Global firm Jones Day has a robust Latin America practice that has traditionally been defined by its presence on top-end M&A deals, but it is also notable in the region for its non-transactional areas.
For a long time, Jones Day has recognised that to have a serious Latin American offering in today’s climate, it needed a broad offering beyond its M&A core. It emphasised developing a firm that stays strong in times of both economic growth and market downturns and its strong transactional side is now complemented by respectable disputes, investigations and regulatory practices – all of which have undoubtedly been a source of strength for Jones Day over the past few years. This diversified offering is appreciated by clients who praise the firm for its efficiency and expertise, one stated: “It can address the different legal requirements that a client may need, as well as the distinct phases of the proceedings.”
The firm’s strategy in Latin America has been to target big industries, where it works with major corporations investing in the region. It is known for bringing high-value and record-setting M&A deals to fruition and was notably one of the firms advising on Brazil’s largest privatisation to date: Petrobras’ sale of its TAG pipeline business to French energy company Engie and Canadian fund CDPQ. The transactional service offering also contains a commendable finance practice, including a project finance group that plays to the firm’s helpful links with big energy clients like Chevron. The banking team has also been featured on some high-profile restructurings and was prominent in helping Latin American airline Avianca emerge from its Chapter 11 restructuring process to eliminate debt worth more than US$1 billion.
Jones Day has an on-the-ground presence in both Mexico City and São Paulo. In Mexico, the capital markets practice is particularly busy, focusing on a wide range of matters from corporate, banking and regulatory issues to commercial and governmental litigation. The team in São Paulo concentrates its transactional work on cross-border M&As and private equity, in addition to banking and finance and capital markets transactions. It acts for companies from a wide array of sectors, such as biotechnology, aviation, infrastructure, mining and energy, pharmaceutical and technology outsourcing. It stands out for the close working relationship between these offices and its various hubs in the US, as well as the Madrid office. In particular, the firm is noticeably good at building fluid cross-border teams on deals, with Mexican–US and Brazilian–US teams regularly working together.
The firm is also noteworthy for the number of leading financial institutions that regularly turn here as issuers, borrowers and asset managers. It boasts 12 of the region’s 50 biggest banks as clients according to research published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association – which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer. Some of these include Itaú Unibanco, Banco Bradesco, BBVA, Banamex, Banco Safra and Bancolombia.
The firm’s structure is another way in which Jones Day stands out and one of the reasons it continues to be popular with leading clients. With one partner for every two associates worldwide, Jones Day has a lower-than-average partner-associate ratio, so clients get a lot of attention. As a result, the firm’s lawyers get great customer satisfaction ratings from the companies that use it.
In the past decade, Jones Day has invested heavily in the region. Practice head Luis Riesgo and his team have built up a strong and sizable group. However, the regional group suffered a significant blow in 2022 with the departure of several partners from its transactional teams in Miami.
Jones Day also deserves recognition for its pro bono work on the US-Mexico border, where hundreds of its lawyers have helped women and children seeking asylum from violence in Central America.
São Paulo is the firm’s Latin America headquarters and home to a considerable proportion of its regional talent, but New York, Miami, Madrid and Atlanta are also prominent. The firm has a large office in Mexico City, which fits well within the overall platform.