The Latin American mosaic

The Latin American mosaic

Against a backdrop of global stressors from conflict to trade friction and drivers for change such as global warming and the emergence of AI, Latin America presents a complex socio-political mosaic, currently, impacting both investor confidence and legal service provision.

From Argentina to Venezuela, the region has rarely seen so many elections or so much change. Here Legal 500 Latin America editor Tim Girven and Brazil editor Daniela Costa take a look at the politics framing the region’s legal markets.

Continue reading “The Latin American mosaic”

‘So big it never stops’ – why Brazil’s legal market is still booming despite political instability and economic uncertainty

‘So big it never stops’ – why Brazil’s legal market is still booming despite political instability and economic uncertainty

They say that Brazil comes to a halt on three occasions: Carnival, the World Cup and elections. It is no surprise therefore that the combined weight of these events in 2022 made for an unusual start to the year that followed.

A fraught election in October 2022 saw Workers’ Party leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva return to the presidency 13 years after he left office, ousting former president Jair Bolsonaro. Decided by the narrowest margin in decades, Lula’s inauguration was marred by an attempted insurrection when a sea of yellow and green-clad bolsonaristas stormed federal government buildings in Brasília.

Continue reading “‘So big it never stops’ – why Brazil’s legal market is still booming despite political instability and economic uncertainty”

The Brazilian legal market

The Brazilian legal market

In Brazil, in October 2023, according to data from the National Council of Justice, there were 84 million cases pending in the country’s courts. The Brazilian judiciary, for example, adjudicates, on average, four times more cases than similar institutions in European countries. Brazil has the highest number of lawyers per capita in the world. In 2022, according to a survey conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), it was found that there is an average of one lawyer in Brazil for every 164 inhabitants. These data underscore the relevance and importance of carefully selecting the law firm that best serves the client’s interests, especially in contentious cases.

The Perdiz de Jesus Law Firm, established in 1995, stands out because of its commitment to excellence and dedication to its clients. It provides personalised client service and direct partner involvement. Ethics, dedication, and excellence are the core foundational principles on which it has built its reputation for its nimble advocacy. Perdiz de Jesus Attorneys focus is on meeting their clients’ needs and guiding them towards optimal resolutions to their legal issues. Continue reading “The Brazilian legal market”

Key developments in employment law in Mexico

Key developments in employment law in Mexico

Can you elaborate on the role of government agencies and oversight bodies in enforcing labour laws and social security regulations in Mexico?

Agencies charged with enforcing labour and social security laws, are the Ministry of Labour (STPS), the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), and the National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute (INFONAVIT), through information requests, labour inspections and specific social security audits. Continue reading “Key developments in employment law in Mexico”

Q&A: What’s on the horizon for the Dominican Republic?

Q&A: What’s on the horizon for the Dominican Republic?

Gabriel Dejarden, member of the executive committee of ECIJA, discusses the legal trends in the Dominican Republic, and the firm’s role in Latin America

What new legal trends or regulatory changes are you seeing emerge in the Dominican Republic?

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to engage with you and your readers. In the proptech area, we are seeing efforts from the Dominican government to somehow regulate online marketplaces for short and long-term homestays and experiences. Our impression so far is that the aim of these new rules would be to ‘level the playing field’ with traditional hotels which are required to obtain permits from the Ministry of Tourism and other institutions to carry out their activities. It remains to be seen whether these platforms and/or their clients will also need to make new tax payments or observe new fiscal rules.

In the TMT sector, there has been talk for a while to tax online marketplaces and streaming services with VAT, which is 18% in the Dominican Republic. Such proposed measures have been referenced in budgets prepared by the Dominican government, but so far, no regulation or statute has been approved towards this end. We believe that such a measure could potentially be approved in the context of a comprehensive tax reform bill or a stand-alone regulation after a new presidential term begins on 16 August 2024. Moreover, it is worth mentioning in this area, that the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Medium and Small Business together with the World Intellectual Property Organization recently commissioned and published the first diagnostic study of the local video game industry. This shows a clear intent from the government to diversify existing industries, create new jobs that provide higher added value and that would involve the payment of higher wages. The next step in this area could possibly be the creation of new regulations that would foster the growth of the video game industry, perhaps similar to the very successful tax incentives currently available for the movie industry. We also anticipate, given the study’s conclusions, that changes to the Dominican Republic Industrial Property statute might be on the horizon. Lastly, in this area it should be noted that the Dominican Republic government policy makers are paying attention to the recent trend to ‘nearshore’ the manufacturing of semiconductors found in automative parts, medical devices, manufacturing, and information technology. A leading study from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation published on 29 January 2024, considers the Dominican Republic as ‘the most attractive business environment in Latin America’ and a ‘leading candidate for nearshored investments in advanced manufacturing activity particularly for electronics such as printed circuit boards and the assembly, test, and packaging of semiconductors’. We anticipate that policy-makers would likely try to channel these investments to our country through the existing and very successful Free Zone Regime under law 8-90, which among other incentives, exempts businesses from the payment of customs duties and income tax, which is 27% in the Dominican Republic.

In the labour area, we are seeing a firmer enforcement of the 80/20 rule, which requires that at least 80% of a company’s workforce be Dominican. Moreover, the creation of the health and security committees has become more important as employees are demanding their implementation and are frequently suing for damages when they are absent. Lastly on this aspect, it should be noted that the government is seeking the approval of a new law to govern teleworking and that we have seen more efforts from multinationals to ensure local labour compliance, perhaps motivated in part by the decision of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue, for the first time, a Withhold Release Order against a major corporation operating in the Dominican Republic. To justify the measure, CBP acting commissioner Troy Miller asserted that ‘this Withhold Release Order demonstrates CBP’s commitment to protect human rights and international labour standards and to promote a fair and competitive global marketplace’.

In the tourism area, the government continues to encourage the creation of a new tourism pole in Pedernales in the Dominican Republic’s ‘deep south’. To this end, the government is creating new infrastructure, which already includes a new cruise port known as ‘Port Cabo Rojo’ and is set to include a new international airport, new roads, etc. The government is also seeking to create the ‘Corporación Turística Cabo Rojo’ a private corporation that will be in charge of developing and administering the services, hotel and commercial infrastructure of this new tourism area, including public and private investments.

In the financial services sector, a very interesting new development is the recent ratification by the National Congress of the Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments signed by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund) and the Dominican Republic. This new instrument creates a new financing window for projects in our country through loans, equity participations and other forms of investments defined by the treaty. The agreement is to be managed by two representatives of the OPEC Fund and two representatives of the Dominican Republic government. It is also worth noting that the agreement contemplates the creation of an ‘investment ombudsman’, which shall be located at Prodominicana, the local government agency in charge of the promotion of foreign investment into the Dominican Republic.

What can you tell us about ECIJA, its Latin American Strategy and the different roles you serve within the firm?

ECIJA is the Ibero-American firm with the largest presence in Latin America and is a key player in the Dominican market.

We currently have 35 offices spread across 17 jurisdictions (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil), staffed by more than 1,000 attorneys. We speak more than 20 languages and aim to serve the sophisticated legal needs of businesses and individuals through a full-service practice. The firm has been recognised by leading international directories and magazines such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Expansión and the Financial Times.

Our Santo Domingo office has represented clients in some of the most significant projects in the Dominican Republic, such as the local implementation of:

i. the acquisition of Flora Food Group by KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co) for more than US$8bn; and

ii. the sale of the infusion therapies business by Pfizer to ICU Medical for US$1bn.

We have also represented the World Bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the International Labour Organization, and the European Union.

In terms of our Latin American strategy, the firm in essence aims to grow its presence in the region to eventually cover all Latin American countries. To streamline our growth, the firm has set up an internal governance structure which divides Latin America into two subregions: Northern Latin America (NOLA) and Southern Latin America (SOLA). The NOLA region is headed by Ricardo Chacón, managing partner of our office in Mexico, and the SOLA region by Gonzalo Gonzalez, managing partner of our offices in Ecuador. These leaders coordinate all our business planning and integration efforts within their respective subregions and help also define the firm’s overall strategy together with the firm’s 16-member executive committee. As a member of the executive committee, I have been tasked with various responsibilities over time, which have included the search of candidate firms to join ECIJA, and the organisation of the firm’s last annual partners’ meeting together with Alejandro Touriño, managing partner of our office in Madrid. At present the role includes the appointment to a subcommittee of the executive committee in charge of fostering relationships with law firms in the US.

I am personally very fond of this jurisdiction, as I completed my LLM in Georgetown Law, in Washington DC in 2003, and have remained in close contact with US colleagues throughout the years, thanks in part to the volunteer work I perform for the American Bar Association International Law Section. Moreover, given our firm’s geographic footprint, full-service capabilities, industry expertise and scale, we feel that we are uniquely positioned to assist US and other international firms with large regional mandates throughout Latin America and Iberia. We strive to seamlessly deliver a standardised high-quality product, through a single point of contact, using industry leading technology and legal project management tools. I share this role with other administrative duties I have within our firm’s Dominican office.

For more information, please contact:

Gabriel Dejarden, partner and
member of the executive committee

Calle Rafael Augusto Sánchez Nº86
Torre Roble Corporate Center, First Floor
Suite 201d, Piantini, Santo Domingo
10148, Dominican Republic

T: +1 (809) 289-2343
C: +1 (829) 988-8888

A view from the Chilean legal market

A view from the Chilean legal market

Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados is a law firm with a decade-long history, comprised of attorneys renowned for their track record in resolving high-complexity domestic and international disputes. The firm is involved in several of the country’s most significant cases and holds a persistent presence across nearly every industry and sector of the economy.

Our focus lies in adding value when addressing challenging disputes. We are distinguished by our comprehensive and sophisticated approach to matters that span multiple legal domains; entail various and diverse conflicts requiring a coherent strategy; involve multiple legal entities on one or more sides of the issue; encompass laws from different countries; and present not only legal aspects but also economic, financial, and other questions necessitating integration of other areas of expertise into the strategy. Continue reading “A view from the Chilean legal market”

The Latin American startup industry

The Latin American startup industry

Mauricio Duarte from Legal Plus gives his insights into startups in Latin America, providing particular focus on the growing venture capital market in Guatemala

Startup ecosystem in the region

If you have heard of Duolingo, you might not know that the founder was born and raised in Guatemala. Like this successful company, there are multiple examples of successful startups in Latin America, such as Kavak, Rappi, Ualá, Hybrico, Osigu, CoreCode, Pacifiko, and more. Continue reading “The Latin American startup industry”

Latin America focus: Brave new world

Latin America focus: Brave new world

The ferocity of competition in Latin America’s legal sector over the last decade has reshaped the region’s key markets. A genuine onslaught of factors – ranging from the challenges of institutionalisation and the arrival of international players to populist politics and the pandemic – has led to powerful change, eroding the former ‘magic circle’ groups that previously dominated most key jurisdictions and, in general, reducing them to just a couple of leading players.

Beyond the upper echelons, the region’s markets have grown in terms of depth, professionalism and specialisation. Certain markets, most notably Chile, but also – increasingly – Colombia, are demonstrating a tendency towards an increasing proliferation of boutiques, which in turn bring their own challenges to more established market players. Below is an analysis of the region’s key Pacific Rim jurisdictions, working from north to south – and also a brief look at Argentina and Brazil. Continue reading “Latin America focus: Brave new world”

Sponsored briefing: Panama: The multinational hub

Sponsored briefing: Panama: The multinational hub

Panama is known for smart corporate structures that function harmoniously with a top-of-the-world financial sector, creating business opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors worldwide.

One of Panama’s most successful and developed strategies to attract foreign investment has been the establishment of special economic zones with investment regimes that offer a broad range of tax, labour, migratory and legal stability incentives. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Panama: The multinational hub”

Risk and resilience – a booming insurance industry in Latin America


Bristol-based DAC Beachcroft insurance partner David Pollitt is a regular visitor to Miami. But while tourists may be lured by the tropical climate and art deco architecture, his frequent trips from West Country to East Coast are all about his practice. The emergence of Miami as an operational and service centre for Latin America means its importance to major international insurance players cannot be underestimated.

Miami is fast becoming a gateway to Latin America for the insurance and reinsurance industry, in the same way that Singapore operates as an insurance hub for Asia. Swiss Re established a Miami office in 2011 to service Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands. Back in 2007, Zurich (a key client of DAC Beachcroft) moved its Latin American regional headquarters from Santiago, Chile, to Miami. The trend continues: Hiscox announced the expansion of its Miami branch in January this year. Continue reading “Risk and resilience – a booming insurance industry in Latin America”