Latin Lawyer fees survey / At crisis point / Giving up the ghost / The room where it happens / Lifetime Achievement Award
Latin American law firms tend to be reticent about what they charge their clients. It was therefore a pleasant surprise that our latest fees survey garnered responses from close to 100 firms – the biggest pool of respondents it has ever featured.
Insights from these firms allow us to paint a picture of the trajectory of law firm fees since we last surveyed this subject. Worryingly – but perhaps not surprisingly – we tracked a decline in the average hourly rates of both partners and associates in the past three years. This downwards trend is likely to continue, perhaps even accelerate, as firms grapple with the fallout of the covid-19 pandemic, which is sparking a crisis so deep that it threatens to stymie economic growth in Latin America for a decade.
Our report assesses what modifications to fees firms have made in response to the crisis so far, as well as the more fundamental adjustments to pricing strategies that the pandemic could help usher in.
In times of intense change, it can be calming to speak to those individuals whose length of service lends perspective to current crises. BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão’s Paulo Cezar Aragão is one such person. The recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award spoke to us about his career to date and the continuing evolution of his practice.
Also in this issue, we delve into an emerging area of expertise for the region’s corporate law firms, particularly in Brazil: government advocacy.
At the age of 69, as active as ever, Paulo Cezar Aragão remains among Brazil’s most influential and respected lawyers, a titan of the profession capable of making the difference at a high-stakes negotiation table like very few are.
Law firm participation on behalf of corporates in the discussions that led to the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement is evidence of the unique perspective lawyers bring to the table in interactions between companies and governments.