2021 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
As Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi enters its 31st year, it remains at the forefront of the legal market in Argentina. It is an undisputed leader in finance transactions, handling a volume and quality of work that most firms in the country cannot compete with. It is also a powerful full-service platform and has used lateral hiring to broaden an extensive service offer.
The firm’s much in-demand finance practice has become so partly due to the group’s excellent links to financial institutions, while its capital markets offering is a cut above the rest and is frequently seen on sizable and innovative transactions. In addition to this, the corporate and M&A team is, without doubt, one of the strongest in Argentina.
2020 was a tricky year for Argentina as a country, as the covid-19 pandemic resulted in little direct investment from foreign companies. Instead, the firm’s restructuring team was very busy. After years of not working with oil company YPF, Bruchou has seen the client repeatedly in 2020, helping it to refinance US$1 billion worth of debt.
While its core strengths lie in transactional work, Bruchou’s talents do not stop here and clients from all sectors value the firm’s broad platform. Many components of the firm’s service offering win strong client reviews, such as its disputes, labour, tax and natural resources practices, where the firm is doing a significant amount of work in the renewables and oil and gas sectors. Infrastructure has also been an area where Bruchou comes out on top, and it is playing a role in the financing of several important public–private partnership projects.
Bruchou has taken big strides to ensure it can offer clients a truly comprehensive service. It routinely analyses the market to ensure it consolidates existing practice areas, as well as adding new ones. The firm has a broad and diverse client following. It represents most of the international banks active in Argentina, including Citibank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. The firm also works with leading local financial institutions such as Banco Galicia and Banco Macro. Bruchou is regularly counsel to international companies such as AES, Barrick, Cargill, Dow, Equinor, Petronas and Vista Oil & Gas for their operations in Argentina.
The firm made three new partners and elevated one lawyer to expert counsel in 2020, boosting its IP, tax and administrative law practices. Additions to the IP department come at an opportune moment: as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, Argentina’s trademark institute, INPI, suspended all deadlines, creating greater demand for lawyers in this area.
The firm has a modified lockstep compensation system designed to assure collaboration, while all lawyers are also assigned a mentor. Mentors are evaluated for their contribution in this area during annual 360-degree performance reviews, where it is given the same weight as bringing in new clients. The firm has also assembled six core values against which partners’ performance is assessed and measured.
Career paths are transparent and meritocratic, and clients welcome Bruchou’s international air as the firm is home to several partners with experience at some of the leading firms in New York. The firm is taking other steps to safeguard its future, having implemented a new, modern corporate governance system a few years ago. This is designed to ensure Bruchou’s longevity by making it more attractive to younger partners and is a novel structure in Argentina. It is unusual for founding partners to remain at the firm and step aside for a newer managing committee, but Bruchou is striving for continuity and maturity by putting faith in younger generations. The firm has looked to elite examples in other countries to shape its own institutionalised model.
Bruchou introduced a platform for climate action and sustainable businesses in 2021. This initiative aims to meet growing demand from clients regarding concerns that have become increasingly prominent on global, regional and local corporate agendas. This new platform will build on Bruchou’s ESG practice and experience in environmental law, sustainable businesses, clean energies and green financing.
Alliances & networks
Bruchou is a member of the World Law Group and Taxand.
The firm’s executive committee is elected via an anonymous one partner, one vote system. A new committee was voted in in June 2020 – with tax partner Liban Kusa replacing Carlos Lombardi as managing partner. Hugo Bruzone, who was elected chairman and takes over from Enrique Bruchou, Lombardi, Mariano Luchetti and José María Bazán make up the rest of the committee.