Last month, Cubans welcomed US President Barack Obama as he made the first US state trip to the island in nearly 90 years. Obama’s historic visit was preceded by a delegation from the International Bar Association, who went to the island to meet with its legal community. We hear how Cuban lawyers are preparing for the expected rush of investors as relationships thaw between the two countries.
Relationships have always mattered in the Latin American legal profession, but they’ve taken on newfound relevance thanks to the foreign players opening up office. Local and international firms alike are revisiting the relationships that give them their competitive edge and investing more than ever into making that bond stronger. Meanwhile, the region’s economic slowdown provides a moment of reflection on the ideal size of a law firm. This month, we celebrate the advantages of avoiding significant growth as leaders of smaller firms tell us why size isn’t everything.
We also look to Brazil, as it endures a particularly painful chapter in its history. Our lifetime achievement award winner Arnoldo Wald reflects on the country’s current state of affairs, after an illustrious career that has seen him work closely on landmark legislative developments. One of the most important recent new laws is the Clean Company Law, but as prosecutors will know only too well, it came into force too late to have any serious impact on the Car Wash investigation. Meanwhile, we also consider Chile’s tax reform and ask if the final draft lives up to expectations or whether judgements were clouded by a desire to push something through at all costs. Finally, lawyers ask whether time is up for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
In February 2016, Chile passed legislation that sought to quell the doubters of its controversial tax reform, which aimed to raise enough government revenue to fund an overhaul of the education system. But two years after the shake-up was first announced, tax lawyers remained as unconvinced as ever. For many, the tax reform is the result of politicians becoming so passionate about their cause, their methods lost all reason. At a roundtable event held by Latin Lawyer in Santiago, lawyers voiced their fears about the new, complicated dual structure born out of a tumultuous legislative process and the effect of lingering uncertainty on precious foreign investment at a time when Chile needs it most. Lulu Rumsey reports
Despite President Barack Obama’s visit last month, Cuba is not free from crippling US sanctions, nor does it have free and fair elections, however, investor interest is heating up. Tom Muskett-Ford hears how organisations like the International Bar Association and the Law Society of England and Wales have begun to establish closer relations with the local legal community, helping them integrate the country into the international market