Jones Day has a robust Latin American practice that has traditionally been defined by its presence on top-end M&A deals but is focused on non-transactional areas too.
In the past decade, Jones Day has invested heavily in the region. Practice head Luis Riesgo and his team have built up a significant and sizable practice group. 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 them. A client of the Mexico City office, for example, describes the firm as having “very seasoned lawyers with a great client service.”
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 offer also contains a commendable finance practice, including a project finance group that plays to the firm’s good links with big energy clients like Chevron.
Long before 2020, Jones Day was cognisant of the fact that to have a serious Latin American offering in today’s climate, it needed a broad offering beyond its M&A core. It has thus assembled respectable disputes, investigations and regulatory practices too. All three have come to the fore in recent times, as demand for these services has heightened amid the fall-out from the covid-19 pandemic (while appetite for M&A counsel has diminished). They are undoubtedly a source of strength for Jones Day in the current climate.
Jones Day has an on the ground presence in both Mexico City and São Paulo. 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.
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 HQ and home to a significant 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 has assimilated well with the broader practice.