Ferrere

2014, Latin Lawyer Paraguay

Ambitious firm with growing profile

Established: 2003

Partners: 3

Total lawyers: 21

FERRERE Abogados has grand designs for its Paraguay office. The firm grew by 50 per cent in 2013 and has its sights set on becoming one of the country’s largest law firms in line with Paraguay’s rapid economic expansion.

Uruguay’s largest firm opened up in Paraguay just over a decade ago and also has an office in Bolivia as part of a strategy to break into the region’s smaller economies. FERRERE has recently been persuading talented nationals to return home from careers in US firms, reporting success in both countries. The firm has also recently introduced a financial aid programme – long in place in the Uruguayan branch - for young lawyers interested in pursuing LLMs abroad.

The office’s well-regarded leader, Nestor Loizaga, has done much to build the profile of both the Paraguayan and the Bolivian operations, but is now dedicating all of his attention to the Asunción office in light of its recent growth spurt. Over the past two years he has gained two partners to support him.

Staffed entirely by local lawyers, FERRERE has a strong corporate culture and stands out in Asunción for not originating from a family structure. The firm has sound knowledge of the Paraguayan marketplace while benefiting from the resources and expertise of one of Uruguay’s market leaders when new legal challenges arise. The firm has prospered from work sourced from companies already used to FERRERE’s well-regarded service in Uruguay, as well as being a regular feature on development bank loans. One important energy client says they chose FERRERE when entering Paraguay after using the Uruguayan firm and praises the Asunción lawyers’ professionalism and commitment.

PEOPLE & PRACTICES

US-educated firm leader Nestor Loizaga has made great strides to build the firm into what it is today, having joined after working as an adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. He is praised by one client for being “quick in understanding our intentions and very comprehensive on the aspects of our business,” as well as for his awareness of the issues facing international clients entering Paraguay. The firm regularly counsels the Inter-American Development Bank on loan agreements, most recently for a US$6 million loan to cooperative bank Bancop as well as an earlier US$10 million loan granted to Banco Familiar to expand access to financial services for low income workers. Loizaga wins praise from clients, with one general counsel describing him as “competent, clear, thoughtful, with a good understanding of the underlying business transaction.” Duke University-educated partner Carlos Vasconsellos is also key having built up useful experience working in respected US firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. One client thinks that FERRERE have “stepped up their game” since Vasconsellos arrived on the scene in 2012, thanks to his excellent service, expertise in his field and good follow-up of transactions. The office’s M&A work generates positive feedback. “The due diligence process was impeccable as well as their assistance in negotiating the terms of the share purchase agreement,” says one regular client. Vasconsellos and Loizaga teamed up in early 2013 to counsel US private equity fund JH Partners for the negotiation of a master franchise agreement with retailer Gap to bring its chain of clothing stores to Paraguay. Agribusiness has become a key growth area, led by Federico Silva, who has built up the firm’s environmental work as key clients such as Cargill seek to expand in the country. As well as taking on board corporate and financial work, Loizaga plays a hand in FERRERE’s other practice areas, such as administrative law, where he recently assisted LDH Energy in two international bids launched by state-owned oil company Petropar and labor, where he regularly advises Petrobras in connection with union matters in Paraguay. Loizaga also assists Valentín Sánchez with insurance and reinsurance matters, while working alongside Vasconsellos in maritime and trade law. Other lawyers to have garnered praise include Anibal Pangrazio for his work in tax and Marysol Estigarribia, who was promoted to the partnership at the beginning of 2014. She counsels a number of multinational corporations with operations in Paraguay on labor law matters, an area described by a local fruit producer as “very professional.

CLIENTS

Around 70 per cent of the firm’s work in Paraguay comes from international clients, often drawn to it thanks to FERRERE’s reputation in Uruguay. “FERRERE is an exemplary law firm, with highly professional and trained staff who have not only guided us admirably with all requirements, legal and otherwise, but also shown great capacity in assisting us in avoiding potential problems common when investing in another country,” says one multilateral client. Another describes FERRERE as “outstanding within the region,” praising the firm’s deep knowledge of banking and finance, reliability and its hands-on partners. One industrial client that has turned to the firm to expand in Latin America lauds FERRERE for being “knowledgeable, helpful and responsive”, adding that on a personal level “everyone at the firm has been pleasant and easy to work with.” The firm regularly advises Petrobras, its oldest client in Paraguay, and has advised Vale on labor matters and regional restructuring. Credit Suisse, Oikocredit, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Andean Development Corporation have also sought counsel from the firm, which also recently helped Equifax enter the Paraguayan market. Three lawyers come recommended in LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister publication, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association.

OFFICES

FERRERE Abogados also has five offices in Uruguay and two in Bolivia.

PRO BONO

Carlos Vasconsellos is currently spearheading an initiative to institutionalize the practice of pro bono across FERRERE’s three offices, which will see the introduction of a code of conduct and set monthly hours for associates to ensure a regular stream of projects.

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© 2017, Ferrere Attorneys