Grau, one of Peru’s premier names for mining, energy and environmental law, merged with CMS in 2017. Since the tie-up, the firm has adopted a truly global growth strategy, which has seen it make several lateral hires and opened new practice areas. A diversified service offering, which was already well developed before the combination, has helped it ensure significant revenue growth over the last four to five years.
The partnership believes the secret to its continued success lies in a decidedly global approach. CMS gives the firm access to a sizeable marketing budget, which its lawyers use to promote the brand locally, but also at a regional level through events, newspaper columns and advertising. Creating lucrative cross-border collaboration and a single brand across CMS’ offices in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico is the objective while drawing clients from Europe is another goal. Specialist business developers in the firm’s head office and the different regions coordinate to find commercial opportunities linking the firm’s jurisdictions across the world. In the meantime, regular partner-level meetings and associate exchange programmes serve to connect offices and create a shared culture.
The benefit of being part of a global platform extends further than that. The Lima office gets access to everything that the organisation offers, including sophisticated IT systems, while maintaining its autonomy in local decisions, such as those regarding the development of new practices, incorporation of new partners, promotions, compensation and who to work with. The office went fully digital a few years ago and CMS’s considerable technology resources mean the firm can offer webinars, interact efficiently internally and externally with clients through the latest communication tools and draw on global client directories and expertise that are less readily available for independent firms. In 2020, it launched the Peruvian chapter of the firm’s general counsel rising star programme, through which the firm invites GCs to discuss legal issues and provides tailored webinars only for in-house lawyers. More technology to facilitate access to material and create sharing platforms, as well as further sector-driven legal advice are areas the firm aims to improve.
Independently of CMS, the Lima office has fostered an inclusive workplace environment where nearly 40 per cent of its partnership is female. This is well above the country average. A variety of policies and initiatives have helped establish a more diverse talent base, including female-led workshops and diversity programmes. The partnership is rethinking the office space amid the pandemic. An internal survey showed lawyers preferred a mixed set-up between the office and remote working. Leadership is also considering decentralising its office space.
While mining undoubtedly remains the jewel in its crown, CMS Grau has done a fine job developing other practice areas. Following the tie-up with CMS, the Peruvian firm opened various practices that are areas of strength for the global firm, such as TMT, life sciences, compliance and most recently a stand-alone tourism department, as well as an insurance group. It intends to make better use of CMS’ global reach and develop its arbitration practice to also include international mandates, as well as to expand its competition offering. Meanwhile, the firm’s compliance head was promoted to partner at the start of 2021.
CMS has a growing network in Latin America that includes a presence in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil where it has a foreign law consultancy. CMS also has offices across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.