Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría is the result of a tie-up between Peruvian firms Ferrero Abogados (renowned for mining, tax and banking) and Delmar Ugarte (well known for its project finance department); two top-class Chilean and Colombian firms; and Spain’s Uría Menéndez, which owns 30% of the initiative. The venture is extremely ambitious and among the top performers in each of its three jurisdictions.
PPU’s core strengths in Peru lie still in the stronghold areas of its predecessors: projects and infrastructure, M&A, banking and finance, labour, mining and tax. The firm has maintained a strong transactional presence following the merger and has demonstrated its ability to work alongside the firm’s other offices in cross-border transactions.
Strategically, key backer Uría Menéndez considers Latin America to be absolutely key for continued growth. Streamlining operations between teams in Latin America and Madrid is a strong objective. A recent milestone for the firm in this sense was the election of new regional management, which took effect in 2021. That included the appointment of Colombia-based Martín Acero as the regional managing partner (a position that was previously shared). Alongside that position, there is a local managing partner in each country, which in Peru is Rafael Boisset. Peruvian partner Walker Villanueva also sits on the regional board. The new structure had been in the making for some time and reflects the integration of the firm’s operation through the region.
In terms of regional consolidation, the management is aware that more can still be done. Shortening the bridges between the offices is a priority. To do that, it has a lawyer exchange programme between its Peruvian, Chilean and Colombian outposts. It offers six-month secondments in either of the other offices and a unique chance for lawyers to develop important connections. Meanwhile, all PPU offices now operate on the same IT system, making access to documents and databases from anywhere more efficient.
Locally, PPU is pursuing several efforts to make the office attractive to talent and a suitable place to work. A diversity, equity and inclusive committee has a strong focus on helping women lawyers grow within the firm. It has an implemented mentorship programme and a solid commitment to flexitime, supporting women lawyers, as well as men, who are at the stage of creating families and preparing for a life as parents. The flexibility of remote working introduced during the pandemic has become more permanent, with lawyers asked to be in the office three days a week. PPU is also making improvements to its existing spaces to allow for easier access for employees with disabilities.
Other efforts to create a sustainable future for PPU include clearly defined institutional career paths and training, both of which are relatively recent and constantly reviewed. Lawyers can expect a more transparent process for reaching the partnership too. Among other things, this involves a 12-year training programme that includes courses on aspects of the law, as well as on economics and soft skills such as leadership and client management. Once lawyers reach the top rank, they can expect a lockstep compensation structure that is firm-wide.
PPU promoted one labour lawyer to partner in 2022, while two directors in tax and competition law were appointed in 2021. The firm intends to allocate further resources to its environmental law practice and energy offering. The latter is a stronghold for the firm in Chile and Colombia, and the Peruvian leadership is aware it must step up its game.
The Peruvian office is in Lima. Outside Peru, PPU has offices in Bogotá and the port city of Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, while its Chilean presence is in Santiago. Uría Menéndez has useful offices in Brazil, Europe and China.
Alliances & networks
PPU benefits from Uría Menendez’s widespread connections, which intertwines it with some of the most esteemed firms internationally and in Latin America. The firm is a member of World Law Group and SCG Legal.