Latin America 2014 – GC Powerlist
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Latin America 2014

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Adriano Marcelo Baptista

General counsel | Companhia Energética de Pernambuco (CELPE)

Formerly in house at Telemar Norte Leste, Adriano Marcelo Baptista has been general counsel at CELPE, the power concessionaire for the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, since 2005. ‘It’s an incredibly...

Alberto Alcalá

Director of legal, compliance and institutional relations | Pernod Ricard

‘An up-and-coming figure of genuine talent and with real push’, Alberto José Alcalá moved in house at Empresas Polar in 2004 where he gained invaluable industry experience before being appointed...

Alejandro Cantu Jiménez

General counsel and secretary | América Móvil

Formerly at The Legal 500 recommended firm Mijares, Angoitia, Cortes y Fuentes, Alejandro Cantú Jiménez is general counsel at América Móvil, Mexico’s largest mobile phone telecommunications company. ‘A very close...

Alejandro Rubilar Camurri

Country counsel (Chile) | JPMorgan

‘An outstanding in-house counsel’ who ‘not only excels in the theory of law but also on the practical side’, country counsel for JPMorgan (Chile), Alejandro Rubilar also has responsibility for...

Alexandra Bandeira

Assistant general counsel | Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN)

‘Accessible, creative and easy to work with’ Alexandra Bandeira is an up-and-coming figure who has been assistant general counsel at Brazil’s Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) since 2008. Her role has...

Alvaro Barriga

General counsel | Corp Banca

As general counsel of Corp Group, one of Chile’s major economic holdings, Alvaro Barriga directs an immediate team of three lawyers, but also, depending upon the matter in hand, works...

Ana Carina Turco Grecco

Head of legal | Molinos Rio de la Plata

‘An excellent in-house lawyer who focuses rapidly on the key issues and is always an aid to her external counsel’, Ana Carina Turco is head of legal at Perez Companc...

Ana Carolina de Salles Freire

Director of legal & compliance and vice president for legal affairs | AES Brazil

Ana Carolina de Salles Freire spent over 15 years at leading law firm TozziniFreire, latterly as a partner, before moving in house at AES Brasil, initially as legal director, and...

Antonio Vazquez

Vice president & chief counsel (Latin America) | Mondelez International

A former senior manager in the law department at Coopers & Lybrand Madrid, Antonio Vazquez moved in-house at Kraft as director of legal and corporate affairs for the Iberian Peninsula...

Arturo Pera

General counsel | Total Austral

General counsel at Total Austral, the French hydrocarbons giant’s Argentine subsidiary, Arturo Pera directs a nine-strong legal team comprising four lawyers and five contracts specialists. His tenure in the post...

Camilo Wittica

General counsel for Latin America | Electrolux

‘Dealing with a very political and volatile Latin America, where protectionism and exchange-rate fluctuation can create complex legal disputes that are expensive for the companies that operate here is a...

Carlos Alberto Mechetti

General counsel | Cencosud

Carlos Alberto Mechetti has been at publicly-traded, multinational retail company Cencosud for almost 20 years and has been the company’s general counsel since 1999. As such he has been the...

Carlos Henao

General counsel | Grupo Éxito

‘Intelligent and a great team player’, Carlos Henao is general counsel of Grupo Éxito, Colombia’s largest retail group. Also responsible for corporate matters, since his arrival he has overhauled the...

Carlos Lanardonne

Legal director & country compliance officer (Argentina) | Novartis

With extensive experience in private practice at a number of Argentine firms between 1996 and 2003, Carlos Lanardonne moved in-house at Empresa Nobleza-Piccardo as senior head of legal affairs for...

Carlos Rafael González

Vice president and chief M&A counsel | Prudential Insurance


Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Carlos González is vice president and chief M&A counsel for Prudential Insurance. With an impressive private practice career, first at White & Case,...

Carolina Carrasco-Acuña

Legal counsel (LatAm Pacific) | Alstom

Having begun her in house career at family-owned forestry group, Maderas Condor, Carolina Carrasco-Acuña has been counsel at the Chilean subsidiary of French multinational conglomerate ALSTOM for 11 years. Since...

Cristina Lloreda

Vice president for legal affairs | Sanford Management

Cristina Lloreda became vice president for legal affairs at holding company Sanford Management, where she handles the legal requirements of a portfolio of 15 companies, in May 2013. Having begun...

Daniel Mora

Senior legal counsel (Venezuela) | Level 3 Communications

‘Dynamic and capable’ and with ‘an extensive knowledge of telecommunications’ Daniel Mora worked at Compañia Anonima Nacional Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV), before moving to Global Crossing (today Level 3 Communications)...

Daniel Tapia Mejía

Assistant general counsel | América Móvil

Assistant general counsel at América Móvil since 2001 (when the company was spun off from former parent, Telmex), Daniel Tapia directly manages a sizeable team of 36, and has18 legal...

Daniel Urbina

General counsel for the Americas | IC Power

With experience in both private practice and the public sector (notably as director general of legal affairs at the Ministry of the Presidency), Daniel Urbina moved in-house in 2000, occupying...

Daphne Zagal Otiniano

Vice president, legal & compliance | AFP Integra

Daphne Zagal held in-house positions at Suez Energy (Peru) and Shell (Peru), before arriving as head of legal and compliance at pension fund manager AFP Intergra in 2006. Late in...

David Handelsmann

General counsel | Macquarie infrastructure & real assets (MIRA)

General counsel of the Latin American operations of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the Macquarie Group’s alternative asset management business, David Handelsmann is ‘a dealmaker in every sense of...

Denise Guillén

Vice president legal and ombudsman, Latin America | Nielsen

Chief legal counsel for Latin America at global market analysis behemoth, The Nielsen Company, Denise Guillén’s responsibilities cover 18 countries. Since her arrival at the company three years ago, she...

Desirée Orsini

Head legal counsel | Avianca-Taca

Head legal counsel at AviancaTaca since 2012, Desirée Orsini has played a significant role in the growth of the Peruvian airline industry. Formerly chief counsel at Lan Perú for over...

Edgar Trueba

Executive director, legal and compliance | Morgan Stanley

With an MBA in banking and finance as well as an LLM in international business law, Edgar Trueba has over ten years in-house in the financial sector, initially at Banco...

Eduardo Fernández Garcia-Travesi

Director of legal affairs | Grupo Financiero Santander

In the dismal financial scenario resulting from the 2008 financial crisis, the decision by Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico to pursue a dual listing (in both the US and Mexico), in...

Eduardo Oliveira Gedeon

General counsel for Latin America | Odebrecht Infraestructura

Eduardo Gedeon has been with leading Brazilian construction group, Odebrecht, for 25 years, during which time he has worked with a number of the group’s 14 different business units, such...

Eileen Shin

Executive director & assistant general counsel | JPMorgan

Formerly a member of the capital markets team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Eileen Shin moved in-house at JPMorgan in 2007. She is currently executive director and assistant general counsel...

Eliana Crisafio

Legal affairs manager for South America | Bohringer-Ingelheim

After approaching ten years in private practice, Eliana Crisafio moved in-house as regional head of legal affairs and compliance at pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim in 2007, before being appointed head...

Emilio F Gnecco

Chief legal officer | Adecoagro

Adecoagro’s chief legal officer for Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, Emilio Gnecco has been a member of the company’s senior management since 2005. Formerly in private practice at The Legal 500...

Enriqueta González de Saenz

General counsel | BBVA Banco Continental


Formerly in the public sector, first as general counsel of government investment bank COFIDE and then as legal superintendent at Peru’s banking regulatory body, the Superintendence of Banking, Insurance and Pension Funds (SBS),...

Esteban Mazzucco

Legal director (Latin America) | Syngenta

‘In today’s world, being a corporate counsel in the Latin American region is an enormous challenge’, observes Esteban Mazzucco, currently legal director for Latin America at specialised agrochemicals company Syngenta,...

Fabiana Siviero

Legal director | Google

Information technology

Formerly head of the litigation department at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves Advogados, Fabiana Siviero has been legal director at Google Brasil Internet since 2008. ‘It’s exciting to work...

Felipe Alves

Legal director | Janssen Cilag Pharmaceutical


Appointed legal director of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Cilag Pharmaceutical in February 2014, Felipe Alves was previously legal director of the parent group’s consumer division. He regards his most...

Felipe Márquez Robledo

Vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel, Colombia | AngloGold Ashanti

Formerly at Coca-Cola FEMSA, where he was general counsel with responsibility for South American corporate affairs, AngloGold Ashanti’s Felipe Márquez, vice president for corporate affairs & general counsel for Colombia,...

Fernando Enrique Freire

Head of Corporate Legal | Grupo Insud

With private practice experience at Sáenz Valiente, Padilla & Asociados (today Sáenz Valiente & Asociados) and Pozo Gowland Abogados, and also as a foreign associate with Hunton & Williams in...

Fernando Gestal

Legal director | GlaxoSmithKline

Legal director for the southern cone (& ‘LatAm Pacific’) at GlaxoSmithKline since 2005, Fernando Gestal has a small team in which he has sought to inculcate a culture of risk...

Fernando J Devoto Achá

Director of legal, corporate and institutional relations | Grupo Gloria

Fernando Devoto is the director of corporate legal matters and institutional relations for Grupo Gloria, a diversified Peruvian conglomerate active across the food & dairy, sugar and alcohol, cement, phosphates,...

Francisco Hernández

General counsel for growth markets | Tyco International

Amat victoria curam (“victory loves preparation”) could be Francisco Hernández’ motto, according to external counsel who’ve worked alongside him. Recently appointed general counsel for growth markets at Tyco International, he...

Gonzalo Barboza

Intellectual property director for the Americas | Red Bull

Gonzalo Barboza began his career at Argentine firm Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martínez de Hoz (h) before spending two years with Hogan Lovells in Spain. Moving in house...

Gonzalo de Dios

Director of regulatory affairs and assistant general counsel | Intelstat

Currently associate general counsel for the Intelsat Corporation, Gonzalo de Dios has over 20 years’ engagement with the telecommunications sector, much of it with particular relation to Latin America. Moving...

Gonzalo García Lussardi

Regional counsel | Tyco Argentina

With a strong background in the telecommunications sector, (he was formerly in house counsel at both Telecom Argentina and Telecom Personal), Gonzalo García Lussardi has been regional counsel for Tyco...

Gonzalo Raffo

General counsel | Pluspetrol Perú

With a strong background in the finance sector, having worked as legal advisor at Banco de Credito, Santander Investment and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), Gonzalo Raffo also has extensive...

Guillermo Bolinaga

Director of legal & regulatory matters | Empresas Polar

‘Long-time’ director of legal and regulatory matters at Venezuela’s largest privately-owned company, diversified food and drinks group, Empresas Polar, Guillermo Bolinaga has ‘extraordinary legal expertise and absolutely outstanding public relations...

Guillermo Morales

Head of legal | Banco de Crédito del Perú


Head of legal at Banco de Crédito del Perú, Guillermo Morales heads a team of 81, some 50 of whom are lawyers. Appointed in January 2010, he has since overhauled...

Guillermo Ucha

General counsel (Argentina) | Citibank


Once considered among the top three Argentine lawyers under 45 by Argentine (digital) newspaper Infobae, and the only ‘in-house’ likely to be a future leader in the legal field, Citibank’s...

Isabel Ocaña

Head of legal & compliance (México) and head of compliance (Latin America) | Deutsche Bank


Since beginning her in-house career at the Mexican Securities Industry Association (AMIB), where she worked for six years, the ‘exceptional’ Isabel Ocaña has built an increasingly distinguished career. She spent...

Javier García García

General counsel | Kaluz

An unusual figure insofar as that he has held both legal and non-legal positions, Javier García García ‘runs the legal department of one of the largest and most sophisticated holding...

Jill Wallach

Managing director and partner | BTG Pactual

Currently managing director and partner with responsibility for legal and compliance across the treasury, corporate, asset and wealth management and investment banking arms of BTG Pactual, Jill Wallach has a...

Joao Camarota

Regional general counsel | Morgan Stanley

Formerly in private practice at The Legal 500 recommended Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados for almost a decade, João Camarota decided to move in house when...

Joe Hill

Head of legal and compliance (Latin America) | BlackRock

A former chair of the Inter-American Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar and member of its executive committee, Joe Hill has had an impressive trajectory: having served as...

Jonathan D Bisgaier

General counsel | BTG Pactual

Formerly a partner with the Latin American-focused corporate finance and private equity practice at at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Jonathan Bisgaier joined Brazilian banking group BTG Pactual...

Jorge Alvarado

Head of legal | Banco Promerica Ecuador


Twice the president of the Ecuadorian Banking Law Committee of the country’s banking association, Jorge Alvarado has been head of legal at Banco Promerica, since its founding in 2001, indeed,...

Jorge Álvarez

Legal manager | Carbones del Cerrejon

Jorge Álvarez has been head of legal affairs at integrated coal company, Carbones de Cerrejon, for over 20 years. During his tenure he has been involved in the exit of...

Jorge Dueñas

Associate director for legal compliance and ethics | Boehringer-Ingelheim

Jorge Dueñas Zapata is associate director for legal compliance and ethics for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean at pharmaceutical company, Boehringer-Ingelheim. Formerly in-house at Banco Capital where he was...

José Castelli

Head of legal, insurance & corporate governance for the Southern Cone | Bunge

With ‘versatility, depth and an extraordinary comprehension of the agro-export business’, the ‘dynamic’ José Castelli is head of legal, insurance and corporate governance at diversified commodities and agribusiness group, Bunge,...

José Augusto Palma

General counsel | Hoschschild Mining

‘One of the top international attorneys of Latin American origin’, Peruvian national José Augusto Palma has an ‘impressive legal trajectory’. Dual-qualified (Mexico & Washington DC), he spent a decade in...

Juan Manuel Posada

Legal director | Banamex

Juan Manuel Posada has 18 years’ in-house experience in Banco Nacional de Mexico (Citibank Mexico), generally regarded as the emblematic financial institution of the country and as being ‘at the...

Juan Pablo Barrera Ulloa

Legal director | Organización Corona

Juan Pablo Barrera is currently corporate legal director at Organización Corona, a Colombian conglomerate with six business units and overseas operations throughout Central America as well as in Panama, Mexico,...

Leandro Telles

Head of legal for investment banking | Itaú BBAl

‘I believe finding and keeping the best talent, and maintaining a high performance team is the biggest challenge any head of internal counsel might face’, comments Leandro Telles, head of...

Lina Maríá Cortes

Legal director | Fresnius Medical Care (Colombia)

‘The role of in-house counsel is not only legal management; it implies the management of administrative and budgeting matters, participation in the company’s strategic planning and leadership of human resources’,...

Marcela Achurra González

Director of legal affairs | Compania Cervecerias Unidas (CCU)

Formerly at the group’s subsidiary, Viña San Pedro, Marcela Achurra González has been director of legal affairs at the Chilean-owned international drinks group Compañía Cervecerías Unidas (CCU) since 2005, during...

Márcio Silveira

Legal and compliance | Oracle

With experience in the finance and automotive sectors as well as in IT, Sao Paulo-based Márcio Silveira has been at Oracle for over 15 years and is currently head of...

Marcos de Campos Ludwig

General counsel | Manabi

A standout figure among the younger generation of Latin American in-house counsel, Marcos de Campos Ludwig, general counsel at Brazilian iron-ore company Manabi, has overseen the company’s growth from a...

Mariano Mazur

Head of legal | Perez Companc Family Group

Having begun his career in private practice at Bruchou Fernández Madero & Lombardi where he was ‘identified early as a potential star’, Mariano Mazur made the move in-house ‘with great...

Mauricio Bezerra

General counsel | Odebrecht Ambiental

With an LLM in international economic law (magnum cum laude), Maurício Bezerra has extensive experience having worked at consultants Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers and financial institutions including Standard Bank and...

Mauricio Davila

General counsel | Minera San Cristobal (Sumitomo)

Formerly with PricewaterhouseCoopers in both Bolivia and the United States, Mauricio Davila is the general counsel of Sumitomo Corporation’s Minera San Cristobal. Unsurprisingly, he has ‘an excellent grasp of tax...

Mauricio Ibáñez Campos

General counsel | Grupo México

Another of the younger figures on this list, the ‘stupendous’ Mauricio Ibáñez Campos, only took the ‘super high-profile position, both locally and internationally’ of general counsel at Grupo México in...

Mauricio Roberto de Carvalho Ferro

Vice president, legal & corporate governance | Braskem

Vice president of the legal department and for corporate governance, and also a member of the executive board at Braskem, Mauricio Roberto de Carvalho Ferro is ‘a delightful person’, who...

Michel Biber

General counsel | Grupo Romero

General counsel at Peruvian holding company Grupo Romero, Michel Biber directs a 21-strong team that advises on all the legal requirements of the group’s constituent companies, with the exception of...

Michelle Beckers

Corporate counsel | Rimini Street

Michelle Beckers joined independent enterprise-software provider, Rimini Street, as corporate counsel in 2008 after almost seven years in private practice and rose rapidly to senior corporate counsel, before being appointed...

Natalia Benítez Quintero

Counsel - Andean Region | Abbott

Formerly at Citibank in Bogotá, Colombia, Natalia Benítez has been at global pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories for almost five years and is currently counsel for the Andean region. ‘I chose...

Nicolás Faillace

Legal counsel for Latin America | Perenco Venezuela

Formerly in private practice at Araque, Reyna, Sosa, Viso & Pittier (now:Araquereyna), Nicolás Faillace joined Perenco (Venezuela) as legal manager in 2006. Appointed legal and administrative manager in 2008, he...

Nicolás Ramírez Noa

Counsel | Schlumberger de Ecuador

With experience in the public sector as legal counsel at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Industry and Commerce (where he participated in negotiating the foreign investment chapter of the US-Andean...

Nicolás Rubio

General counsel | Cerro Matoso (BHP Billiton)

Formerly VP-Legal for REFICAR (at that time, a Glencore-Ecopetrol joint venture), Nicolás Rubio became general counsel of BHP Billiton’s Colombian ferronickel operation, Cerro Matoso, in 2010. In late 2012 he...

Noe Pascacio Montijo

Legal counsel | Schlumberger de Mexico

Formerly at Siemens with responsibility for the power generation, transmission and distribution division, Noe Pascario joined Schlumberger in 2008 and has risen quickly, from integrated-project-management contract manager to senior contracts...

Osvaldo Grossi

Regional general counsel (Latin America) | HSBC

Based in Brazil, Osvaldo Grossi is Latin American regional general counsel for HSBC Bank. He manages a sizeable team of over 300, including 186 lawyers, spread across Argentina, Brazil, Chile,...

Pablo Gay Ger

Legal director | Repsol-Sinopec

With extensive experience at The Legal 500 recommended firms such as Argentina’s Estudio Beccar Varela and Brazil’s Pinheiro Neto, Pablo Gay Ger moved in-house at Repsol YPF Brasil (today Repsol...

Pablo Reynoso Mendoza

General counsel for Latin America | Kellogg Company

During an in-house career of over 20 years, Pablo Reynoso Mendoza has worked for a number of major companies including Altria, Kraft and Philip Morris. He is currently general counsel...

Paola Cesarman

Regional counsel for Latin America and the Caribbean | Tyco International

Paola Cesarman spent six years in private practice at Holland & Knight–Gallástegui y Lozano, Mexico, before moving in house at Tyco in 2007 where she is regional counsel for Latin...

Patricia Barbelli

Legal director for Latin America | Pirelli Tyres

Patricia Barbelli has more than a decade’s experience in house, initially at PepsiCo, and subsequently at Bayer where she rose to senior legal manager. Since 2011, she has been Latin...

Paulo José Rosito Fonseca

Legal manager & associate general counsel | Amgen Biotecnologia do Brasil

While he has worked in other industry sectors (principally aeronautics, at Embraer) and also spent time in private practice (at intellectual property specialists, Gusmão & Labrunie), Paulo Fonseca has primarily...

Pedro Mariani

General counsel | AmBev

‘A great all round lawyer, practical, careful and engaged with the issues’, Pedro Mariani is general counsel for Brazil’s leading drinks company, Ambev, a global player that is regarded as...

Renato Maia Lopes

General counsel | Votorantim Metais

‘A young lawyer, very intelligent and who always has vision’, Renato Maia Lopes joined Votorantim Metais as legal manager back in 1999. In 2008 he was promoted to general legal...

Ricardo Colmenter

Regional general counsel (Western Hemisphere) | Weatherford International

A former legal director of the Venezuelan intellectual property agency, Ricardo Colmenter moved in house at Halliburton in 2005 where, as part of the Latin American group, he was responsible...

Roberto Andrade Martínez

Legal director | Telefónica Moviles

‘Without a doubt, one of the most experienced, innovative and hard-working general counsels in the telecoms industry in Mexico’, Roberto Andrade Martínez has been at Telefónica Moviles for over a...

Rocío La Torre

Commercial coordinator | Petrobras Energía Perú

Energy and utilities

Rocio La Torre spent almost eight years in private practice at recognised energy-sector heavyweight, Estudio Muñiz, Ramírez, Perez-Taiman & Olaya Abogados, before moving in-house at Peru LNG in 2005. Moving...

Rodolfo Mario García Paredes

Head of corporate legal | Ecopetrol

With ‘remarkable industry knowledge’, Rodolfo Mario García Paredes has been at Colombia’s state hydrocarbons enterprise, ECOPETROL, for 14 years. His tenure stretches back to before the company’s crucial 2003 restructuring...

Rodrigo Montemayor

Regional general counsel and institutional relations director | Owens Corning

‘If all you do is provide great legal advice, we might as well go to a law firm’. This comment, shared by a top executive in a Johnson Controls’ legal...

Rodrigo Pérez

Legal counsel and corporate governance director | UHDE México (ThyssenKrupp)

Head of legal and corporate governance director for the Americas at engineering company ThyssenKrupp Uhde (Mexico), Rodrigo Pérez Elizundía ‘has maintained his company at the forefront of its sector despite...

Rogério Santos Teixeira

Legal general manager for projects, antitrust and compliance | Vale

With LLM’s in corporate law (magnum cum laude) and banking & finance law, the latter from the LSE, plus an MBA from the Fundacão Dom Cabral, Rogério Santos’ academic credentials...

Rubén Díaz

General counsel | Grupo Pellas

Cuban-born, Princeton graduate Rubén Díaz Jr, general counsel of Nicaraguan holding company Grupo Pellas, has ‘a keen intellect, over 30 years’ experience, and is very capable’. From private practice at...

Rubén Sabatini

Director general (Latin America) | Pluspetrol Argentina

With over 25 years’ in-house experience, Rubén Sabatini ‘may be from an older generation but is without doubt a great lawyer and an excellent in-house’. Currently general counsel for Latin...

Sandra López Gorbe

Head of legal | Ultrapar Participações

Chief legal officer at multi-business company Ultrapar Participações, since 2008, Sandra López Gorbe has built a reputation for being ‘a leader in best practices in the corporate governance and compliance...

Sandra Monroy

Legal & Compliance Director Northern & Andean Clusters | Level 3 Communications

With her most recent appointment as legal manager for institutional relations and social responsibility at Claro (Colombia), in November 2013, ‘dynamic attorney’ Sandra Monroy has taken a further step in...

Sergio Ricardo Salmi

General counsel (Argentina) | Banco Itaú


Sergio Ricardo Salmi has over 15 years’ in-house experience in the Argentine finance sector, initially at Consolidar, BBVA’s insurance division; and since 2010, as general counsel at Banco Itaú’s Argentine...

Silvia Maria Ribeiro Lopes

General counsel (Latin America) | Linde Gases

Formerly in-house in the energy sector and with in-house experience at The Legal 500 recommended Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga, Silvia Maria Ribeiro Lopes is general counsel...

Victor Murillo

Regional counsel (Central America) | Walmart de México y Centroamérica

‘Achieving the balance between being a business partner and, concurrently, remaining firm in one’s legal positions is an art and requires great assertiveness and the expertise to reach alternative solutions...

Victor Villafranca Moncallo

Senior corporate counsel | Grupo Herdez

‘A rising star with great potential’, Victor Villafranca Moncallo is currently senior corporate attorney at Grupo Herdez, a Mexican company focused on the alimentary sector with facilities in the US...

The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world for 28 years. In a new series, The Legal 500 is turning its attention to the in-house function, shining a spotlight on the role of corporate counsel, and in particular those individuals who are driving both legal business and the profession forwards. The latest edition is the GC Powerlist: Latin America, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region.

We have canvassed opinion from our in-house readers, as well as partners at law firms across the Americas, to identify 100 in-house figures of real note. The selection criteria sought to identify counsel who are changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; have developed brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; demonstrated the subtleties of the role in difficult socio-political contexts, or created innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function adds value, but who in all cases, offer an operative model with lessons for fellow in-house practitioners.

Putting together the research, it is interesting to note the common preoccupations identified by the vast majority of corporate counsel whether relatively new to the role or ‘old hands’. Chief among these is the issue of insufficiently ‘business-oriented’ advice. The on-going disjuncture between the business problem confronted and the advice received raises fundamental questions as to how ‘fit-for-purpose’ current models of law firm organization are. In a period when Latin America law firms continue to seek the most suitable institutional form (the Mexican market is, perhaps, a particular case in point), it would certainly appear apposite to ask whether having in-house experience that goes beyond basic secondments is set to become a new benchmark for the external practitioner, a step on from the LLM or ‘foreign associate’ experience previously regarded as key differentiators of a well-prepared private practice lawyer.

We hope that this listing will stimulate debate around in-house/private practice relations and help corporate counsel with possible improvements and efficiencies in running their departments.

David Burgess

Publishing Director

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP logo

Debevoise has been active in Latin America for more than 50 years, and over the past decade has worked on hundreds of completed transactions, including some of the largest and most challenging projects across the region. Debevoise’s Latin American practice is based in New York and draws support from the firm’s European and Asian offices. The firm is a recognised leader among international law firms active in Latin America, with a large number of lawyers who spend a significant amount of time on Latin American matters. Many of them speak Spanish and/or Portuguese. The firm invests heavily in its international intern program, employing some of the best-performing lawyers in the region. In 2013, Debevoise’s work in Latin America led it to win two first prizes in The American Lawyer’s Global Legal Awards program. The firm won for Global M&A Deal of the Year, Chile, for its representation of Mitsui & Co. Ltd in its joint venture with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), and for Global Dispute of the Year, Investment Arbitration, for its work in Occidental Petroleum v Ecuador.

Corporate M&A: clients and representation highlights include: Mitsui, in its agreement with GDF SUEZ Energy Latin America Participações Ltda, a subsidiary of the global energy group GDF SUEZ S.A., to participate in the Jirau run-of-the river hydropower project (a project with a value estimated at approximately BRL 16 billion, as of December 2012); The Principal Financial Group, in its acquisition of AFP Cuprum S.A., a leading pension manager in Chile; and the New York Life Insurance Company, in the sale of its Mexico surety subsidiary, Fianzas Monterrey, S.A., to ACE Group for about $285m.

Private equity/fund formation: the firm’s private equity funds practice is one of the largest in the world, and the firm has consolidated its role as the go-to counsel to work on the highest-profile and largest funds raised in Brazil and the rest of Latin America in the recent past. Clients include both large global firms, such as Carlyle, which most recently raised a Peru fund, and its parallel vehicles, extending the South America investment presence Carlyle established five years ago. Other notable clients include The Capital Group, Tishman Speyer and Brookfield, as well as leading asset managers based in Latin America, such as Vinci Partners.

Capital markets: the Latin America capital markets practice at Debevoise continues to expand its presence in the region, while fostering relationships with existing clients. The firm has advised Globopar, Brazil’s largest media and communications conglomerate, on a $500m combined offering of senior notes, senior secured exchangeable notes and step-up senior notes; and Itaú Unibanco, on its international financing program, including takedowns under its MTN program, and its SEC reporting and US securities law compliance matters.

Project finance: Debevoise’s infrastructure and project finance group has extensive experience in the infrastructure sector in Latin America, including transactions taking the form of public-private partnerships (P3s or PPPs). Sectors in which the firm has acted include transportation, energy, mining and natural resources, power generation and communication.

The firm has also played a leading role in the development of privatisation and P3 structures in Latin America, having been involved in most of the P3 projects in Chile and in many others in Mexico and elsewhere in the region.

In 2013, the firm’s project finance practice saw the addition of preeminent Canadian practitioner Doug Buchanan QC, who has joined the firm’s New York office as counsel and co-head of the global infrastructure and project finance group.

International arbitration and white collar: the firm advised the Occidental Petroleum Company and the Occidental Exploration and Production Company (Occidental) in an ICSID arbitration, winning what is believed to be the largest ever BIT award, US$1.8bn (US$2.3bn including interest). The filing of the claim was made two days after Ecuador terminated all of Occidental’s exploration and production rights and seized all of its assets in the country. Global Arbitration Review (GAR) named the Occidental award ‘The Most Important Published Decision of 2012’.
Debevoise has also aided Perenco Ecuador Limited in its BIT and contract claims against the Republic of Ecuador. The firm won a groundbreaking, unanimous decision on provisional measures in favour of its client, ordering that Ecuador and Petroecuador refrain from instituting or further pursuing any action, including oil seizures, to collect disputed Law 42 amounts.

Finally, it has advised the Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation, a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Goldcorp Inc, in a dispute with the government of the Dominican Republic regarding the Pueblo Viejo gold, silver and copper mine, the largest foreign investment in the Dominican Republic.

Debevoise also has one of the leading anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance practices in Latin America, advising on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act (UKBA). The firm has handled several Latin American investigations for various international companies and regularly conducts FCPA due diligence for clients on deals involving Latin America. In addition, the firm also provides discrete FCPA and UKBA advice to various clients based in Latin America. With the growing focus on anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance by governments and companies based in Latin America, or investing in the region, Debevoise is further solidifying its position as one of the top international firms acting in this area in the region.

The firm’s client base includes many of the most prominent companies and families in Latin America, as well as multinational corporations and private equity funds investing in the region. Clients based in the region include BM&FBOVESPA, Brookfield, The Capital Group, The Carlyle Group, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), Companhia de Bebidas das Américas – AmBev, Itaú Unibanco, Organizações Globo and Vinci Partners. The firm also has a strong client base of international corporations, including Antofagasta, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, Mitsui, Occidental Exploration and Petroleum Company, Phelps Dodge and Prudential Financial.


TozziniFreire logo

Introducing TozziniFreire: Brazil’s Legal Services Innovator

Since 1976, TozziniFreire has distinguished itself as a premier, full-service law firm by consistently providing legal services to domestic and international companies in a wide variety of business sectors.  Along these years, we have played a major role in many of the most significant transactions in the Brazilian market, becoming one of the largest and most prestigious firms in Latin America. What has driven the firm’s growth and differentiated us in the legal industry is our obsession in delivering results for our clients. Their achievements are the foundation on which our own success relies.

TozziniFreire’s “One Firm” Principle

We see ourselves as one cohesive entity and act accordingly.  In other words, there are no regional partners and no “associated” or “correspondent” offices.  With fully-owned offices in several cities in Brazil, we are able to guarantee our clients the same outstanding services and one-firm resource throughout the country.  This concept enables us to safeguard, every day, the firm’s culture, mission and values – which are the essence of who we are and what we do.  So important is this one-firm principle that we introduced an open-plan design to all our offices.  This design greatly facilitates information exchange, creates more synergy among our teams and nurtures stronger interpersonal relationships.

Practice Groups

TozziniFreire has extensive experience in assisting international companies in setting up their enterprises or ventures in Brazil.  Its areas of specialization include corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, restructuring and insolvency, capital markets, banking and finance, litigation, white collar crimes, arbitration, asset planning, compliance & investigation, consumer affairs, corporate social investment, international and local contracts, international trade, investment funds, corporate finance, private equity & venture capital, project finance,  tax, intellectual property, real estate, environmental law, labor, immigration, and administrative law. Our industry focused groups include: agribusiness, automotive, bioenergy/ethanol, engineering & construction, energy, timberland investment, infrastructure, life sciences, shipping & logistics, media & entertainment, mining, climate change and carbon market, oil & gas, insurance and reinsurance, telecommunications/information technology, and water and sewage.

Foreign Practice Groups: Another TozziniFreire Innovation

To help our clients respond faster and more effectively to the increasing business opportunities between Brazil and both key existing trade partners and specific fast-growing economies, our firm pioneered the creation of foreign practice groups in Latin America, composed of professionals dedicated to these major trade and investment destinations. Starting with our Asian initiative (comprising our China, Korea and Japan practice groups) and fast developing towards other markets (German-speaking Countries, Latin America and Portuguese-speaking Countries), these unique knowledge centers are staffed with professionals familiar with the culture, legal and business practices of each region, and who are charged with keeping up-to-date with bilateral trade relations developments between Brazil and those countries.

n addition, TozziniFreire has close relationship with the most important foreign law firms and is a member of international law firm associations, which grants us the exchange of professional information around the world and access to local market knowledge and legal expertise of independent members globally.

Firm Facts

  • Lawyers: 440, including 76 partners
  • Legal Trainees: 180
  • Support Staff: 460
  • Offices: 7 – São Paulo (2 offices), Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Porto Alegre, Campinas and a representative office in New York

GC Powerlist: Philippines Teams 2024

For our second edition of the Legal 500’s GC Powerlist: Philippines, we decided to turn the focus of the publication on to legal teams rather than individual lawyers, based on conversations we had with in-house and private practice lawyers in the region. By doing so, we moved our attention on to hardworking but often less heralded members of the legal team alongside the general counsel and other senior lawyers that are famous in the community. The response the community was intensely positive, and we were happy to welcome around 150 people to the beautiful Rainmakers Lounge at Villaraza & Angangco’s V&A Law Centre in Manila for our exclusive launch event.
After speeches from managing partner Sylvette Tankiang, Dodjie Lagazo of ACEN Renewables who provided the in-house legal perspective, and Legal 500 editor Joe Boswell, we moved on to the award ceremony where each legal team was given their accolade on stage by Sylvette. As you can see from the photos, we had a huge range of teams in attendance, many of whom made great efforts to represent their companies. Of particular note are the team from Globe who attended wearing matching T shirts to fly the flag.
As always, celebrations continued well past the official end time and the energy in the room was hugely positive. Special thanks for the massive success of our second GC Powerlist Philippines must go to our excellent sponsors V&A, who were helpful throughout the research in giving nominations and tips regarding the in-house legal community there, as well as faultlessly organising a complicated reception and award ceremony.