Bergstein Abogados has earned its position as a well-respected player in Uruguay’s legal market. Its M&A offering is robust, while its tax, litigation and labour practices are highly-valued assets too. Bergstein’s personalised and professional level of service has been a driving factor for clients who return to the firm year upon year. The group prides itself on putting the client first throughout the process and places substantial value on the integrity of its relationships. The lawyer that clients encounter on their first interaction with Bergstein will likely be the same practitioner who sees the case through to the end.
Bergstein’s compliance department is increasingly becoming a central pillar of the firm that feeds into several of the group’s other core areas. Emergency changes to the regulatory outlines of tax and corporate commitments amid the covid-19 pandemic over the past year have kept the group busy. After the newly elected Uruguayan government introduced tax residency incentives that favoured foreign investment last March, the firm’s tax department has been notably active too. Meanwhile, an influx of new residents arriving from neighbouring Argentina and Brazil has fuelled an unprecedented surge of work for Bergstein’s growing corporate and immigration divisions.
Bergstein has also been building up a team with anti-money laundering expertise, a shrewd move given Uruguay’s comprehensive overhaul of its AML legislation over the past two years.
Less is more when it comes to Bergstein’s offering. A smaller selection of lawyers – compared to rival firms – capably direct much of the work here and clients often remark on the detailed attention provided by the team. Bergstein’s lawyers have attended some of the best law schools in the world, bringing substantial value to the level of guidance its team provides.
The majority of the firm’s clientele hails from outside Uruguay. A study, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, found that Bergstein is the fourth most popular Uruguayan law firm among some of Latin America’s largest companies. In that list, Mexican telecoms groups Televisa and América Móvil feature as having enlisted the firm’s services, while Brazil’s Grupo Globo is also a client. Outside of the region, Ireland’s Accenture is a client, along with technology conglomerates Cisco Systems, Sony and Bank of America.
The Uruguayan firm is built around diversity and prides itself on its cultural roots, having been founded by a Jewish partner over 60 years ago.
The firm is steered by Jonás Bergstein, a prominent figure steeped in experience with a wealth of well-known international clients. That expertise is trickling down to the younger generation, with Bergstein citing the newer talent as being crucial to the future success of the firm. There is also a mentorship programme to help students at universities kickstart their legal career.
Along with Jonás Bergstein, Leonardo Melos, Domingo Pereira and Guillermo Duarte all form part of the firm’s management committee. Several accounting and business-trained professionals appear among its advisers too, and provide crucial financial expertise to clients of the firm. Uruguay’s dense financial regulation often requires a combination of accounting, tax and legal expertise.
In recent years, the firm has been moving towards a more technology-led approach, and the renewal of its systems and billing software occurred before the pandemic erupted, ensuring a smooth transition for clients and legal staff alike.
Bergstein has increased its presence on the global stage and has invested in upping its marketing and communications game to leverage that visibility. With a healthy roster of international clients already though, the firm keeps abreast of the latest legal changes in other parts of the region and overseas too.
Alliances & networks
The firm is a member of the TAGLaw and Nextlaw alliances, the Cathay Associates network and The Legal Alliance of the Americas.