2021 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
Brigard Urrutia’s ability to keep its finger firmly on the pulse has earned the firm a commanding grasp of the Colombian market, even amid the least favourable macroeconomic conditions. An agile team of legal experts is complemented by an attentive and thorough understanding of client needs, which is integral to the outfit’s stand-out flair.
Brigard Urrutia’s transactional clout is earned by stellar expertise in its M&A, banking and finance, and capital markets departments. Excellence in these areas keeps Brigard Urrutia ahead of the pack in terms of its competitors, where the firm steams ahead as one of Colombia’s elite players in the legal market. That talent is further complemented by market-leading advice in tax, litigation and project finance among other areas. Intellectual property knowledge is supplied too through its association with Brigard & Castro. Meanwhile, increasing awareness about levels of corruption in Colombia has generated a steady flow of investigations work that is expertly handled by Brigard Urrutia’s team. The outfit is among a small pool of Colombian firms to have won recognition for its anti-corruption offering. With excellence shared across the full spectrum of practice areas, it comes as no surprise that the firm is the first choice for multiple leading companies seeking legal advice, both at home and over in international waters.
Brigard Urrutia’s ability to adapt and keep a cool head in a crisis – global pandemic notwithstanding – is a testament to the firm’s resilience amid market uncertainty. Investment in state-of-the-art technology equipped the firm for the challenges brought about by covid-19, while its ongoing investment in management strategies has ensured that the firm continues to be a formidable contender to its international counterparts.
Careful planning is a key tenet of the firm’s style. Brigard Urrutia remains ahead of the curve and strikes while the iron is hot with a versatile management strategy. Meanwhile, the firm’s commitment to investing in its people and career development continues to attract coveted talent to the firm. An appetite to compete on an international level motivates the firm to keep renewing its image, though its teams in Barranquilla, Cali and Medellín have mastered an understanding of how to mould their approach to cater to local demand too.
A meticulous approach to business development is coupled with flexibility on fees that make the firm an attractive port in a storm, particularly when times get tough. Brigard Urrutia has long kept its pricing options open. One of its available choices – a fixed cap on fees – allowed it to remain competitive with its international contenders when the pandemic-linked global economic crisis struck in 2020. The crisis led some competitors that relied on hourly rates for higher revenues to opt for a more varied approach, which Brigard Urrutia already had in place. Forward-looking flair has stood the firm in good stead many a time – as has its capacity to test the waters with intuitive solutions before they get choppy.
Integrated management and marketing teams ensure that these initiatives run smoothly and stay on top of market trends and client feedback with all the data laid out in front of them. A defining characteristic of the firm is its commendable conviction to transform research into real change.
Brigard Urrutia may have a tech-minded and innovative approach, but it is worth noting that these hallmark features are honed by an exceptional pool of legal talent and their dedicated service to clients. The firm has client praise in abundance regarding the excellence of its legal advice and client relations. The outfit prides itself on a “360 degree” legal offering, that promises comprehensive depth not only in its professional advice but in its understanding of the individual or company that it represents. This tailored expertise extends to a global reach, thanks to its lawyers' international outlook. All of Brigard Urrutia’s lawyers are fluent in at least one foreign language, a large portion of them are licensed to practise in jurisdictions outside of Colombia. There is strength in numbers and a focus on collaboration between departments ensured lawyers are aptly poised to tackle the most demanding complex legal matters.
Brigard Urrutia’s regular appearance on some of Colombia’s most relevant transactions is a testament to the success of the home-grown talent, which it has cultivated through years of investment in career development. The firm has a solid understanding that investing in the excellence of legal service makes for sparkling client feedback and stellar legal services. Attorneys at the firm can gain regular access to career training and a formative legal education within the office. A sizable number of Brigard Urrutia’s current partners were once associates at the firm, an example of what is a promising career path for its lawyers. Nonetheless, Brigard Urrutia keeps an eye on the ball when the opportunity arises to cherry-pick star talent from competitors.
Though its success is inherently organic, Brigard Urrutia broadens its scope even further by forming professional ties with some of the most relevant local firms as well as international outfits with interests in the Colombian market today. It has ready access to leading firms worldwide through its memberships of top legal networks.
Clients are poised to garnish the firm’s excellence with genuine and heartfelt praise for the outstanding quality of the legal work performed by Brigard Urrutia and its lawyers. A loyal roster of clients regularly returns to the firm for its professionalism and deep understanding of legal issues while a friendly manner and speedy response time win the firm substantial plaudits.
Several companies from a wide-ranging spectrum of industries enlist Brigard Urrutia, making for a star-studded portfolio of clients. Big ticket names include Colombian energy giant Ecopetrol and gas pipeline operator Oleoducto Central, Spain’s Telefónica, local retailer Grupo Éxito and Brazil’s Banco Itaú. The firm boasts a balanced mix of domestic and multinational clients. A survey called Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies by LACCA, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, found that in 2020, Brigard Urrutia advised 16 of Latin America’s largest companies, of which some highlights are LATAM Airlines, Cemex in Mexico and bottling company FEMSA. In 2020, Brigard Urrutia was the most favoured Colombian firm amongst clients, sweeping up the largest percentage of the region’s most influential companies.
Brigard Urrutia is headquartered in Bogotá but has broadened its footprint to other key locations in Colombia: it opened an office in Cali in 2017 and Barranquilla in 2019. Meanwhile, the firm maintains a presence in Medellín through a strategic relationship with a local outfit.
Alliances & networks
Brigard Urrutia is a member of prestigious legal networks Club de Abogados, Lex Mundi, Interlex, as well as the Pacific Rim Advisory Council and the World Services Group. The firm is the Colombian representative of Ius Laboris, a global alliance of employment, labour and pension law firms. It is also a member of the insurance network Insuralex. In 2020, the firm became a member of the GRI Club, a global alliance network of real estate and infrastructure advisers while it joined the non-profit environmental law research centre the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) last year too.