2021 Latin Lawyer Elite Firm
Guyer & Regules’ coveted position as a market-leading firm in Uruguay is well-earned through a winning combination of internationally recognised legal expertise and enviably detailed industry knowledge. Its esteemed transactional prowess is over 100 years in the making, and it shows no sign of taking its foot off the accelerator. Its elite reputation hands it around half of Uruguay’s market and places it as one of the country’s two most prolific firms.
Uruguay may have experienced a relatively lighter impact of the covid-19 pandemic than many of its Latin American neighbours, but when the going got tough Guyer & Regules tailored its approach with the apt agility required. The group acted swiftly to check in with its devoted client list, ensuring the channels of communication remained open and that the firm was well-equipped to respond to the demands of the new business landscape. A long-standing investment in technology and cloud storage for the firm’s legal software made that transition seamless. One client praised the firm’s ability to adapt to the new way of life under the global pandemic and the agility with which it met the quickly evolving requirements of its diverse clientele.
Guyer & Regules’ global-minded leadership is steered by highly accomplished partners that continue to attract a star-studded roster of clients from all over the world, while it is also a pull for vastly experienced talent from rival firms. Its lawyers are often educated at Ivy League institutions and have held positions at international law firms. Managing partner Nicolás Herrera heads much of the firm’s operations and oversees teams made up of some of Uruguay’s most prolific dealmakers.
The firm has a solid international reputation for transactional work, something that is corroborated by Guyer & Regules’ appearance on Uruguay’s sovereign debt transactions. Last year, it worked across from several international firms advising the underwriters in the South American country’s US$3.5 billion debt tap, which closed in the course of covid-19.
The firm’s effortless ability to tap into a steady stream of cross-border work with impressive dexterity is a testament to a long-established reputation. That recognition for its broad-sweeping market knowledge is an important draw for its prominent client roster time and again and has built a rock-solid foundation for adding new names to that list. Some of the most familiar names on the books include Brazilian state-owned oil group Petrobras, which it helped divest Uruguayan fuel distribution assets last year. Telefónica and LATAM Airlines are also on the client list.
In fact, Guyer & Regules has a sizeable helping of some of the most sought-after clients on the market, which gives a clear indication of the industry expertise at play here. The firm represents international clients operating across the full spectrum of sectors, including the financial, retail, agribusiness, internet, software, real estate, fintech, energy, leisure and oil and gas industries. Citibank, Danone, HSBC, BBVA, Itaú and Unilever are some of the firm’s most familiar clients. That list is further boosted with the more recent additions of Netflix, Uber and Goldman Sachs, as well as Latin American heavyweights Petrobras, América Móvil, LATAM Airlines and Eletrobras. An analysis, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies’, conducted by Latin Lawyer’s affiliate publication, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, finds that out of the top 100 largest companies operating in Latin America, Guyer & Regules advises just under a quarter of those. That is a remarkable figure in light of the compact size of Uruguay’s market compared with its local counterparts. In another feat, the same study found that Guyer & Regules was in the top 10 most popular firms in the region – making it the only non-Brazilian or non-international firm to appear in that ranking.
Its consistent representation of blue-chip companies has led the firm down avenues anew as well, branching out into new trends that are breaking onto the scene. Guyer & Regules made history in 2020 when it helped on a US$200 million funding round for local fintech dLocal. That financing pushed the company over the billion-dollar valuation threshold required to become Uruguay’s first unicorn. Seeds of growth in the pharmaceutical sector and medical cannabis segments in Uruguay are solidly on the firm’s radar too, and it plans to seize new opportunities in these areas.
Year upon year, Guyer & Regules records a high volume of deals in the M&A, project finance and capital markets groups. However, its competition on the world stage would not be complete without matching capabilities in its non-transactional departments. The firm also tends to handle highly complex antitrust, tax and litigation work, where its vastly experienced lawyers represent household name organisations. That expertise was put to good use last year when it advised local free trade zone operator Grupo Continental Zona Franca on US drinks-maker PepsiCo’s agreement to open its largest production plant in Latin America with a US$65 million investment. The firm also helped out on the passing of Uruguay’s merger control reform last year. This expansive spectrum of expertise feeds into a multidisciplinary approach that allows Guyer & Regules to market itself as a one-stop in terms of legal services, often leading clients to return to the firm for several matters.
This is a firm that has maintained a stable outlook despite covid-19, which caused an economic slowdown for many parts of the world. Nonetheless, the firm maintained its compensation scheme, which is a lockstep system, while Guyer & Regules’ executive committee members ensured that its lawyers received clear feedback and helpful guidance even while working remotely. The diversity committee is also highly active and has helped conduct unconscious bias training to reduce incidences of prejudice. Lawyers here can look forward to a well-defined career trajectory, and flexitime has been a cornerstone of the firm for many years.
International reach is nothing new to the firm. It consolidates its global network even further through its membership of some of the most recognised international law firm alliances. Links to these organisations help Guyer & Regules to consistently refresh its outlook and take stock of the latest trends affecting the region.
Guyer & Regules’ main office is in Montevideo and, like other firms in this chapter, it has a base in the city’s free-trade zone – an important pull for international clients. The firm also maintains an office in the popular tourist hotspot Punta del Este.
Alliances & networks
Guyer & Regules is a member of Lex Mundi, World Services Group, Multilaw, World Law Group, Club de Abogados and Interlex.