Latin Lawyer
2019

Un estudio llevado a cabo por la Asociación Latinoamericana de Abogados Internos de Empresas (LACCA) sobre quién asesora a las mayores compañías Latinoamericanas ubica a nuestro Estudio en el quinto lugar en términos de popularidad por delante de la mayoría de las firmas internacionales y Latinoamericanas en la región, resaltando su excepcional popularidad (teniendo en cuenta el tamaño del mercado uruguayo) entre las 100 mayores compañías en Latinoamérica.

Guyer & Regules has long history of being at the top of Uruguay’s legal market: the range and high quality of its service offering, its extensive and loyal client base, and its transactional clout mean that this prestigious firm is constantly highly sought after. The firm, which is one of two market leaders in Uruguay, has some of the country’s most distinguished lawyers in its partnership. Their experience, which often draws on decades of legal practice, forms the backbone of the firm’s excellent reputation at home and abroad.

Guyer & Regules is synonymous with high-end deal making and its reputation goes hand in hand with a client list that includes a host of heavyweights from the corporate world. The ease with which the firm attracts work from many investors in Uruguay over the last two decades has been an important differentiator. Feedback from prominent multinationals, some of which have been using the firm for decades, underlines the impeccable service on offer. Considering the small size of the Uruguayan market, Guyer & Regules is exceptionally popular among the 100 or so biggest companies in Latin America. A study, ‘Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, puts the firm in fifth place in terms of popularity putting it ahead of most international and Latin American firms across the region. Guyer & Regules’ frequent presence on big deals, detail to law firm management and strong line-up make it a 2018 Latin Lawyer Elite Firm.

Transactional departments at Guyer & Regules are exceptionally strong, with the corporate and M&A, banking, capital markets and project finance teams reporting impressive deal flow year on year. Guyer & Regules also has a deep bench in other areas, such as a prominent tax department, but also litigation and energy, where it represents a diverse group of clients. The firm’s incredibly broad service offering – and high-quality advice across the board – enables it to effectively serve evolving client needs.

Like the firm, many of its clients are at the top of their fields and therefore have not been as affected by Uruguay’s economic slowdown as smaller players; this has helped keep Guyer & Regules one of the busiest firms in the country. Another factor working in this firm’s favour is the in-house counsel role it plays for regular clients, particularly in the banking sector. This builds loyalty and has provided excellent training and exposure for its lawyers.

Guyer & Regules operates on a modified lockstep system and is committed to investing in its people. An executive committee of five partners works to make sure the younger generation receives intense training and 360-degree feedback from a cross-section of partners, ensuring the firm’s high standards are met and assured for years to come. Associates benefit from a well-established and clearly defined career track. Most of the firm’s lawyers have international experience from overseas positionings and studies.

The firm’s market leading position is evidenced in its membership of some of the world’s most prestigious legal alliances. This is a core component of the firm’s international strategy, rather than opening offices abroad. Instead, Guyer & Regules invests in its reputation, ensuring it is the first port of call for international clients and law firms alike through its excellent service offer.


CORPORATE AND M&A

 

Key partners: Nicolás Herrera, Nicolás Piaggio and Álvaro Tarabal, all of whom are recommended in LACCA Approved, a survey of in-house counsel, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer. This well-respected trio of partners are known as experts in their fields and are some of Uruguay’s most prolific dealmakers. Corina Bove, who also comes recommended in LACCA Approved, participates in high-profile deals. She is qualified to practise in New York.
Analysis:The firm is certainly at the forefront of the corporate and M&A market in Uruguay, consistently pulling in an impressive tally of deals that make it the firm to beat. This creative department, which is one of the largest in this chapter, has the manpower and skills to maintain a busy deal flow. With a solid international reputation, it is often advising European investors entering Uruguay, and more recently clients from China. High-value, complex mergers and acquisitions are this group’s speciality and the firm is often hired as local counsel for multi-jurisdictional deals. Truly diverse, Guyer & Regules’ client portfolio encompasses a wide variety of sectors. The department is proficient in energy, where it works with several of the oil exploration companies doing business in Uruguay and has extensive experience working in the renewables sector. Other industries where Guyer & Regules has a good name are beverages, retail and finance.


BANKING & FINANCE

 

Key partners: Nicolás Herrera, Nicolás Piaggio, who come recommended in LACCA Approved, and Álvaro Tarabal.
Analysis: Banking and finance is another undisputed top-tier practice of Guyer & Regules. With clients calling it the best in Uruguay, it offers excellent services and superior legal advice. The market acknowledges the team’s experience, commitment and professionalism. One of the largest banking teams in Uruguay, the group has a broad remit, advising on conventional loan agreements in sectors including energy, infrastructure and real estate, as well as trust structuring, loans for PPP projects and mergers and acquisitions within the financial sector. The firm has an outstanding collection of financial sector clients, including global lenders such as Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, along with a number of local private banks that lawyers assist with day-to-day matters. Two of Uruguay’s three private pension funds are customers. It is known for its expertise and ability to handle complicated, innovative legal structures and working on novel financial transactions. Lawyers know their way around more specialised parts of the banking industry, such as online payment platforms, which has helped attract new forward-thinking clients wishing to innovate in Uruguay’s financial and banking sectors. The firm also has experience devising sophisticated loan structures – such as those backed by derivative transactions.


CAPITAL MARKETS

 

Key partners: Nicolás Piaggio, Florencia Castagnola, and Juan Manuel Mercant are praised for their high-quality advice and extensive knowledge. Juan Manuel Mercant is recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules works on a large share of capital markets issuances in Uruguay. It has a long-standing tradition of advising the banks on sovereign debt deals, including debt exchanges and conversions, by the Republic of Uruguay. This includes a US$1.75 billion issuance in 2018. Issuers looking to raise finance also call on the firm’s lawyers and they can be credited with creating unique trailblazing structures, evidenced by recent work on the country’s largest corporate programme ever created for the local market. The firm has done further pioneering work concerning pension fund investment in shares, mortgage-backed securities and infrastructure project bonds. It is also present on high-value initial public offerings. Clients are quick to praise the high standard of service available here, applauding the department’s high quality and knowledgeable professionals with extensive expertise on the topics it deals with.


PROJECT FINANCE & INFRASTRUCTURE

 

Key partners: Juan Manuel Mercant, Federico Susena and Diego Baldomir.
Analysis: Uruguay’s booming renewables sector has over recent years created a great amount of opportunity for Guyer & Regules, which has managed to leverage its excellent reputation in finance circles to win spaces on key deals. It has regularly advised lenders backing solar and wind farm projects, but clients in the infrastructure sector have also called on the firm. Labelled the best law firm in Uruguay by a client, it works on cross-border financing agreements, advising multinational banks, as well as borrowers. The practice also works on deals in the real estate sector. Clients have said the firm’s accurate assessments and a broad scope of advice are among things they value most.


TAX

 

Key partners: Juan Manuel Albacete, highly regarded by clients for his in-depth knowledge of the law. He also comes recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: The firm devotes significant resources to its outstanding tax department, which is one of the best in the country. It has put its top-notch tax planning expertise to good use over the last years, advising big international players involved in Uruguay’s offshore oil and gas market, such as Total and Tullow Oil. Guyer & Regules’ tax litigation offering is one of the strongest in the market too, having guided numerous clients to victory in tough cases. A large in-house economic and financial consultancy supports lawyers’ work.


ENERGY

 

Key partners: Federico Susena, and Juan Manuel Mercant who are experienced in both the renewables and oil and gas sectors.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ status as one of the top energy firms in the country is evident. This strong, compact team is a go-to for even the most complex of deals. It has advised clients spanning the entire industry, from the developers behind Uruguay’s first solar project to the major oil and gas companies involved in the country’s growing offshore sector, notably Shell and Total, and lenders to renewables projects. The firm is considered a first port of call for advice on power purchase agreements, project financing and engineering procurement and construction agreements.
Work highlights: Guyer & Regules advised TMT Trust and Citibank in their respective roles as collateral agent and underwriter as part of Inter-American Investment Corporation’s project financing to Uruguayan wind farm developer Nicefield. It also helped BBVA in a credit line to French Renewables company Akuo Energy and UK Cubico Sustainable Investments.


ANTITRUST & COMPETITION

 

Key partners: Juan Manuel Mercant, is very well respected in this area of law and has a good international profile. He brings strong skills in banking and finance and knowledge of the power sector.
Analysis: The team is one of the more visible on antitrust matters in Uruguay. It represents clients involved in price fixing and collusion cases and has experience advising on antitrust claims related to public bids as well as predatory pricing practices.
Work highlights: The firm helped tobacco company Philip Morris overturn the antitrust agency’s decision to fine the company for predatory pricing and abuse of dominance.


ARBITRATION

 

Key partners:German speaking and renowned arbitrator Carlos Brandes is a strong draw, tackling hard-fought cases with vigour and diligence. Of-counsel Mercedes Jimenez de Aréchaga is also prominent.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules is one of the best-known Uruguayan firms for international arbitration and has a reputation for successfully guiding clients through difficult cases. Its role in several ongoing ICSID and ICC proceedings underlines its standing in the market, with clients eager to turn to this highly capable offering. Energy and power companies, pulp mill operators and tobacco clients are among the firm’s recent clients.


LITIGATION

 

Key partners: Carlos Brandes all comes recommended in LACCA Approved. His litigation advice is on a par with his arbitration counsel, earning praise from clients and colleagues alike.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules has a market-leading litigation practice with an excellent track record in civil litigation. The practice has represented well-known companies in high-value disputes, as well as being well versed in disputes arising from bankruptcies. Its reputation saw the former general manager of Banco de Montevideo turn to the firm in a US$344 million negligence lawsuit filed by the Central Bank of Uruguay.
Work highlights: Guyer & Regules helped Philip Morris obtain a court ruling overturning the antitrust agency’s decision to fine the tobacco company for abuse of dominance and predatory pricing.


AVIATION

 

Key partners: Federico Susena
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ aviation law practice is a rarity in the Uruguayan legal market. The firm helps major international airlines with the legal aspects of chartering flights to the country and route permitting, and provides assistance on all regulatory matters as well as financial agreements. The latter includes advice to aviation financing and leasing company General Electric Capital Aviation Systems (GECAS) and to creditors involved in former government-owned airline Pluna’s liquidation. The firm also boasts well-known clients on its books for day-to-day advice, which include budget Brazilian airline Gol and Dubai carrier Emirates.


INSURANCE & REINSURANCE

 

Key partners: Leonardo Slinger
Analysis: Guyer & Regules boasts an experienced, large team that advises domestic and international insurance companies that turn to it for day-to-day advice and regulatory compliance matters. Its experience extends to M&A deals in the industry.
Work highlights: The firm is helping a British multinational insurance company sell its Uruguayan subsidiary.


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

 

Key partners: Javier Berdaguer
Analysis: This is a growing practice at the firm, which focuses mainly on trademark registration and counsel, rather than litigation. The team has an impressive client list spanning various sectors, such as beverages, casino and textile companies, and is used to tackling complex issues and coordinating multi-jurisdictional matters.


ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

 

Key partners: Carlos Brandes
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ deep bench continues into its administrative offering, and the team has experience on complex, often high-profile matters across a range of industries, from genetic profiling to important energy projects. GDF Suez and Marubeni-owned company GNLS, agricultural company Novozymes BioAg and Philip Morris licensee Abal Hermanas have all turned to the department for advice, on issues pertaining to breach of contract claims, predatory pricing issues and fines handed down by the Uruguayan antitrust authority. Regional e-commerce platform MercadoLibre is another big client on the firm’s books.


REAL ESTATE & TOURISM

 

Key partners: Federico Susena and John Leaman, who are both highly valued by a wide range of international and domestic clients.
Analysis: This highly experienced team is one of Uruguay’s most well regarded thanks to its depth of experience in complex real estate matters. It advises clients on lease and construction agreements, land purchases, investment structuring and project finance. Argentine real estate developer TGLT is a returning client for financing transactions.
Work highlights: Guyer & Regules helped Banco Itaú and BBVA lend US$30 million to the local subsidiary of TGLT to develop an apartment complex in Montevideo, the developer’s first project outside Argentina.


SPORT & ENTERTAINMENT

 

Key partners: Javier Berdaguer. 
Analysis: A relatively recent arrival into the practice of sports and entertainment, Guyer & Regules now has a growing reputation and a very respectable portfolio of clients, including Uruguay’s national football team and players for local teams. Broadcasting company acquisitions, football-related deals, image rights matters and disputes are all familiar work for this department. It provides day-to-day services to hundreds of local football players on publicity and image rights, helping them to establish a civil association to better protect said rights, and it has worked on football player transfers to big teams such as Manchester City.


CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

Key partners: Florencia Castagnola
Analysis: Guyer & Regules has a sought-after corporate governance practice. The team has experience in helping brokerages through Central Bank inspections and assisting on the restructuring their corporate governance practices accordingly. It has advised US banks with internal reviews and is adept at implementing new policies, such anti-money laundering rules, as well as conducting internal audits to ensure company procedures and related documentation are efficient and legally compliant.


LABOUR

 

Key partners: Leonardo Slinger, who is recognised in LACCA Approved, and Eduardo Ameglio, valued by clients for his professionalism.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ leading labour practice has almost 30 years of experience. Clients turn to firm for services in collective bargaining and litigation, which are highly sought after given the firm’s track record. The team works on cases involving hundreds of workers, and is comfortable managing mass lay-offs. Lawyers are just as at cease in defending clients in unfair dismissal cases and representing companies in negotiations before the wage council at the Ministry of Labour. Companies from the banking and finance sector, including the Uruguayan Association of Bank, Citibank and credit card operator Oca are among the firm’s clients.


ANTI-CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS AND COMPLIANCE

 

Key partners:Of counsel Raúl Cervini, who has experience working in Brazil, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ white-collar crime and compliance practice is one of few in the country. It wins clients from public and private sectors, including well-known financial institutions, which turn to the firm for advice on fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.


TELECOMS & MEDIA

 

Key partner: Diego Baldomir
Analysis: Guyer & Regules has significant experience in the telecoms sector. The firm has led an array of deals ranging from the acquisition of satellite landing rights to the rental of intercontinental fibre optic cables. A number of large international clients looks to the firm to help them comply with Uruguay’s telecommunications regulatory body’s licensing requirements as well as for day-to-day support. Thomson Reuters, Embratel, Convergia, Netsuite, Emergia and Telefónica are all among these.


ENVIRONMENT

 

Key partner: Senior associate Anabela Aldaz.
Analysis: An array of clients relies on Guyer & Regules’ environment team to provide comprehensive due diligence advice and regulatory assistance. The practice group has experience in the energy and pharmaceutical sectors, and has worked on initiatives to increase efficiency of waste disposal.


MARITIME

 

Key partners: Alejandro Miller, has experience advising both shipping companies and port terminals. He has a degree in sea and maritime law from Chile’s University of Valparaíso, and has written various books about his area of specialisation.
Analysis: Guyer & Regules’ maritime department advises both banks and companies in the financing of vessel purchases and restructuring loans. An offshore marine industrial transportation company recently used the firm’s services to restructure a loan agreement, which required amendments of a by-law concerning its operations in Uruguay.

 

PRO BONO

Analysis: Guyer & Regules is recognised as a Leading Light for its commitment to pro bono. It works closely with Fundación Impulso, which runs the first free, secular and privately managed high-school for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Nicolás Herrera is president of the foundation, which aims to give its students a first-class education and an opportunity to go to university. While still in process, the firm is one of five founding partners of the first pro bono clearing house in Uruguay. Cempre, an organisation promoting waste recycling, and Project Fair Trials are also supported by Guyer & Regules. The firm keeps a full registry of pro bono work hours clocked by the entire firm and by each lawyer. The timing of the operation and overall satisfaction from the client is also logged.


ALLIANCES & NETWORKS

Guyer & Regules is a member of Lex Mundi, World Services Group, Multilaw, World Law Group, Club de Abogados and Interlex.


OFFICES

Guyer & Regules main office in Montevideo was refurbished in 2017, and had a 100-seat auditorium installed. The firm also has a branch in the city’s free trade zone, which offers offshore services to international clients, as well as a base in the exclusive tourist spot of Punta del Este

CLIENTS

According to a study, ‘Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, Guyer & Regules represents 35 of the approximately 100 biggest companies in the region. This makes it one of the most popular firms among these clients in Latin America. Global banking names Citibank and Banco Itaú are two of the firm’s core clients. Other regulars include airport concessionaire Puerta del Sur, which is a member of Grupo Eurnekian. Uruguayan forestry company Montes del Plata; Coca Cola and global consumer goods company Unilever are also major clients. Guyer recently added life insurance company Metlife and Argentine e-commerce company Mercado Libre to its roster.