Interview with: Marcelo Alvarado, Founding Partner

Fiorio, Cardozo & Alvarado Law Firm | View firm profile

Founding Partner of FCA Law Firm, Marcelo Alvarado, highlights the strategies implemented by FCA to be an avant-garde full-service law firm in the Paraguayan legal market and discusses the future of the firm.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Fiorio, Cardozo & Alvarado (FCA) Law Firm from your competitors?

FCA Law Firm has a solid and trustworthy practice, primarily, due its highly qualified and experienced team of professionals. Particularly, we have a group of second generation Partners and Associates who have graduated from the best universities around the world, such as the University Sorbonne of Paris, Harvard University, Stanford University and the Instituto de Empresa (IE) of Madrid. As a full-service law firm, we accompany our clients in all legal aspects of the business, even if additional expertise is needed when handling more complex issues. The latter allows us to understand the essence of each client’s business, values and corporate philosophy. In sum, our team’s practice differentiates from others because we provide customized legal services with a knowledgeable business perspective. The latter is constantly recognized by our clients, some of whom consider FCA’s lawyers as members of their enterprises.

In order to render such personalized services, FCA is structured so that each client is assigned to a particular professional. We also have a strong quality control scheme in practice which allows us to render services always at the highest level. Such scheme is based on teams of Partners who are very involved in both day-to-day relations with the client as well as larger and more complex transactions.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Due to the negative impact to the Paraguayan economy generated by the pandemic, I believe that debt restructuring, and corporate reorganization will both be on rise in the upcoming months. Companies largely define their capital structure based on foreseeable market conditions and expected income, which were hurt by the pandemic. Thus, many companies are negotiating payment of their debts and in need of refinancing.

In addition, we strongly believe that consumer behavior will suffer a great change after this experience. In that sense, some companies will have to adapt their business structure to new consumer behavior and others may not survive. The latter may generate more transactional activities such as mergers and acquisitions.

Finally, I would like to mention Telecommunications and Technology. The pandemic has made our lifestyles more dependent to the use of the internet and digital technology. Almost all of our meetings are currently held via online

platforms and e-commerce is booming – one can buy virtually anything via a webpage, new developed apps or even WhatsApp. Naturally, the technological advancements will also impact companies’ business models which, in turn, will generate these practices (jointly with Data Protection) to evolve.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

The structure we have in our firm allows each professional to work very closely with each client. As mentioned before, the members of our team accompany clients in every legal aspect of the business. This scheme creates a strong bond between the client and professional and allows the professional to thoroughly learn about every aspect of each client’s business model. The latter is beneficial to our clients because they receive specialized legal advisory tailored to their businesses and idiosyncrasies.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes, definitely. With the pandemic, specifically during quarantine times, we proved that it is possible to render legal services solely through virtual interactions, without any inconvenience. Virtual meetings have demonstrated to be very efficient, useful and will probably replace a big number of face-to-face meetings in the future. The latter has

helped legal services to be rendered quicker and in a more cost-effective way, without losing the direct and personal bond with the client.

Also, we have to constantly evolve and implement legal tools that allow us to keep up with the evolution of technology and access to information.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

Broadly, I can say that we have helped clients to add value to their business by providing them with a holistic vision of the relevant business.

For example, in this one case, we lead a local client, through our professional network, to get more knowledge and guidance towards developing certain business. First, we personally took the steps to understand the potential business thoroughly and identified its essential risks: legal, regulatory and even commercial. Thereafter, we presented to the client the different risk scenarios and we evaluated them jointly. Finally, when we realized we lacked some information, through our professional network abroad, we sought advice from professionals of different expertise. In sum, we accompanied this client throughout the whole evaluation process of the potential business until we believed that he had all the necessary tools to make a qualified decision.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

In three years, I see in the firm a consolidation of the new generation Partners to lead the business. We do believe that clients are looking for stability and strategic direction from law firms, which is why, a well-planned and executed transition period for such a change of leadership is crucial to maintain the solid relationships we have with our clients.

Our new generation Partners have been part of the firm for more than 10 years. At present, they have a more representative and leadership role in the firm. With their leadership, backed by Senior Partner’s experience and expertise,

we are confident that FCA law firm will continue to be a big player in the Paraguayan legal market, rendering full-service legal advice at the highest level.