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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

Moreno Baldivieso Estudio de Abogados

Bolivia

Reputed traditional player with arbitration excellence

  • Established: 1931
  • Partners: 3
  • Total lawyers: 40

Moreno Baldivieso Estudio de Abogados is proof that age and experience have their advantages in Bolivia’s unpredictable legal market. The firm is one of the most established and largest firms in this chapter, boasting an experienced partnership well versed in weathering the uncertainty of the Bolivian market. Having long dominated the top of the market in terms of size and sophistication, the firm has reconsidered its processes and structure as some of its rivals modernise their offerings. Among these measures was the introduction of a more flexible billing structure at the firm and improvements to associate training. Having built a reputation as an IP powerhouse, Moreno Baldivieso has expanded significantly and now boasts some of the best-regarded practice areas in the country. Most important within Bolivia’s hydrocarbons-driven economy is energy, which draws on around half of the firm’s lawyers, although Moreno Baldivieso is also notable for corporate and M&A work. Related areas, such as labour and tax law, have experienced growth in recent years.

The firm enjoys a good reputation throughout Bolivia thanks to offices in the traditional centres of La Paz and Santa Cruz and in other parts of the country, and beyond the country’s borders due to the strong presence of international clients on its client list. The firm’s Mandarin-speaking lawyers attract clients from China, for example.

Like other traditional firms in the market, the partnership is made up of members of the founding family. Although the firm says it is taking steps to open up the senior ranks of the firm, progress on this front so far appears to be minimal. Nevertheless, with more than eight decades of experience behind it and its excellent reputation both at home and abroad, the firm recognises the importance of ensuring that any expansion is underpinned by stability.

Offices

Moreno Baldivieso has offices in the administrative and commercial capitals of La Paz and Santa Cruz (where mining and environmental work is handled), Sucre and Tarija. Two further offices in Cochabamba (for oil and gas) and Potosí are currently closed for remodelling.

Alliances & Networks

Moreno Baldivieso is a member of the TAG Law network and Interlaw.

Clients

International clients dominate the firm’s counsel list: Samsung Engineering, Google, Siemens, Pepsico, Credit Suisse and Halliburton.

Practice Areas

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: La Paz-based managing partner Ramiro Moreno Baldivieso, whose broad practice includes corporate governance, insurance, IP, disputes and telecoms work, Santa Cruz-based managing partner Luis Fernando Moreno Gutierréz (who comes recommended in LACCA APPROVED, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister association, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association) and Andrés Moreno Gutierréz.

Analysis: Moreno Baldivieso’s solid corporate practice is both well established and highly regarded by clients. The department is divided between Bolivia’s commercial hub of Santa Cruz and capital La Paz, each headed by one of the firm’s managing partners. The reputation of the team has helped ensure a steady flow of big-name local and foreign clients. Companies in the construction, oil and gas and telecoms sectors are represented.

Arbitration

Key partners: Harvard-educated Ramiro Moreno Baldivieso, a former member of the Bolivian Supreme Court and an established name in arbitration circles. Andrés Moreno Gutierréz and Luis Fernando Moreno Gutierréz are other important figures.

Analysis: Arbitration is another area of strength due in no small part the combined talent of the firm’s partners. Headline cases include helping Spain's Iberdrola reach a settlement in a long-running arbitration case with Bolivia's government over the expropriation of energy assets and assisting Pan American Energy in an ICSID case against the Bolivian government, which set a record amount for a settlement in Bolivia.

Energy

Key partners: Ramiro Moreno Baldivieso and Andrés Moreno Gutierréz.

Analysis: This is another strong suit for the firm. The broad experience of the firm’s leading partners, which spans corporate, banking and arbitration experience, allows them to add value to the advice their provide their energy and natural resources clients. Repsol is one such client to hire the firm to draft EPC contracts and for M&A and infrastructure work.

Pro bono

A recent overhaul of the firm’s pro bono policy has established an 18-hour annual target for each lawyer. Father Sebastian Obermaier, a German priest who has been prominent in Bolivia’s Catholic community for more than 30 years, has been a key beneficiary, as Moreno Baldivieso has helped in the management of his organisation’s work. The firm has also assisted Catholic television and radio stations in the country, as well as community projects in El Alto. Moreno Baldivieso is a signatory of the Vance Center’s Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas.


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