2021 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno boasts an enviable international profile, built on the significant volume of work it does for global clients. In recent years it has embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy, consolidating its ranks and becoming a dynamic competitor in the Argentine market.
Mitrani Caballero’s core practice areas include corporate and M&A and banking and finance. These are part of its overall strategy to become one of the top two firms in Argentina for transactional work. The corporate and M&A department was already reputed, but recent investment in talent caught the attention of the rest of the market and made competitors take notice.
A broad service offer also includes noted strength in administrative, labour and compliance. Lateral hiring has given Mitrani Caballero well-respected talent in natural resources, particularly mining. In line with its previous expectations of a boost in tax work, the firm made hires in that area despite economic difficulties sparked by the covid-19 pandemic: it hired partner Gloria Gurbista from Teijeiro & Ballone, a highly recommended tax boutique in the Argentina chapter of Latin Lawyer 250. Meanwhile, associate María Paula Díaz was promoted to the partnership in the compliance and crisis management area.
Some of Mitrani Caballero’s clients in 2020 are a testament to its strength. Steel manufacturer Tenaris was a benefactor of the firm this year, as was energy company Raízen, which suffered the collapse of oil and gas prices last year.
Research by LACCA (the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer) into which law firms advise Latin America’s largest 100 companies shows Mitrani Caballero to be among the top four most popular firms in Argentina among major corporations in the region. It represents around 10% of the approximately 100 largest companies in Latin America. Argentine–Italian conglomerate Techint is a major client, along with some of its subsidiaries, such as Tenaris. Flat and long steel manufacturer Ternium is another client, as is Brazilian energy company Raízen. Other big names Mitrani Caballero considers among its core clientele include multinational consumer goods company Unilever; telecoms multinational AT&T; and Mexican conglomerate Grupo Alfa. The firm has a diversified client base and does work for several universities, as well as the Italian embassy in Buenos Aires and the Italian government. Food company Bunge was another notable client of 2020.
The collapse of oil prices combined with a new administration, an inflated peso and the pandemic meant a huge reduction in transactional and corporate work. But the firm saw an increase in conflict management with companies wanting to terminate contracts by force majeure, labour conflicts, bankruptcies and tax work. The firm was also retained by corporates wanting advice on defensive strategies against the oncoming storm, coming up with ways and ideas for companies to maintain their growth in the face of such troubles. Management says that partners with in-house experience – such as Christian Mitrani and Julio Caballero – have been of huge strategic importance for the firm.
Mitrani Caballero’s strong international focus has always served it well, particularly when Argentina’s economy faces constant headwinds. The experience of some of the firm’s lawyers working abroad for Argentine steelmaker Techint has given Mitrani Caballero an advantageous position over its competitors when it comes to outbound investment deals. Cross-border work is less tied to the health of the Argentine economy – and more to the performance of global industries – than at other firms, which is a good position to be in during periods of instability.
The international approach is well-received by clients and – along with quality of service – is why they continue to come back. A lower partner-to-associate ratio than many of its competitors is another stand-out feature that appeals to clients. Senior partners are extremely hands-on with clients, which is also appreciated by them. Mitrani Caballero has also ensured its ranks are diverse; over 70% of its associate base is made up of women, while just over a third of the partnership is female.
The firm is run by a four-partner management committee that includes firm founder Cristian Mitrani.
Mitrani Caballero is headquartered in Buenos Aires.