Ferrere

Latin Lawyer 2015, Bolivia

Full-service firm with regional clout

Established: 2006 Partners: 4 Total lawyers: 18

Since arriving on the scene less than a decade ago, Ferrere’s Bolivia office has pursued an aggressive expansion strategy that has seen it become a major player in the market. The local arm of Uruguay’s largest firm, Ferrere has leveraged off its headquarters in Montevideo to build an impressive international list of clients that turn to the office for its banking and transactional strength. As one satisfied client puts it: ‘All it takes is to pick up the phone and you know that you will get a proper legal opinion or accurate guidance on different topics.’ Further expansion is projected for the future as the firm takes steps to reinforce its presence here, attracting talent by offering a clear career path for associates.

PEOPLE AND PRACTICES

The firm is headed by Carlos Pinto, who handles the banking and finance side of corporate work. A high-profile member of Bolivia’s legal community, recent work undertaken by Pinto includes advising the regional development bank FONPLATA on the acquisition of its regional headquarters in Santa Cruz; counselling the Inter-American Development Bank in the provision of a loan to Banco Económico; and helping JP Morgan Chase enter into an agreement with Schlumberger and the Hyundai Development Company – the latter also retaining him to help win a public bid to build Bolivia’s longest bridge in the central Santa Cruz region. Pinto also leads the way in corporate governance, where prominent agribusiness, telecoms, and inspection and certification service companies are among their clients. Ferrere is also active in telecoms, regulation, natural resources work, administrative law, insurance, tax, litigation and labour. Litigation and regulatory compliance is overseen by Lindsay Sykes, whose joining from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP represented a coup for Ferrere. In 2014, she represented Jindal Steel & Power in ICC arbitration against a Bolivian state-owned steel company, while in the finance sphere she is representing various international banks in a multimillion-dollar, multijurisdictional global credit case. La Paz-based Alejandro Pemintel was also hired this year and heads the labour and disputes practice groups. He has represented telecoms companies AXS, COMTECO and COTAS; some of Bolivia’s most important mining companies, including Glencore Xstrata, Orvana Minerals and Inti Raymi; and recently helped US cosmetics company Avon exit Bolivia and Mercedes-Benz Argentina sell ambulances to the Bolivian Health Ministry. He is also an able litigator, representing major international corporations in disputes with public authorities. One oil and gas client that turned to the firm for commercial and regulatory work describes the firm as ‘one of Bolivia's premier full-service law firms.’ IP is a newer area of focus, with senior associate Gonzalo Iturry leading the department. His recent work includes advising foreign clients in IP disputes. Former head of the firm Cristian Bustos passed away in late 2014.

CLIENTS

The majority of Ferrere’s clients are international, and often shared with the firm’s other offices. Agribusinesses include Cargill, and telecoms, logistics and insurance companies also feature. India’s Jindal Steel & Power, Mercedes-Benz Argentina, US cosmetics company Avon, Swedish telecoms provider Ericsson, UK publisher Penguin are all recent clients. Multilaterals, such as Inter-American Development Bank and FONPLATA also feature, as does private bank JP Morgan Chase.

OFFICES

The firm’s new La Paz office is dedicated to administrative and regulatory work, while corporate, labour and tax are dealt with from Santa Cruz. Ferrere is a regional firm, and as well as its presence in Uruguay and Bolivia, it also has an office in Paraguay.

PRO BONO

Ferrere’s lawyers make a commitment to each do 30 pro bono hours annually. They advise environmental NGO the Blacksmith Institute and in recent years have also counselled MADRE, an international women’s human rights organisation, on the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersexed individuals in Bolivia. The firm also works with the New York-based Cyrus R Vance Center for International Justice on pro bono projects.

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© 2017, Ferrere Attorneys