Which law firms were the most popular in 2022?

As war in Europe and high interest rates destabilised the global and regional markets, leading Latin American companies kept their external legal advisers close by to navigate the choppy waters. The latest Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies? research, a study published by Latin Lawyer’s affiliate publication LACCA, reveals the most popular law firms among the region’s largest corporations.

With political uncertainty in several of Latin America’s largest economies, the biggest corporations relied on their external counsel to protect their investments, not only in Brazil, but elsewhere in the region too. This was reflected in the research, with three non-Brazilian Latin American firms appearing in the list of the 10 most popular firms with the region’s 100 largest companies. Nevertheless, it was Brazilian and international firms that once again proved the most popular with the most prominent clients.

Brazil’s Pinheiro Neto Advogados was the region’s most popular law firm, representing 70 of Latin America’s largest companies. Fellow Brazilian outfit Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados came in second, followed by Mattos Filho.

Three US firms – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Milbank – appeared in the list of the top 10 firms in the region. Cleary represented 45 of the 100 largest companies in the region. 

Elsewhere in the region, Brigard Urrutia in Colombia and Mexican firm Galicia Abogados featured in the top 10. This points to growing demand from clients for in-depth, full-service and complex legal advice in some of Latin America’s other markets.

For another year running, in-house counsel reported that they outsourced the most work to external legal advisers in the disputes area, with 59% of respondents saying they did so. The second most outsourced area was labour and employment, followed by corporate and M&A.

To read the full results, including the rankings of the most popular firms in each jurisdiction and analysis from leading lawyers from top-positioned firms, click here.  

As part of the same Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies 2022 research, LACCA observed trends within the in-house legal community. For example, LACCA examined the difference between full-service and boutique firms, finding that GCs prefer the broad reach of full-service firms for the majority of the work, whilst boutiques offer companies better flexibility and face-time with partners. Additional analysis of in-house activity in 2022 revealed that law firms that can provide quick and realistic solutions in the time of crises are set to prove popular with GCs.

Read the full collection of LACCA’s research here.  

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