September 2017

Spanish law firms up the ante - PPU in Peru - Transfer pricing - Leniency agreements in Brazil - Focus on Venezuela

Colonial ties mean Spanish and Portuguese influences are ubiquitous across Latin America, and the legal market is no exception. But in recent years, Iberian firms that have long had a stake in the region have worked hard to strengthen their position, investing time and money in building a regional network that will stand the test of time. We profiled the Iberian firms making their mark in Latin America and found that while Iberia’s three major firms – Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas – share the same end goal when it comes to carving a healthy slice of the market, they have opted for varying strategies to achieve their objectives. By avoiding opening offices in Latin America, smaller Spanish firms are taking a different approach entirely, although they are no less committed to picking up work in the region.

Much of the focus for outsiders looking into Latin America has been on the Pacific Alliance trade bloc, whose four founding members together comprise the eighth-largest economy in the world. Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría has opted to mimic the bloc’s cross-border structure and so far counts offices in Chile, Colombia and – most recently – Peru. In this edition we take a look at its entry into Peru, which entailed a merger with two local outfits.

There are other encroachers on the Latin American legal market today. Auditing companies such as the Big Four have made it their mission to expand into legal services. Now, law firms are expanding their own remits. We talk to the growing number of firms providing transfer pricing services, as they bid to pick up work stemming from global initiatives to crack down on tax avoidance strategies.

Also in this edition, with the country’s economic and political crisis showing no sign of ending, we get an update from managing partners in Venezuela. We hear from an associate at Colombia’s Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados about life at the beginning of the career ladder and lawyers from Brazil’s Levy & Salomão Advogados tell us why competing enforcers mean the country’s anti-corruption leniency programme is not working how it should be.

  1. To each their own

    It has become a must for major Spanish firms to make a play for Latin America, yet not all agree on the best approach. Vincent Manancourt profiles the strategies of the country's main players

  2. Muscling in

    Transfer pricing services used to be almost solely the domain of accounting companies like the Big Four. But as governments increasingly clamp down on tax avoidance, law firms are encroaching on their patch. Vincent Manancourt investigates

  3. Competing forces

    Brazil is the epicentre of one of the largest corruption probes in the world, but with at least four different authorities policing the investigation and little coordination between them, companies implicated in Lava Jato are finding it difficult to resume normal business, including participation in public tenders, even if they've signed a leniency agreement. Levy & Salomão Advogados's Alexandre Ditzel Faraco and Rafael Zabaglia consider the competing enforcers putting hurdles in the way of Brazil's anti-corruption leniency programme

  4. Associate viewpoint

    Paola Ordóñez Arias of Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados talks about the challenges of large state privatisations, working to deadlines and a love of Julio Cortázar

  5. Doubling up

    Few were surprised when Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría (PPU) made good on its promise to expand across the Pacific Alliance trade bloc and entered Peru. But by merging with two different Peruvian firms just one year after PPU's creation, it was a more rapid and ambitious expansion than anyone could have predicted. Lulu Rumsey speaks to the key players behind the multi-firm merger

  6. Survival techniques

    Against the backdrop of Venezuela's escalating economic and political crisis, Emilio Demetriou-Jones spoke with partners from two of the country's law firms to find out how they are coping