September 2016

Specialist law firm leader of the year award - Boutique strategy - Partner compensation - Focus on Ecuador and Bolivia - Associate viewpoint - Operation Zealots


As clients demand ever deeper levels of specialisation, being an early mover in a particular practice area provides a firm with a great competitive advantage – providing its leaders know how to stay ahead of the pack. Gabriel Nogueira Dias and Carlos Francisco de Magalhães have succeeded in doing just that in Brazil’s evolving competition landscape. As winners of Latin Lawyer’s first Specialist Law Firm leader of the Year Award, they share with us the secrets to their success.

With full-service firms in Latin America striving for deeper levels of specialisation, boutiques must demonstrate their continued value to clients in the absence of a multi-disciplinary offering. Fortunately, they have plenty of assets that work in their favour, such as flexible business models and support teams of non-legal experts.

Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by law firm leaders is how to share out profits among partners. Our latest research into partner compensation models reveals a trend towards systems that reward performance, but such an approach requires careful management of expectations. We investigate how firms can reward the subjective elements of a partner’s output without creating tension.

Also in this issue, we look to two of the region’s jurisdictions that are facing their own set of challenges. As Ecuador struggles to rebuild the areas hit by April’s devastating earthquake amid a pre-existing economic slowdown, its lawyers are adjusting to the new, tougher reality. Meanwhile in Bolivia, the legal market is calling for the government to improve the legal framework for the private sector, in order to attract desperately-needed investment. Finally, we ask what the second phase of Mexico’s onshore oil auction has to offer bidders.