Firm Profile

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce (PBP)

Ecuador

Full-service excellence

LL 250 Highly Recommended

Established: 1916

Partners: 19

Lawyers: 82

Work areas

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

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce Abogados is still unmatched in terms of its reputation, size and breadth of offering. It attracts an impressive range of big-name clients and continues to win the lion’s share of transactional work in the country. This is largely due to its talented lawyers, who are some of the best in the market. Despite a year that was dominated by the economic downturn caused by covid-19, Pérez Bustamante performed impressively in 2020, working on a large volume of headline-grabbing transactions. The firm also laid the ground for a busy 2021, hiring an energy and natural resources partner from a competitor and promoting five senior associates to directors across several practice areas.

Behind this market leader’s success is a truly full-service offering, which is accompanied by industry-focused specialisation, while the firm has also pursued a policy of modernisation. This powerful blend, in which no practice area accounts for more than some 5% of the year’s revenue, has ensured excellence across the board and allows it to have non-transaction practice groups to cover for transactional ones during times of economic decline. This approach receives the approval of clients, one from the aviation sector states: “they are excellent and very close to the customer”.

Despite its broad services, some areas stand out well above others. Its corporate and M&A, project finance and banking and finance teams are especially notable. The team also offers expertise in antitrust, energy, litigation and arbitration.

The firm reports a busy 2020 in the field compliance and notes its tax area was busy working on transfer pricing matters. So much so that the firm is considering launching a standalone transfer pricing practice in the coming years.

Meanwhile, and in tune with client demand, the firm launched a family office (focused on the management of family-owned businesses and private wealth), as well as a data protection practice.

Pérez Bustamante places heavy emphasis on specialisation, ensuring lawyers do not stray too far from their main area of practice and is tailoring its service offer for key industries. A lawyer at the firm is thus an expert in not only a practice area but also in an industry sector. This level of specialisation allows the firm to deliver laser-driven, business-orientated advice. Pérez Bustamante also recognises the importance of staying close to clients and being attentive to their needs in times of crisis. It offered one-on-one meetings with clients at no charge during 2020, and now also offers a more flexible approach to pricing.

With its stronghold in the capital Quito, Pérez Bustamante has successfully increased its visibility in Guayaquil. Its newly launched family office, led by a businessperson, with more than 20 years of experience as general manager and president of well-known companies in Ecuador. He was formerly the president of the Guayaquil Chamber of Industry, and is likely to attract more clients in Ecuador’s largest city, which would add to the firm’s already impressive list of international clients. Pérez Bustamante provides counsel to 15 of Latin America’s approximately 100 biggest companies, according to the study, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer. This makes it the most popular firm among these clients in Ecuador. Prominent clients include Spain’s Telefónica, Mexico’s Arca Continental, Germany’s BASF, Brazil’s Ambev, Colombia’s Avianca and Chile’s Codelco.

With strong leadership, a well-defined career track and support for associates to study abroad and gain experience from other firms, Pérez Bustamante seems to have it all to attract the best talent. However, it knows it can still do more, particularly concerning the number of female partners. The firm is committed to a more gender-balanced workplace and has pushed for more diversity in recent years, including its introduction of maternity and paternity policies, flexitime and mentorship programmes for female lawyers.

Technology remains high on the agenda. Investment in cybersecurity has been a strong focus, while the firm has digitalised billing and process management systems. The management – led by a committee composed of partners Sebastián Pérez Arteta, Diego Pérez Ordóñez and Rodrigo Jijón Letort – also want to explore and invest more in AI to reduce costs and provide more efficient services to clients.

Offices

The firm is based in Quito and has gradually increased its presence in Guayaquil.

Alliances & networks

Pérez Bustamante is a member of the law networks Club de Abogados, Interlaw, Lex Mundi, the Employment Law Alliance and, most recently, Insuralex, a network with law firms specialising in the insurance sector.

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