Firm Profile

Garrigues

International

LL 250 Highly Recommended

Work areas

This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas.

Garrigues is one of the most visible and prestigious Spanish firms operating in Latin America. The region has always been a natural area of influence for the Iberian outfit, playing an important role in its international strategy, but its relevance has soared for the firm since it started investing in local law offices across the main economies.

As the first of the Spanish firms to establish a footing in the region, its far-reaching presence has provided a sturdy foundation amid the tumultuous socio-economic backdrop of the past few years. Garrigues aims to make the most of opportunities and firm leaders are keenly aware that its strong diversification, in terms of countries and practice areas, is a huge advantage when managing situations as uncertain as those we are seeing in the region.

This strategy has been paying off and Garrigues’ financial returns from Latin America have been continuously strong. Fernando Vives, the executive chairman and managing partner, has long believed in Latin America’s ample opportunities and is a key figure behind the firm’s investment in the region. There are highly regarded teams in the capitals of all four countries of the Pacific Alliance, as well as a long-standing foreign law consultancy in São Paulo. The offices in Chile, Colombia and Peru are middle of the market size-wise, while its headcount in Mexico is slightly smaller than average.

Garrigues has long targeted infrastructure, energy and transport work, structuring its local teams accordingly to include public law, finance, capital markets, M&A and tax lawyers. Within that general framework, the local offices have their strengths too. In Santiago, there are particularly well-regarded banking and disputes partners, as is the case in Lima. The team in Colombia has a solid reputation in tax and in Mexico, the firm is most visible for both transactional and tax work. An important characteristic of Garrigues is the level of integration between offices, which is a big selling point for clients, who like being able to tap into a seamless level of service around the region. This is reflected by the fact that all four local law offices are highly recommended in this guide.

These offices deserve credit for competing on work with some of the elite firms in those markets, despite purposely being smaller in size. They get positive reviews from the companies that hire them, with several citing lawyers’ flexibility, accountability and personalised approach. Across its local network, the firm boasts a large number of regional and international players as clients. According to a study by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association – which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, the firm represents 25 of the region’s largest companies, including regional giants América Móvil, Ambev, Gerdau, MercadoLibre, Votorantim and food-delivery company Rappi – Colombia’s first unicorn.

Another trademark of Garrigues’ success in Latin America is that most of its work in the region is now handled by lawyers based on the ground there, as opposed to being done in the Spanish headquarters. Garrigues has also proved more successful at capturing transactional work than other foreign firms with similar strategies in Latin America. It has a particularly large share of local capital markets work in Chile and Peru, for example.

Garrigues got to where it is today by investing in people. All four of its offices in Latin America have experienced growth in headcount since they were launched. This development means the firm can confidently say it has multidisciplinary local offices. It continues to invest; in 2022, the Colombian office hired a well-known lawyer to lead its labour offering, as well as strengthening its project finance group with a notable promotion. Prior to this, the Peruvian office hired the former president of the local competition and IP authority to head a new competition, economic regulation and IP practice.

Garrigues invests heavily in the training of its lawyers. Every lawyer joining the firm spends at least two weeks in Madrid, returning after two years and again after six, meeting the same colleagues, who might be from offices in Europe or Asia. The firm also supports lawyers wishing to do an LLM, either through the firm’s own education institute or online through New York-based Fordham University. Local offices also have their training programmes, and exchanges between Spanish and Latin American offices are common.

While its local offices are front and centre for Latin American work, its distinguished Spanish-law offering should not be forgotten. The firm’s top-tier reputation in Spain is well known in Latin America, where its corporate, M&A, finance, disputes and tax offerings are strongest. 

Offices

Garrigues has local law offices in Bogotá, Mexico City, Lima and Santiago, as well as a foreign law consultancy in São Paulo. In Spain, Madrid is the main base of the Latin America practice, although the firm has a large capillary network of offices throughout the country. New York and Lisbon are also key. Garrigues has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, both of which are useful for the Latin America practice group.

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