Firm Profile

Brigard Urrutia

Colombia

Market-leading elite

LL 250 Elite

Established: 1934

Partners: 25

Lawyers: 174


Female partners: 24%

Partner to associate ratio: 6

Work areas
20

This firm is elite for services in the following work areas.

Transactional powerhouse Brigard Urrutia has earned its stripes among the elite by specialising in relevant legal areas and through its business-minded approach. It is this complementary formula that has helped win it a place on some of Colombia’s most significant and market-altering deals, while its dedication to clients keeps its workload stacked tall.

Always one to stay ahead of the curve, the firm consistently reviews its business operations to ensure that it is at peak performance. This strategic streak runs through Brigard Urrutia, with some lawyers having a background in corporate leadership. Business acumen like this means that macroeconomic challenges such as the downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic and government changes do not make a dent in Brigard Urrrutia’s successful track record for deal-making.

Brigard Urrutia performs exceptionally in its M&A, banking and finance, and capital markets areas. These teams regularly field cross-border transactions across a broad spectrum of industries, where it competes with the créme de la créme of Colombia's legal market on high-powered transactions. An in-house study into ‘Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies’, conducted by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, unveiled that Brigard Urrutia advised 13 of Latin America’s 100 largest companies in 2021. Big-name clients on the list include Mexican Coca-Cola bottler FEMSA, Colombian oil group Ecopetrol and Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica. Some other big players here include Mexico’s CEMEX, Argentine retailer Mercado Libre and LATAM Airlines. The research found that Brigard Urrutia was the fourth most sought-out firm among those top businesses.

The firm also stands out for its impressive tax, disputes and project finance offerings. More than 25 lawyers are dedicated to its litigation offering, which has been particularly busy of late. Brigard Urrutia’s association with Brigard & Castro is stronger than ever, ensuring intellectual property knowledge is on tap. Corruption claims implicating Colombia continue to pour out of investigations relating to the Odebrecht case and inquiries into public contracts. Meanwhile, the recent election has only shed further light on the potential misconduct of senior officials, keeping this firm’s lauded anti-corruption offering on its toes.

As its signature transactional areas thrive, the firm has astutely looked to the market to identify areas to expand into. For example, swelling interest in environmental, social and governance- (ESG) related matters encouraged the firm to put together a cross-section team that is dedicated to any deal that requires ESG expertise. Fintech is another area where Brigard Urrutia has carved out a specialised team of advisers. These efforts ensure that clients get an enhanced service, even when conducting a straightforward transaction that involves these matters.

Brigard Urrutia’s carefully conceived business development plan is complemented by a flexible fee structure that clients are thankful for in times of socio-economic turbulence. Brigard Urrutia has long kept its pricing options open and an option for a fixed cap on fees has offered security to clients meddling through an uncertain economic climate, particularly in recent times. Authentic and open customer relations allows for smooth communication on fee matters.

Brigard Urrutia has integrated management and marketing teams into its structure, ensuring that these initiatives run efficiently, and that client feedback is used to influence any adjustments the firm makes. This is just one example of Brigard Urrutia’s ability to enact change from its business research on any number of matters. An appetite to compete on an international scale motivates the firm to stay tuned to global trends, although its local teams beyond the capital Bogotá have mastered an understanding of how to cater their approach to local demand too.

In 2021, the firm bolstered its business strategy with the incorporation of a sustainability task force, through which it is researching ways to make the business more sustainable in line with ESG targets. Brigard Urrutia has made strides towards improving diversity too. It has teamed up with gender equality organisation Equipares to help devise a strategy that will boost female representation within the firm. Around 60% of Brigard Urrutia’s workforce are currently women, while just above half of that figure are in leadership positions.

Brigard Urrutia is passionate about legal innovation. The outfit’s substantial investment in top-of-the-range software and technology over the years ensured that the transition to remote working in the post-pandemic scenario has been a smooth one. The firm has developed its own customer relationship management software, which is tailored to its needs, while Brigard Urrutia’s clients can also benefit from an app that helps process their requests and ongoing legal cases.

Such a forward-thinking attitude would not be possible without the well-trained level of legal knowledge on offer. Client praise calls lawyers at this firm “technical experts,” while also shouting out the comprehensive knowledge that its advisers can offer. Indeed, the outfit prides itself on a 360-degree approach that promises comprehensive depth not only in its professional advice but in its understanding of the business it is representing. Multi-layered collaboration between departments has ensured lawyers are prepared to tackle even the most demanding legal matters. Multinational clients benefit from the international outlook of this firm too; while most of Brigard Urrutia’s lawyers are fluent in at least one foreign language, a sizeable portion of them are licensed to practise in jurisdictions outside of Colombia.

Global-minded Brigard Urrutia has widened its horizons even further afield by forming professional ties with some of today’s most influential international law firms doing business in Latin America. Its membership in top legal networks hands it ready access to leading firms worldwide.

Years of investment in career development have fertilised the soil for home-grown talent to blossom. Brigard Urrutia’s attorneys are offered regular career training opportunities as well as a formative legal education within the office. A noteworthy amount of Brigard Urrutia’s current partners are former associates that climbed the echelons of the firm’s attractive career ladder. Retention rates at the firm are positive, having grown around 10% in headcount between 2020 and 2022, while the firm made efforts to ensure that none of its lawyers were let go during the covid-19 pandemic. Although the firm is proud of its internal growth, Brigard Urrutia has a radar on external competitors too and will seize the opportunity to make a strategic lateral hire. This was confirmed in 2022 when it nabbed a prominent tax lawyer from local boutique Lewin & Willis Abogados.

Aside from plaudits for the depth of technical knowledge among Brigard Urrutia’s lawyers, clients also remark on the personalised level of service they receive. One multinational pharmaceutical client comments that they feel that they are the firm’s priority. Companies consistently return to the firm for its professionalism and deep understanding of legal issues, while a friendly approach and speedy response time go a long way in keeping those clients.

Brigard Urrutia’s display of clients is diverse, coming from a wide range of industries and countries of varying market sizes. The companies that figure among its clientele are household names, such as Mexican drinks company FEMSA, state-owned oil giant Ecopetrol and Brazilian petrochemicals group Braskem. Among those from further afield, Spain’s Telefónica is a client, while Chilean retailer Falabella is also an important name here.

Offices

Brigard Urrutia has its headquarters in Bogotá but has expanded elsewhere in Colombia; since 2017 it has had an office in Cali, while it added one in Barranquilla in 2019. Meanwhile, the firm has a notable presence in Medellín through its strategic relationship with a local firm.

Alliances & networks

Brigard Urrutia is a member of prestigious legal networks. It has ties with 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 and is also part of insurance network Insuralex.

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