Bustamante & Bustamante is a firm with strong roots in Ecuador’s legal market. It has long taken a traditional stand regarding publicising its work, allowing its winning reputation among clients to do the talking.
Despite the inevitable reduction in deal flow in 2020 as the impact of covid-19 was particularly felt in Ecuador, the firm captured some of the large transactions which took place. For example, the firm made headlines by helping Australian mining company Newcrest buy the Fruta del Norte gold mine in south-eastern Ecuador.
Historically a corporate firm, which is its stronghold along with IP work (an area that has suffered almost no disruption as a result of the pandemic), it has diversified its legal services in recent years to include energy, antitrust, mining and metals, labour, litigation and tax with demonstrable success. Banking and finance is another area where the firm is increasing its profile. Lawyers have a proven ability to handle complex transactions and disputes, including sophisticated cross-border work. Moreover, several of its partners have extensive in-house experience.
The Bustamante family, which founded the firm, has historically played a prominent role in management but, with the help of an external consultant, the firm is on the verge of implementing a more meritocratic system with an institutionalised career path running from paralegals to the partnership and a performance-based compensation system. A profit-sharing scheme is also being put in place and the firm is bolstering its practice areas so they can work as standalone departments, with independent budgets, while also collaborating across the board.
In 2020 the firm prudently cut operational costs to weather the covid-19 storm. The firm did not replace a departure in its energy law department, the workload was allocated to partners with the relevant background instead.
Looking to the future, the firm’s Guayaquil office is expected to open in 2021, which is likely to help attract more clients with connections to that area. Future plans also include substantial investment in marketing and the professional development of lawyers. Bustamante & Bustamante is also tightening its relationships with other leading local and international firms.
Alliances and networks
Bustamante & Bustamante is well connected globally as a member of Multilaw, the World Services Group, the International Trademark Association, the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property and the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property.