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Uría Menéndez takes stake in two allies as elite Latam duo agree groundbreaking tie-up

Iberian leader Uría Menéndez has elevated its offering in Latin America and acquired a 30% stake in the merger of its best friend firms and national heavyweights, Philippi and Prietocarrizosa, in a union the firm says is a ‘major milestone’ in its international strategy to consolidate its commitment in the region.

Named Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uria, the newly combined firm will start operating on 1 January 2015 and house 220 lawyers across offices in Chile’s Santiago, and in Bogota and Barranquilla in Colombia. Management duties will be delegated to a steering committee of six partners including a senior partner and a managing partner.

Resources afforded to the new firm also include Uría’s 530-strong lawyer team and offices in Latin America, the US, Europe and Asia.

It is the first phase of a project that the firm said responds to the ‘interest of European, Asian and North American companies in the Pacific Alliance’s member states.’ The alliance is a trade bloc in Latin America including Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and constitutes the eight largest economy in the world.

The firm added that the potential for further growth of the Alliance provides an opportunity for law firms to offer services within a transnational context. In this respect, the combined firm has confirmed it will seek to expand in other markets including Peru and Mexico, and further work towards full integration with Uría Menéndez.

Having been involved in Latin America for 17 years, the initiative is a ‘major milestone’ in Uría Menéndez’s international strategy to ‘consolidate its commitment’ to the region.

Philippi has five top-tier recommendations in the Legal 500 and a further six recommendations. It is considered one of the dominant law firms in Chile as is Prietocarrizosa in its domestic market of Colombia where it forms a quarter of what has been dubbed the Colombian ‘Magic Circle’.

Uría Menéndez managing partner Luis de Carlos said of the venture: ‘We have developed close ties with Latin America for almost two decades now and are confident that this venture, which represents an innovative approach to the legal services industry in Latin America, will be a great success.’

Philippi chairman Juan Francisco Gutiérrez added: ‘For a long time we had identified the need to join the growing internationalization process that Chilean companies are experiencing, particularly in the Pacific Alliance region. We are fortunate to join forces with two law firms with which we have a longstanding relationship in addition to sharing professional ethics and values. This has paved the way to pioneer this approach and most importantly, to address our clients’ needs.’