Latin Lawyer
2011

Guyer & Regules

LEADING, PRESTIGIOUS DEALMAKER

Now in its centenary year, Guyer & Regules has built its prestigious reputation by hiring lawyers with only the strongest educational background, and developing them from qualification to partnership without ever making lateral hires. Its approach sees vindication both in its position in the size table, where it is second place, and the esteem in which it continues to be held. The firm’s competitors envy its reputation for corporate and finance work, and the volume of deals that have moved through its books in 2010 can only strengthen its position in Uruguay’s deal tables.

PEOPLE & PRACTICES

Guyer & Regules fosters deep and lasting relationships with its clients which allow it to become closely associated with their business in all its aspects. One client explains, “The firm provides comprehensive coverage of all areas of investment banking and corporate finance as well as tax advice.” Guyer & Regules’ two foremost partners are firm leader Nicolás Herrera and Nicolás Piaggio. Both are seen leading a good number of Uruguay’s landmark transactions, and are successful promoters of the firm’s name overseas. Herrera, who has a wide-ranging corporate and disputes practice, is described by one client as “one of the most experienced lawyers and smartest dealmakers in Uruguay in the last 20 years for large and complex transactions.” This year Herrera’s notable cases saw him acting for the government of Uruguay as the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by tobacco producer Philip Morris to the country’s strict anti-smoking laws. He also advised Brazilian meatpacker Marfrig Alimentos in its takeover of Uruguayan leather exporter Zenda.

Piaggio recently advised paper pulp company Montes del Plata in the construction of a US$1.5 billion paper mill. He also acted for Brazil’s state-owned energy company Petrobras and Spain’s Repsol YPF as they signed a deal to explore offshore oil in Uruguay. His corporate group is praised for being “a team that executed its role with accuracy and creative solutions when needed.”

M&A lawyer Diego Baldomir has been busy this year, working on Canadian airline Jazz’s acquisition of an indirect stake in Uruguay’s national airline, Pluna, as well as helping the world’s largest consumer dairy company, Schreiber Foods, acquire a stake in three Uruguayan companies. Tax lawyer Juan Manuel Albacete is said to “meet our needs with excellence,” while Álvaro Tarabal is “extremely competent, knowledgeable and well-connected.”
Labour and litigation lawyer Leonardo Slinger is also a prominent figure, and this year helped secure a victory on behalf of Uruguay’s Chamber of Industry in challenging the country’s collective negotiation law. Litigator Carlos Brandes is renowned as having “vast experience in civil litigation and particularly in international commercial arbitration,” in which he is ably supported by Eloisa Cerdeña. Though Guyer & Regules is perhaps known as one of Uruguay’s more traditional firms, it has proved it is not scared to innovate, with its expansion over the past four or five years impressing its competitors, who have watched it moving into new sectors, most notably IT, as well as stepping up its efforts in regulatory work. In 2010 the firm promoted banking and corporate partner Juan Manuel Mercant to become its 13th partner.

CLIENTS

Prestige is a word which applies as well to the Guyer & Regules client list as it does to the firm. Banks especially have figured as prominent customers, with Citigroup perhaps the best known and Dutch Development Bank FMO and Standard Bank also big names on the books. Banking clients find that the firm “always finds strong teams that deliver under pressure,” while “valuing its experience, and the access to official channels that the firm’s experience and tradition have successfully developed.” One of Uruguay’s biggest banking clients says: “It has significant experience and access to regulators, lawmakers, major business players and the judicial system, which works to the advantage of its customers. Given its legal experience and networking capabilities, we confidently recommend the firm to our customers.” A leading emerging markets investment manager says, “The firm provides an excellent, client-focused and professional level of service.” Unilever is another long-standing client – its country manager Luis María Rodríguez says of the firm, “They have provided excellent practical and commercial advice… the best legal service we require. The team has demonstrated deep knowledge in these areas and goes beyond the legal aspects, taking the time to understand our business.” That company is joined by several big names in the industrial sector: cement maker Loma Negra, oil field operation and maintenance company AESA, and mining group Río Tinto. Media group CBS and McDonald’s Latin American franchiser, Arcos Dorados, also use the firm. Spanish telecoms company Telefónica has also been a user of Guyer’s services as has UK private equity fund Ashmore.

PRO BONO

The firm’s pro bono clients include Junior Achievement, Endeavor, Fundación Niños con Alas, El Refugio, Fundación Liceo Jubilar and AIESEC Uruguay.

OFFICES

Guyer has opened an office in Montevideo’s main free trade area, Zonamerica, to go with its headquarters in the capital city. It opened an office in Punta del Este last year.

ALLIANCES & NETWORKS

The firm values its membership of international legal networks very highly but says it chooses them carefully to make best use of the opportunities they afford. It is a member of the Club de Abogados, the Lex Mundi network, Multilaw and the World Services Group.

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