Chambers Latin America Awards 2018

The Chambers Latin America Awards 2018 took place on Friday 30th November at the Loews Hotel, Miami Beach.

The evening was sponsored by Bilzin Sumberg, Diaz, Reus & Targ LLP, Greenspoon Marder LLP and LatAmlex Abogados.

The awards drew on the research for Chambers Latin America 2019 and were in recognition of the outstanding performance of firms in their respective countries or regions where they are active. The criteria for the awards take into account pre-eminence in key practice areas, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.

A total of 19 national awards were given out, in addition to five client service awards, two regional awards and five international counsel awards. Two lawyers were singled out for individual honours, namely Maria Cristina Cescon, name partner of Brazilian firm Cescon Barrieu Flesch & Barreto Advogados, who won the Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession Award, and Francisco Armando Arias, Regional Managing Partner of Central American law firm, Arias, who was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The night culminated with the presentation of the Latin America Law Firm of the Year Award which this year was bestowed upon Peruvian heavyweight, Rodrigo Elías Medrano.

Chambers video now available

Please click here to see the 2018 photo gallery.

 Chambers Latin America Awards

SHORTLISTS AND WINNERS

ARGENTINA

Allende & Brea
Baker McKenzie
Beccar Varela
Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi
M & M Bomchil
Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal
Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen

Winner: Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal
Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal is by far the largest corporate law firm in Argentina and widely admired for its fantastic capabilities dealing with sophisticated domestic and cross-border M&A, often involving private equity, as well as corporate restructurings. It is also reputed for its ability to handle public law issues, including energy and natural resources matters. The firm also has an extraordinary track record advising clients in the agribusiness sector on a host of regulatory and transactional mandates. The firm also boasts strong department covering Labour and employment, competition and dispute resolution, as well as, tax, international trade and IP. Market onlookers also praise their expertise in insurance and product liability matters. The firm has also made notable strides in strengthening its compliance and TMT offerings in recent times.

Chambers Latin America Awards Marval,O'Farrel & Mairal

BOLIVIA

Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad     Civil - BAQSN
Ferrere
Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C. Servicios Legales
Indacochea & Asociados
Moreno Baldivieso Estudio de Abogados

Winner: Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C. Servicios Legales 
Guevara & Gutiérrez is a heavyweight Bolivian firm with strong experience across the full range of domestic and international corporate transactions. The firm boasts particular prowess in additional areas such as banking and finance, dispute resolution, especially international arbitration, and energy and natural resources. The firm also has a significant presence in the labour and employment sphere as well as an important administrative law practice. Clients praise the firm, stating: “Their assessment is good and precise. They consider aspects that go beyond the questions we ask them. It's a firm with high standards.”

 Chambers Latin America Awards Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C. Servicios Legales

BRAZIL

BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão
Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados
Demarest Advogados
Lefosse Advogados
Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados
Pinheiro Guimarães
Pinheiro Neto Advogados
TozziniFreire Advogados
Veirano Advogados

Winner: Mattos Filho, Viega Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados
Mattos Filho is a full-service powerhouse that continues to set the standard in the Brazilian market. In recent years it has carried out an aggressive and highly successful expansion plan. Traditionally a top-tier name in practice areas as corporate M&A, capital markets and tax, the firm has also developed excellent departments in core sectors as insurance, technology and agribusiness, as well as oil and gas. The firm is equipped to provide multidisciplinary services to its clients, assisting them with both consultancy and contentious matters. Mattos Filho is often retained by leading domestic and multinational companies, who appreciate the firms' expertise and integrated structure, noting: "The firm has really good teams across different practice areas. They understand their client's goals and concerns, offering a constructive approach to cases."

Chambers Latin America Awards Mattos Filho, Viega Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados

BRAZIL CLIENT SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Demarest Advogados
Demarest won the client service award after receiving stellar feedback which led the firm to be promoted in five different practice areas in the last research cycle. One client told Chambers: “It is an excellent firm with dedicated, up to date and bold professionals. The firm understands my business, my reality, the way my executives work. The lawyers are objective, straightforward and focused to always deliver a clear cut service.”While another added:  “I have never worked with a team that is so dedicated and obsessed with winning the case and defending the interests of my company.”

Demarest Advogados

CENTRAL AMERICA

Aguilar Castillo Love
Arias
BLP
CENTRAL LAW
Consortium Legal
EY Law
García & Bodán
LatamLex Abogados
Lexincorp
Nassar Abogados

Winner: Consortium Legal
Consortium Legal is a regional powerhouse and a household name across the Central American isthmus, with market-leading practices in Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The firm counts on ten offices and over 200 lawyers enabling it to handle major cross-border deals on behalf of prestigious multinational banks and corporations. Their clients told Chambers: “They can provide the services in need in the different countries in an efficient and interconnected way,” and: “They continue to be a top-tier firm in Central America, handling matters at a regional level.”

Consortium Legal

CHILE

Barros & Errázuriz Abogados
Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana Abogados
Carey
Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos
Claro & Cía
Morales & Besa
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría
Prieto Abogados

Winner: Carey
Carey is a full-service corporate law firm that has achieved an impressive and consolidated growth in recent times; the organisation now counts on over 250 professionals at its service. The firm remains at the forefront of the market, achieving 13 Band 1 rankings in Chambers’ most recent Latin America guide. It is considered by clients and peers alike to be a market leader in corporate finance mandates, with in-depth experience and expertise in M&A, project finance and capital markets transactions. Carey is also well-represented in the natural resources space, with cutting-edge practices in energy and mining. Competition and tax are further areas of strength and the firm also demonstrated its capabilities in bankruptcy and restructuring achieving a top-tier position in the inaugural ranking. The firm’s client portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of major national and foreign corporations.

Carey

CHILE CLIENT SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría 
PPU won the client service award after wowing clients who told us: “They operate in an almost incomparable manner in terms of how they handle all the different areas involved and how they support us in so many different ways. Their team works very well together. Their pro-business focus and attention to client service in terms of response times makes them a pleasure to work with.”
Other sources agreed, commenting: “They keep everybody focused on resolving the most important issues and don’t waste time on stuff that is insignificant. They are very professional people, very responsive, offer a very good quality and are excellent in the execution of documentation to close the deals.”

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría&nbsp

COLOMBIA

Baker McKenzie
Brigard Urrutia
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas
Gómez-Pinzón
Lloreda Camacho & Co
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría
Posse Herrera Ruiz

Winner: Posse Herrera Ruiz
Posse Herrera Ruiz is widely recognised by major domestic and international clients as one of the leaders in the Colombian legal market. The full-service firm is a transactional powerhouse, boasting strength in both corporate and project finance, with deep expertise in both capital markets and banking and finance operations. The firm’s lawyers are well-equipped to advise on both financing and regulatory issues affecting major energy and mining companies. The firm also boasts a market-leading dispute resolution practice, which represents clients in both litigation and arbitration. In addition, Posse Herrera Ruiz is well-regarded by market onlookers due to their distinguished capabilities dealing with highly complex international trade and real estate issues.

Posse Herrera Ruiz

COLOMBIA CLIENT SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Brigard Urrutia
Brigard Urrutia scooped the client service award after receiving stellar feedback in a number of practice areas. Clients told Chambers: “This is one of Colombia’s top law firms and as such they provide a high-quality and business oriented service that ends up delivering extra value for the client.” Interviewees also commented: “The service is excellent – the partners are directly involved in the deal and have a very pro-business style. They give creative solutions in difficult circumstances. I would also highlight that they boast well-trained and professional junior lawyers as well.”

Brigard Urrutia

COSTA RICA

Aguilar Castillo Love
Arias
Batalla
BLP
Consortium Legal
Dentons Muñoz
EY Law
Nassar Abogados

Winner: BLP
BLP remains an obligatory reference both locally in the Costa Rican legal market. It boasts a diversified offering of legal services spanning areas intrinsically tied to both transactions and sophisticated regulatory work. Key areas of strength for the firm include M&A, projects and real estate. Also of note is the fact that the firm is the sole Band 1 player in our specialised insurance and competition law rankings, as is the fact that it attains a ranking in every practice area included in our Costa Rica chapter. This year the firm strengthened its market share in the real estate sector, absorbing a boutique firm dedicated to this area.

BLP

COSTA RICA CLIENT SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Consortium Legal
Consortium Legal won the client service award in Costa Rica after impressing clients who stated: “Their partners are excellent, as is the service that they provide to their clients. They are very thorough when handling transactions and their response times are very quick. Consortium Legal is a firm that has a lot of experience across many practice areas, which is of vital importance to clients." Other sources agreed, noting:  “The firm has a multidisciplinary team of excellent professionals, which means that clients receive a well-rounded service by working with just one firm. This facilitates coordination and teamwork.”

Consortium Legal

CUBA (INTERNATIONAL COUNSEL)

Akerman LLP
Bird & Bird
Greenberg Traurig, PA
Holland & Knight LLP
Lupicinio International Law Firm
Uría Menéndez

Winner: Bird & Bird LLP
Bird & Bird’s Madrid-based practice is headed by the leading foreign expert on Cuba and has an unmatched track record helping foreign investors navigate the challenging investment regime in Cuba. The firm has more than two decades’ worth of experience advising international clients on joint ventures with the Cuban state, as well as representing them in contentious mandates such as investment treaty arbitration cases. The team is particularly strong in renewable energy, natural resources and transport infrastructure, as clients note: “The firm’s knowledge is unsurpassed; the lawyers adapt easily to the vicissitudes of the projects which is key to working in Cuba.” 

Bird & Bird LLP

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Castillo y Castillo
DMK Abogados
Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández
OMG
Pellerano & Herrera
Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti, SRL
Squire Patton Boggs Peña Prieto Gamundi

Winner: Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández
Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández is a heavyweight domestic player that has accrued a great reputation in the Dominican Republic, particularly due to their exceptional capabilities in the dispute resolution arena, handling some of the most relevant litigation and arbitration cases. The firm is also held in high esteemed by local and international clients for the outstanding role they play in the fields of corporate and commercial law, as well as in intellectual property and labour and employment. Clients told Chambers: “It is consolidated firm with a strong team of highly professional lawyers, offering business acumen and solid client service.”

Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández

ECUADOR

Bustamante & Bustamante
Coronel & Pérez
CorralRosales
Ferrere
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Winner: Pérez Bustamante & Ponce
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce continues to be recognised as the leading corporate law firm in the Ecuadorian market. The firm boasts market leading departments covering the corporate, dispute resolution and tax areas, as well as real estate and energy and natural resources. The firm is regularly the first port of call for major multinational banks and corporations with interests in Ecuador, as well as key domestic names. Pérez Bustamante & Ponce also offers excellent services in competition law, where their lawyers excelled in the research for this newly created section in our guide, propelling the firm to a Band 1 ranking.

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

EL SALVADOR

Arias
CENTRAL LAW
Consortium Legal
Espino Nieto & Asociados
Romero Pineda & Asociados, Compañía de Abogados

Winner: Arias
A first port of call for key players in the Salvadoran market, this regional player performs particularly well in its country of origin. With top tier rankings in a majority of the sections researched by Chambers & Partners, Arias has earned the respect of leading players in the insurance and energy sectors. The team continues to advise clients on sophisticated corporate and financial transactions, as well as their regulatory components. Clients also value the firm's leading IP practice, which boasts capabilities in unfair competition and trade mark matters.

Arias

GUATEMALA

Arias
BLP
Carrillo y Asociados
Consortium Legal
Mayora & Mayora, S.C.
QIL+4 ABOGADOS

Winner: Consortium Legal
This regional powerhouse is a go-to name for both local clients in Guatemala and regional clients with strategically-important operations in Guatemala. No firm is ranked in a greater number of sections in the Guatemala chapter than Consortium, with the firm also attaining a ranking in our new real estate table this year. The firm remains strong in the key transactional areas of finance and M&A, enjoying further acclaim in tax and IP mandates. Also of note is the fact that the firm is ranked for its capabilities in dispute resolution, labour and real estate matters. 

Consortium Legal

HONDURAS

Aguilar Castillo Love
Arias
Bufete Melara & Asociados
Consortium Legal
García & Bodán

Winner: Aguilar Castillo Love
The Honduran market speaks effusively about this firm, noting its high-quality client service and participation in high-profile M&A deals and financial transactions, most notably in the context of financing energy and transport infrastructure projects. The team's strong performance also extends to the tax and IP areas, where the firm is also recognised in our guide due to its participation in such matters as designing tax structures for deals and trade mark filings. The Honduran team continues to play a key role in the firm's share of regional mandates.

Aguilar Castillo Love

MEXICO

Baker McKenzie
Basham, Ringe y Correa S.C.
Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.
Galicia Abogados, S.C.
Hogan Lovells BSTL
Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes, S.C.
Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, S.C.
Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.
Santamarina y Steta SC
Von Wobeser y Sierra, SC
White & Case SC

Winner: Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.
This transactional heavyweight remains an impressive competitor in the Mexican legal market. Key areas of focus include all aspects of finance, with the firm attaining Band 1 rankings in capital markets, banking & finance, M&A, projects, real estate and aviation. Despite enviable existing rankings, the firm still managed to improve, ascending to the top tier in our energy rankings in the 2019 edition. Band 1 positions now account for a higher proportion of this firm's rankings than any other in the Mexican market. The team continues to grow, with burgeoning practices in both anti-corruption and tax, also boasting established and respected practices in debt restructuring and environmental law.

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

MEXICO CLIENT SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, S.C.
Nader, Hayaux y Goebel proved to be more than worthy winners of the client service award with one source telling us: “One key element is their proactivity and practical use of the law versus common sense to make sure that we do not get bogged down with matters that are not important. It makes the deal flow more smoothly and faster than expected in many areas. Also, their proactivity shines when they make sure that opposite counsel march at the speed that the deal requires rather than the standard work pace that many times takes hold in these types of transactions."

Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, S.C.

NICARAGUA

Alvarado y Asociados
Arias
CENTRAL LAW
Consortium Legal
García & Bodán

Winner: García & Bodán
Despite an extremely challenging situation in Nicaragua, Garcia & Bodán continued to advise key clients on significant local and cross-border mandates. The firm maintains an impressive track record in the real estate practice area, also boasting strong performances in the corporate and dispute resolution arenas. An equally strong year in the energy sector saw the firm improve its rankings in this practice area. Clients summarise their experience with the team, noting: "The service is excellent; the lawyers are assertive, concise and understand our needs."

García & Bodán

PANAMA

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee
Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez
Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
Galindo, Arias & López
Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán
Morgan & Morgan

Winner: Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee
Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee is a distinguished Panamanian full-service firm that is routinely retained by major multinational clients, including banks and corporations. The firm continued to perform extremely well in our most recent research cycle, scoring an impressive 7 out of a possible 9 Band 1 rankings. Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee excels in complex M&A, banking and capital markets’ transactions, and offers superb skills in the fields of dispute resolution, covering both sophisticated litigation and arbitration procedures. The team also performed strongly in Projects and Energy in our most recent research cycle.

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

PARAGUAY

BKM - Berkemeyer
Estudio Jurídico Gross Brown
Ferrere
Olmedo Abogados
Peroni Sosa Tellechea Burt & Narvaja
Vouga Abogados

Winner: Ferrere
Regional firm Ferrere won the Paraguay firm of the year award for the first time in its history. The award was recognition of the firm’s strong growth and the impact it has had in the local market, creating greater choice for clients. The firm offers cutting edge advice to multinational companies on M&A, corporate restructuring and joint ventures mandates, whilst also providing a stellar service in banking and finance and dispute resolution. Clients enthuse about the firm: “We don't need to work with anyone else – they are excellent. They understand the problems and are able to learn new things then explain them to us, so working on technical matters is easy.” 

Ferrere

PERU

Estudio Echecopar - Member Firm of Baker McKenzie International
Garrigues
Hernández & Cía. Abogados
Miranda & Amado Abogados
Muñiz, Olaya, Meléndez, Castro, Ono & Herrera Abogados
Payet, Rey, Cauvi, Pérez Abogados
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría
Rebaza, Alcázar & De Las Casas
Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados

Winner: Miranda & Amado Abogados
Miranda & Amado is a distinguished full-service firm in Peru as well as member of the Affinitas legal network which covers the countries of the Pacific Alliance. The firm has pre-eminent banking and finance and capital markets practices, with an unrivalled track record in international securities offerings. It also boasts a potent dispute resolution department, with prowess in litigation as well as domestic and international arbitration. Other areas of strength include corporate M&A, projects and labour and employment. Clients told us: “They are one of the best in the market. The service provided is very good and the follow-up is great. They have a real understanding of business, especially when it comes to international work.”

Miranda & Amado Abogados

PUERTO RICO

Ferraiuoli LLC
McConnell Valdés LLC
O'Neill & Borges LLC
Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLC
Reichard & Escalera LLC

Winner: Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLC
Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez is an esteemed law firm maintaining a sterling reputation for its handling of a wide range of transactional mandates. The firm has for a long time been in the vanguard of the corporate, dispute resolution and real estate spheres, and is also well-equipped to assist clients with their intellectual property, environmental and tax needs. Clients speak very highly of the firm, stating: “They are fantastic, absolute stars. There is no question that we go to them if we have a corporate issue.”

Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLC

URUGUAY

Ferrere
Guyer & Regules
Hughes & Hughes
Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana + Brause
Posadas, Posadas & Vecino

Winner: Guyer & Regules 
Full-service law firm Guyer & Regules remains at the apex of the Uruguayan legal market. Boasting one of the largest teams in the country, every department of the firm achieved a Band 1 ranking in the last research cycle. Local and international clients consistently identify the firm as a market leader with particular strength in corporate M&A, banking and finance, and tax, as well as, dispute resolution, real estate and labour and employment. The firm's outstanding capabilities in the energy and natural resources sphere where lawyers cover both the transactional and regulatory sides, are also held in high regard by a host of multinational clients.

Guyer & Regules&nbsp

VENEZUELA

AraqueReyna
Baker McKenzie SC
D'Empaire
Leĝa Abogados
Norton Rose Fulbright

Winner: D'Empaire
D'Empaire Reyna remains the dominant force in the Venezuelan legal market with particular prowess in corporate and tax, as well as strong offerings in labour and employment, public law and banking and finance. Both peers and clients consider the firm to be among the best in the country and it is regularly retained by its blue-chip clientele to counsel on sophisticated transactional mandates such M&A, divestitures and corporate restructuring. Clients laud the service rendered, noting: “The response time is impressive – you never have to remind them about getting back to you on a matter. They apply technical understanding in a practical manner which is outstanding. "

D'Empaire


REGIONAL SOUTH AMERICA PRACTICE OF THE YEAR

Baker McKenzie
CMS
Dentons
DLA Piper LLP
Ferrere
Garrigues
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

Winner: Ferrere
Ferrere wins the inaugural award following a particularly strong showing in the four South American countries where the firm has a presence, namely Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. The firm is ranked in 24 practice areas across the four countries and in the last research cycle achieved eight promotions, or a third of all the areas where it had a ranking. Its standalone practice in each of the four jurisdictions made it a strong candidate for, and in one case the winner of, an individual country award. What further impressed clients was the ability of its 200 strong team to work seamlessly across four jurisdictions, maintaining a consistent level of service and offering sophisticated legal advice akin to that provided by major global firms. 

Ferrere

INTERNATIONAL COUNSEL IN LATIN AMERICA

CORPORATE FINANCE

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
White & Case LLP

Winner: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP 
Simpson Thacher remains at the forefront of the flagship matters taking place across the region, most significantly in Brazil, Peru and Argentina. The team is often called upon by major private equity funds to lead on strategic acquisitions, as well as by sovereign and corporate issuers of securities to assist with high-yield products, IPOs and sophisticated secondary offerings. The firm's Latin America practice continues to be a first port of call for notable names hailing from the energy, food and drink and retail sectors, remaining a top-tier player in both the M&A and capital markets rankings.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP&nbsp

CORPORATE & FINANCE
FLORIDA-BASED

Akerman LLP
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Greenberg Traurig, PA
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Knight LLP
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
White & Case LLP

Winner: White & Case LLP 
As the home of Carlos Viana, head of the wider firm’s powerful Latin America practice, the Miami office plays an integral role in the organisation’s continental offering. The firm has in-depth experience advising blue-chip clients on corporate and finance deals spanning all the major economies of Latin America, such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico amongst others. It boasts cutting-edge banking and project finance practices, as well as considerable strength in capital markets and M&A. Clients told Chambers: “They provide the highest quality of service. They are incredibly responsive and thoughtful, and the work is always of the very highest calibre and done right the first time."

White & Case LLP

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Dechert LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
King & Spalding LLP
Reed Smith LLP
White & Case LLP

Winner: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
This standout practice is involved in representing high-profile corporations and sovereign governments in arbitral claims arising across Latin America. With particular recent experience in claims emerging from Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia, the firm continues to boast an outstanding track record in this sphere. The legal nature of the claims in which the firm is involved spans both contractual disputes and those brought under bilateral investment treaties in respect of the expropriation of assets. Major clients from the energy and financial services arenas continue to instruct the firm for the bet-the-company disputes.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

PROJECT FINANCE

Clifford Chance LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
White & Case LLP

Winner: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP 
This international heavyweight boasts involvement in first-rate project finance mandates throughout the region. Its deep bench of project finance specialists leverages significant experience in the representation of both major lenders and project sponsors. The firm is sought out by clients for advice on projects arising in the oil and gas, power and renewables spheres. The department's impressive region-wide experience spans the handling of matters arising in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

LATIN AMERICA LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados
A truly full-service firm and a standard bearer for excellence in its respective jurisdiction, Rodrigo Elías Medrano consistently represents some of the biggest domestic, regional and global corporate clients in transactional and litigious mandates. The firm enjoys a deep and highly talented bench, as demonstrated by the sheer number of lawyers they have ranked across multiple practice areas – one of the highest numbers for any firm in any Latin America jurisdiction. They boast strength across the full array of legal practice areas. Testament to their all-round potency is the staggering 18 Band 1 department rankings they enjoy out of a possible 22. They consistently draw widespread acclaim from sources who point out that “the team excels in very complex cases due to the ability to present several alternative solutions” and, “the lawyers are fantastic, always available and client focused, delivering sophisticated legal services.” One interviewee clarifies: “For international clients who are used to the having total availability of their lawyers, this would be the firm to go to. Culturally they work like a leading US law firm,” while another sources describes them as simply “the Lima aristocracy.”

Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados

Lifetime Achievement: F.Armando Arias R. - Arias

Francisco Armando Arias is the Regional Managing Partner at Central American law firm Arias. Continuing the legacy of his father who founded the firm over 76 years ago, Francisco Armando Arias was one of the driving forces in turning the leading firm in El Salvador into the leading regional firm with an ambitious and highly successful expansion plan in the late nineties. What made this feat all the more remarkable is that it was achieved in El Salvador. Other firms that have since  replicated a regional platform,are typically headquartered in Central America’s biggest economy, Costa Rica.

Francisco Armando Arias is also a highly distinguished legal practitioner in his own right. He has a wealth of experience managing complex local and multinational transactions. He was also instrumental in advising Central American business groups on both the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Association Agreement with the European Union. He has served as Chairman of the Salvadoran Banking Association and the American Chamber of Commerce of El Salvador. He has been ranked in Chambers Global since 2001 and as a Band 1 from 2009 until 2016 in Chambers Latin America, and since 2017 as an Eminent Practitioner. Interviewees hail his “unrivalled excellence” and “incredible career in banking in El Salvador.” Sources also describe him as “a very strategic lawyer with in-depth knowledge” and “one of the best in the country and in the region. He is very creative, diligent and has built an excellent team.”

Francisco Armando Arias

Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession: Maria Cristina Cescon - Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados

Maria Cristina Cescon is widely acknowledged not simply as one of the leading M&A lawyers in Brazil, but one of the most accomplished corporate lawyers anywhere in Latin America. She is the name partner of Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto and over the years she has played a pivotal role in transforming her firm into one of the leading names in the Brazilian market. She balances her leadership role with an active practice covering corporate law and governance, M&A and private equity. She has an enviable track record representing domestic and foreign clients in some of the most eye-catching and sophisticated local and cross-border M&A deals, divestitures and joint ventures across a plethora of industry sectors. She has been ranked as a Band 1 in Corporate M&A Brazil for eleven consecutive years, since the very first Latin American guide.

Year on year she attracts some of the most outstanding feedback from clients and peers alike. One source comments: “I cannot say enough good things about her; she’s probably the best Brazilian lawyer. She is completely dedicated to the client, she is tireless and her commercial advice is practical.” While another agrees, noting: “She is an amazing lawyer and has proven to be a real warrior.” Observers also point out that “aside from her technical knowledge, she is a great negotiator – that is where she really stands out.” And finally: “She has a real presence, despite being small in stature, and a woman in the male-dominated world of M&A in Brazil, she completely imposes herself.”

Maria Cristina Cescon