Ll q3 2019 flat cover 287x392
Ll q3 2019 flat cover 290x396

Q3 2019

Welcome to our new and improved magazine.

  • Ecuador's new dawn / Associate salary survey / Liberal Brazil

Ecuador's new dawn / Associate salary survey / Liberal Brazil

Employees are companies’ most important assets and law firms are no different. Talented associates form the backbone of successful firms and keeping them happy is an integral part of maintaining competitive advantage. In this issue we publish our 2019 Associate Salary and Satisfaction Survey, revealing what law firms are paying their associates and how happy their workforce really is.

Almost a year after President Jair Bolsonaro took office in Brazil, a new kind of economic policy is starting to take shape. The once state-driven economy is gradually shifting to a market driven by private participation – but it’s still too soon to tell whether Brazil will indeed become a better place for business.

Another country in the region where it’s out with the old, in with the new is Ecuador. The country has gone from terminating trade treaties under former president Rafael Correa, to potentially entering the market-friendly Pacific Alliance trade bloc under current leader Lenín Moreno. At a roundtable held by Latin Lawyer in Quito, we heard from a legal market poised to find new opportunities.

Lawyers can be many things – experts in their particular fields, upholders of justice and partners to their clients, to name a few – but not many can lay claim to a career as varied and atypical as Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa’s Fernando Aguirre. One of the winners of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, he shares his story on these pages.

Also in this issue, we hear how Brazil’s infrastructure gap is fuelling the use of a new tax-exempt capital markets instrument.

Associate salary and satisfaction survey

In this series of articles, we present our findings on what law firms are paying their associates and what forms of non-financial compensation they are offering to sweeten the deal.

What are law firms paying associates?

Fewer Latin American law firm associates feel positive about their salaries than they did a few years ago – and for good reason, as many pay packages are not rising above inflation. But despite meagre economic growth putting paid to increases, more associates rate their wages positively than negatively.

A balancing act

Lawyers don’t tend to leave a career in private practice to go in-house for the money, instead they’re often after better equilibrium between their professional and personal lives. Nowadays, law firms are competing better with companies on the work–life balance they offer their associates, but how successful are their efforts?

Making it count

Generation Y is often thought of as a tough nut for employers to crack, so it’s positive news for law firm managing partners that a good number of today’s associates have long-term ambitions at the firms they are in. But with so many lawyers having their heart set on becoming partner and only a certain number of spots available, how can firms maintain satisfaction levels among lawyers, whether they’re on the partnership track or not?

Liberal Brazil

As the controversial government of Jair Bolsonaro takes shape in Brazil – with worrying implications for human rights, minorities and the environment – an unprecedented liberalisation programme is substantially changing the country’s economic system. Can it deliver on its promise to attract investors by making Brazil a better place for business?

Change on the horizon

Ecuador is set to become the newest entrant to the market-friendly Pacific Alliance trade bloc, putting it on a path to receiving greater foreign investment. The legal markets of Ecuador’s prospective trade partners have opened up to foreign firms more than anywhere else in the region. At a roundtable in Quito law firm partners weighed up whether Ecuador’s local heavyweights should fear what is to come, or if there will be enough work to go around.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Fernando Aguirre

From self-exile, to partaking in clandestine governments, to helping establish democracy in Bolivia, Fernando Aguirre has redefined what it means to go above and beyond the conventional lawyer’s calling. Latin Lawyer speaks to one of this year’s two Lifetime Achievement Award winners to find out how he balanced his political life with private practice.


Aviation restructuring has become more common and Latin America is no exception. Lawyers from Brazil and the Dominican Republic share their experiences from recent cases and identify room for improvement in a sector hit by several recent collapses in the region.

Funding Brazil’s infrastructure gap

Upgrading infrastructure is at the top of President Jair Bolsonaro’s list of priorities. A smaller role for the state opens the door to increased private participation in sectors crying out for investment. Ricardo Russo, a partner at Pinheiro Neto Advogados, explains how developers are using Brazil’s capital markets to fund projects.