The Ibero-American tie-up has offices in Chile, Colombia and Peru
|People in Who’s Who Legal||1|
|Pending cases as counsel||22|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$492 million|
|Current arbitrator appointments||10 (of which 6 are as sole or chair)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
This Latin American firm was born in a 2015 merger between Philippi Yrarrázaval Pulido & Brunner in Chile and Prietocarrizosa in Colombia, with the backing of Spanish GAR 100 firm Uría Menéndez. Two respected Peruvian firms, Ferrero Abogados and Delmar Ugarte Abogados, were merged into the firm in the following year.
Of the various legacy firms, Philippi Yrarrázaval had the biggest international arbitration profile: it made its debut in the 2014 edition of the GAR 100. That was largely down to the hire of partner Cristián Conejero Roos in 2013 to head the arbitration practice. A Chilean national, he joined after six years with Iberian firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira, where he’d been based in Paris, Madrid and São Paulo. A former counsel at the ICC Court, he also featured in GAR’s “45 under 45” ranking of leading young practitioners in 2011.
His team includes partner Ricardo Riesco, who previously worked with Clifford Chance, and senior associate Francesco Campora, who has experience with Chadbourne & Parke’s disputes team in New York.
The Chilean firm is also home to senior counsel Jaime Irarrázabal, a much-respected arbitrator who helped Chile negotiate several free trade agreements and also had a hand in drafting the Chilean statute that enacted the UNCITRAL Model Law in 2004.
The disputes team in Bogotá is led by Julio César González and Héctor Hernández, who both previously worked with Uría Menéndez in Madrid. Ramiro Portocarrero leads the newly arrived disputes team in Lima.
Santiago, Bogotá and Lima are the main offices for arbitration, but it also has an office in the Colombian city of Barranquilla and there are plans to expand to Mexico. The firm also benefits from Uría Menéndez’s network of offices in Spain, Portugal, São Paulo, New York, Beijing, London and Brussels.
Who uses it?
Numerous clients in Chile’s energy and mining sectors, including Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Antofagasta Minerals (the mining arm of Chile’s Luksic Group) and Mexico’s Southern Copper Corporation. Other names include brewery group SAB Miller, Argentine fisheries group Pesel and Spanish pharmaceuticals group Laboratorios Kin.
The firm has also been advising a group of Chilean energy investors, Consorcio Eólico, in a pair of arbitrations worth US$40 million against its Indian partner in relation to a wind-power joint venture in the south of Chile.
In 2014, a team led by Conejero Roos helped BHP Billiton successfully settle a pair of ICDR claims against Glencore concerning copper concentrate contracts worth US$200 million; and also helped an affiliate of the client settle a smaller dispute with Skanska.
Another settlement came in 2013 in a US$1.6 billion dispute between shareholders of a Chilean supplier of oxygen and inert gases – with the client receiving shares worth US$400 million. It has also helped Antofagasta Minerals settle a US$15 million dispute with a drilling company.
At his old firm Cuatrecasas, Conejero Roos helped a consortium of US and Spanish investors win an ICC award worth US$45 million against the Dominican Republic in 2012 in a dispute over a toll-road concession. The state paid the award in the following year.
The firm is reluctant to give much away about its pending counsel work, but it includes a Buenos Aires-seated ICC arbitration worth US$50 million between a company and its former partners.
Adrián Pastor Torres from SAB Miller subsidiary Backus – which used the firm to defend a US$10 million claim by a Chilean malt supplier – called Cristián Conejero Roos “a brilliant lawyer”. In particular, Torres praised his desire to obtain a favourable settlement, which “saved a lot of time and resources for both parties”.