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Meet the Research Team – Chambers Latin America

Hear from the Principal Research Specialists in the Chambers Latin America Team on their roles, experiences and what areas of research they are responsible for.

Published on 18 January 2023
Written by Carlos Contreras and Maria Guerrero
Carlos Contreras
Maria Guerrero

Carlos Contreras

Hi there! I am Carlos Contreras and I am the Principal Research Specialist in charge of Chambers Latin America’s research and coverage of the Mexican jurisdiction.

I boast over 3 years’ experience working at Chambers and Partners and researching the Mexican legal market, and I have been involved in the research, editing and publication of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 editions of Chambers Latin America.

For Chambers Latin America, creating a Principal Research Specialist role focused in Mexico became important as it has demonstrated to be a key jurisdiction in Latin America, attracting a lot of interest in our publication from law firms and their potential clients. Not only do we receive a high number of submissions from law firms in Mexico, but it is also one of the jurisdictions with the most numerous amount of ranking tables, and with some of the biggest ranking lists. Therefore, we identified Mexico as a jurisdiction that deserved a closer and more comprehensive coverage from the Research team at Chambers Latin America.

As Principal Research Specialist, I supervise Chambers Latin America’s research efforts in Mexico, and I also directly research of the jurisdiction’s most significant sections. My role also focuses on observing and keeping on top of social, political and economic market trends and analysing how they impact the legal practice in Mexico, and identifying how our coverage of the Mexican legal market can improve or increase.

Mexican legal market trends

Although the research for the Chambers Latin America 2024 guide only started recently, the research team at Chambers and Partners has already managed to identify some of the current trends in practice areas that have just finished being researched.

In the field of Competition/Antitrust, law firms generally point out that the daily management of antitrust matters has become more complicated. They report an increase in litigation cases derived from the authorities’ stricter stances regarding the interpretation of the law. Likewise, they also note an increase in regulatory compliance work, as well as a new interest from regulatory entities in starting new investigations on the barriers to free competition, which can be lengthy.

The law departments also mention COFECE's activity in investigations in the energy sector, which have been increasing and becoming more sophisticated compared to investigations in previous years. Similarly, the legal divisions highlight the interest of regulatory bodies in digital market issues, from the perspective of both concentrations and investigations as well as market studies.

Some firms also refer to the loss of human talent at COFECE, which has led to a lack of both experience and market awareness by the new officials. However, lawyers appreciate the efforts of the regulatory bodies to facilitate electronic filings, especially in relation to concentrations, which is a development driven by the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the Projects practice area, legal departments mention their participation in some of the flagship projects of the current public administration, such as the Refinería de Dos Bocas, the Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Ángeles, and the Tren Maya. However, they also highlight the negative impact of government policies on new private capital investments, especially regarding the energy sector. Many of the matters in this space have become stuck and have ended up becoming insolvency issues, administrative or constitutional litigation matters, or even arbitration proceedings. Similarly, law firms report that keeping infrastructure projects on track has been challenging, which has unfortunately led to the cancellation of some projects.

Contact Carlos Contreras

I am your main point of contact for anything related to Chambers Latin America’s research on the Mexican jurisdiction. If you have any questions on our submission and research process, our methodology, or if you have anything to share, please feel free to reach me. E-mail: [email protected]

Maria Guerrero

Hello, my name is Maria Guerrero and I am the Principal Research Specialist on the Latin America team at Chambers and Partners for Chile.  

The Chambers Latin America Guide is the most comprehensive legal platform to date that features the best lawyers and legal teams in the region. Chile stands out as one of the most relevant jurisdictions in the Guide which continues to attract growing interest from the market year after year. This translates into a high number of submissions across a wide range of practice areas and extensive amounts of qualitative feedback obtained from participants in our independent research process. 

We are keen to expand our coverage of the Chilean market due to its increasing sophistication and engagement, so we have responded to this trend by appointing a Principal Research Specialist to focus full-time on Chile.  

Since I joined Chambers and Partners in 2021 as a Research Analyst, I have been at the centre of our research efforts in Chile and have had exposure to the key practice areas and nuances of the Chilean market.  

In this new and exciting role, I am taking the lead on Chambers’ coverage of Chile, working alongside the Latin America team to shape research strategy on the jurisdiction and ensure the quality and accuracy of our legal rankings. 

What I enjoy most is interacting with key practitioners from law firms of all sizes, company executives and general counsel to gain a unique insight into the Chilean market and strengthen our relationships across the legal profession in Chile. I will also have hands-on involvement in the research of several key practice areas and work closely with lawyers and marketing teams to ensure that we deliver the highest standards of research and identify new opportunities and emerging areas in the region. 

Latest legal market trends in Chile

The Chambers Latin America 2024 research is currently ongoing. Our dedicated team of researchers have already conducted hundreds of interviews with referees of submitting firms and leading practitioners in the market and we have identified several key trends in a range of business-critical practice areas. 

Interviewees have been highlighting that Chile has exhibited resilience among emerging markets, though it is not exempt from global economic conditions. The country is on the verge of significant regulatory changes in a suite of practice areas. “We are in a context of uncertainty. However, investments in Chile continue to be active,” one tax partner tells us. In a time of change, we provide security and legal certainty to our clients,” a water rights lawyer points out. 

In September 2022 soon after we began our current research cycle, Chileans resoundingly rejected the proposal for a new constitution. Consequently, the constitutional debate will continue to be an ongoing discussion over the next year. As we had expected, public law practitioners have remained busy and have received a growing inflow of work, particularly involving litigation against the state.  

A particular flashpoint this year was the approval of the Fintech Law in late October, which is expected to bring about important changes in the financial market.  

Tax practitioners report interesting levels of activity and an ever-evolving practice due to both local and international contingencies that impact investment opportunities in Chile. Everyone highlights the constitutional debate and the new Tax Reform Bill that is currently under discussion, which aims to bring major amendments to the Chilean tax legal system. One of the relevant topics that frequently came up in our conversations with tax and mining lawyers was the introduction of a new mining royalty system. 

In the labour and employment arena, the hot topic everyone is talking about is the new proposed legalisation that would revamp the profit-sharing system and reduce the working week to 40 hours within five years, as well as the impact of raising inflation on collective negotiations and labour relations. 

Environmental lawyers have not lagged behind and reported a sharp increase in activity, including environmental legal audits and compliance, litigation and sanctions. Furthermore, water rights lawyers highlight the serious shortage of water in the region as a result of climate change issues and the country’s water resource allocation. Another notable moment was the reform of Chile’s 1981 Water Code in the first half of the year and the climate change law that came into force in June, which establishes a target for Chile to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.  

From our conversations with lawyers from law firms of all sizes and across a wide range of practice areas, it was made clear that activity in the dispute resolution area has increased considerably. In general, legal practitioners continue to report a robust inflow of work, although they also stress that some transactions and projects slowed down, due to inflation and the increasing cost of raw materials. 

Contact Maria Guerrero

If you have any questions about Chambers’ research and rankings in Chile, please contact me directly at [email protected]

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