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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana + Brause

Uruguay

Banking heavyweight with corporate offer

  • Established: 1942
  • Partners: 6
  • Total lawyers: 29

Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana + Brause is best known for its impressive record in banking and finance work, complemented by its successful corporate, litigation and labour practices. The firm deserves credit for winning a significant share of work in Uruguay’s project finance space, where it has built up extensive experience of the energy sector. Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana’s participation on the financing of Uruguay’s first – and so far only – successful public private partnership makes it a stand-out choice for when the model is repeated.

Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana has deliberately kept its service offering broad to make sure it can stay ahead of the pack even when transactional work is thin on the ground. It has carefully fostered the growth of its litigation practice over the last few years to give it a strategic advantage when economic growth slows, as is the case in Uruguay now. Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana has also deepened its expertise in other areas in high demand, for example extending its knowledge of compliance in the financial sector in light of new regulation and the growing influence of the OECD.

The attention this firm pays to its management structure proves it is an entity with staying power. Committed to ensuring the career progression of its junior lawyers and promoting a cohesive working environment, the firm evaluates all associates twice a year, paying attention to teamwork, with senior associates taking part in the evaluation of junior colleagues. The firm offers flexible working arrangements.

Offices

In addition to its main office in Montevideo, Jiménez de Aréchaga has an outpost in Aguada Park, the capital’s free trade zone. A third office in the capital is dedicated to financial structuring and trust administration.

Clients

Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana’s core client base is international, with Santander; US food brands McDonald’s, Mondelēz and Pepsi; and Spanish construction company Sacyr all among its most important clients in 2016.

Practice Areas

Banking & finance

Key partners: Managing partner Fernando Jiménez de Aréchaga is recommended in LACCA Approved and leads the banking and finance team; he and Nicolás Herrera Alonso sit on the board of one the firm’s major clients, Banco Santander. Another busy partner is Virginia Brause.

Analysis: This is a leading practice for Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana. The firm has a skilled set of lawyers dedicated to finance work, who have proven their capability time and time again on novel transactions. The group has gained considerable experience of sophisticated structured financing work through regular client Banco Santander. Its work with the Spanish bank has served to raise its profile in financing circles, and the group has successfully leveraged its position to counsel other European banks doing business in Uruguay, such as German bank KfW. A significant chunk of this department’s work focuses on project finance; the firm has a wealth of experience advising lenders on financing structures for Uruguay’s many renewable energy projects. The firm’s work devising credit structures backing infrastructure projects has given lawyers experience with project bonds and PPP financing arrangements. This group’s remit also encompasses restructuring work, in which it represents creditors. The practice continues to grow and in 2016 one lawyer was promoted to equity partner. To maintain its leading position in banking and finance work, Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana has an office in Montevideo dedicated to financial structuring and trust administration, focused on the real estate sector.

Top deals

Most recent deals

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: Nicolas Herrera Alonso

Analysis: Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana’s extensive experience counselling banks puts it in a good position to pick up work from those banks looking to increase their market share in Uruguay. As project financing in Uruguay’s renewables sector increasingly makes way for companies consolidating their assets, the firm has utilised its experience of the sector to advise on deals in that area too.

Top deals

Arbitration

Key partners: Fernando Jiménez de Aréchaga, who represents Uruguay at the ICC and is the non-executive vice-president on Banco Santander’s arbitration committee in Montevideo.

Analysis: The firm largely focuses on local proceedings, but has good international clout. Disputes arising from restructuring and insolvency cases are a core part of its work.

Work highlights: The firm is helping two brokerages locked in a payment dispute with bankrupt national airline Pluna. It has already racked up a series of victories and is now close to bringing the case to a close.

Labour

Key partner: Diego Viana, who is recognised in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: Labour is a strong suit at Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana. Several regular clients rely on the firm for defence against labour claims, which have become an important source of work for the firm. Marked excellence in terminations and union disputes also distinguish the firm from much of the competition. Additionally, the team has experience investigating employee fraud.

Work highlights: Brazilian food processor Marfrig has retained the firm to fend off claims from some 100 workers claiming unpaid overtime and other benefits. Another regular client, Santander, hired the firm to conduct an internal investigation into alleged fraud and embezzlement of funds by an employee. Mondelēz turned to Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana to terminate employee contracts.

Energy

Key partners: Nicolás Herrera Alonso

Analysis: Jiménez de Aréchaga has been ratcheting up its presence in Uruguay’s busy energy market. It has become especially active in big-ticket project financing deals in the renewables sector, making it a sound choice in this respect. The firm has landed a role in several headline-grabbing acquisitions, though its strength remains rooted in energy sector’s financing side.

Work highlights: The firm recently helped a syndicate of banks provide project finance worth US$165 million for wind turbine manufacturer Enercon. The German company is building Uruguay’s largest renewables project in the country’s north.
 

Pro bono

Analysis: A signatory of the Vance Center’s Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas since 2016, Jiménez de Aréchaga Viana has helped Banco Santander fulfil its corporate social responsibility programme locally. The firm has also worked on a pro bono basis with Banco de la Teletón, a non-profit organisation supporting disabled children.


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