headed by Felipe Pinilla and Julian Rojas, specializes in the design and implementation of companies and investment vehicles.

Conflict resolution and litigation: under the leadership of two experienced lawyers, Felipe Pinilla and Camilo Baracaldo, the firm has been able to successfully defend the interests of important clients focusing on litigation prevention, but at the same time showing great knowledge that has allowed it to obtain favorable decisions from judicial courts. The team specializes in the accompaniment and representation of natural and legal persons in all kinds of processes and judicial and arbitral litigation.

Taxes, fees and contributions: the leadership of such an outstanding partner as María Helena Padilla, together with the vast experience of Felipe Pinilla, positioned this practice with enormous success during the last year. This has been possible thanks to the top performance achieved by a team of experts in tax planning, with experience in all legal services related to taxes, fees and contributions.

Environmental and utilities: this is another top-performing area of the firm thanks to the broad experience of Natalia Núñez in corporate, environmental law and sustainability in business groups and law firms with presence in Colombia and Latin America. The team offers complete advisory in environmental law for the development of activities and projects in which natural resources must be protected.

State contracting: it is currently one of the most dynamic sectors in Colombia thanks to the construction of infrastructure through public-private partnerships. The team, headed by David Garzon, provides advice and accompaniment for businesses in state contracting processes.

Department Name Email Telephone
Taxes, fees and contributions María Helena Padilla:
Corporate, civil and M&A Felipe Pinilla E:
Corporate, civil and M&A Julián Rojas E:
Conflict resolution and litigation Felipe Pinilla E:
Conflict resolution and litigation Camilo Baracaldo E:
Environmental and utilities Natalia Núñez E:
Urban and real estate Juan M Gonzalez E: jmgonzá
Urban and real estate Ángela Caicedo E:
Urban and real estate Martha Rico E:
Public utilities and state contracting David Garzón E:
Other fee-earners : 55
Total staff : 65
All main business languages
Partners : 10