October 2017

Global networks - LACCA - LLM survey - IPOs in Brazil - NAFTA talks

Every law firm the world over feels the threat posed by non-conventional suppliers of legal services, but few know how to face it. For smaller jurisdictions, global law firms are an additional worry, as was voiced at a roundtable we hosted recently in San José. The concerns of Central American law firms are by no means unique – but the capability these firms have at hand to combat such threats is special. The most integrated market in Latin America, no other part of the region has as much experience operating across multiple borders. This puts these firms in a powerful position to play off their unconventional competitors, namely by clubbing together and perpetuating further regionalisation of firms.

Some firms opt to protect their longevity by forging tighter links with firms in multiple jurisdictions, such as through membership of a global network. But while this acts as a valuable referral mechanism by which firms can pick up a greater volume of work from abroad, the benefits networks bring to law firms’ clients are less tangible. We carried out research into what in-house counsel really think of global networks, and found that, on the surface at least, clients are not overly enthusiastic.

This issue features other insights into the perspective of clients. In an excerpt from research by our sister publication, the Latin America Corporate Counsel Association, we name the law firms working with the largest companies operating in Latin America and reveal the areas of law where outside counsel remains the go-to.

Latin Lawyer has done extensive research into Latin American lawyers’ postgraduate study in recent years. With 10 years of data on the education locations attracting the most interest from the region, here we reveal which destinations’ popularity have stood the test of time. Elsewhere we report on Brazil’s recent return to the IPO market following years of inactivity. Interviews with the lawyers who successfully brought companies to market, as well as a commissioner from Brazil’s securities regulator, detail what’s changed in the country to enable this return to form.

Finally, as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement continues, we hear what investors stand to lose from the changing terms.

  1. Fighting back

    Global law firm networks still have an image problem with some clients in Latin America, who struggle to see how they serve their needs. Lulu Rumsey reports on how networks are changing to counter this perception issue and align themselves with what clients want

  2. A sustainable trajectory

    Luís Bulcão speaks to Pablo Renteria, a commissioner at the Brazilian securities regulator, the CVM, about what is driving the recent spate of IPOs, how to encourage small businesses to go public and the regulator’s role in influencing the market

  3. Digging up the roots

    Renegotiating or withdrawing from NAFTA was one of President Donald Trump’s most popularised election pledges. But while the administration promises renegotiation will make the treaty more beneficial to the US, Timothy Nelson and Gunjan Sharma of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s international arbitration and litigation group say it might end up diminishing the protections investors have come to rely on

  4. Echoes of the boom

    After a barren 2016, this year has seen a surge in companies going public in Brazil, with comparisons being drawn to the IPO boom of the late 2000s. In the first of two articles, Vincent Manancourt asks what is behind the return to form of Latin America’s biggest market

  5. The LLM survey

    Vincent Manancourt looks at the latest findings from our research into which foreign institutions Latin America’s business lawyers are choosing for further study

  6. United we stand, divided we fall

    The Big Four, the commoditisation of legal services and encroaching global firms are threats keeping managing partners from Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro up at night. At a roundtable in San José, partners told Tom Muskett-Ford why firms in Central America, the most integrated market in Latin America, can face off some of those threats with a new wave of consolidation, which could see them expand beyond Central America’s borders to stay ahead of the competition.

  7. Who represents Latin America's biggest companies?

    Here we present an excerpt from unique research by Latin Lawyer’s sister publication, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), into the law firms advising the largest companies in the region