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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Ferrere

18 February 2016

A Uruguayan-headquartered firm with regional reach

People in Who’s Who Legal

3

Pending cases as counsel

8

Value of pending counsel work

US$4 billion

Treaty cases

4

Current arbitrator appointments

4 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)

Lawyers sitting as arbitrator

2

NEW ENTRY

Ferrere is the largest law firm in Uruguay and one of the top two firms in the country, according to GAR’s sister publication Latin Lawyer. It’s also the only South American firm to have pursued serious cross-border expansion without the backing of a foreign firm, setting up offices in Bolivia, Paraguay and most recently Ecuador.

The firm began to cooperate with US and UK firms on cross-border disputes in the late 1990s, and set up a dedicated dispute resolution department around that time, headed by construction partner Julio Iribarne. The collapse of some large private banks in Uruguay in 2002 meant the firm soon found itself co-counselling with arbitration teams at Allen & Overy, Shearman & Sterling and Arnold & Porter. It represented JP MorganChase, Credit Suisse and Commerzbank in a pair of ICC cases against the Uruguayan government worth more than US$1 billion – and its success in those cases helped the arbitration group grow.

The practice received a major boost in 2015 when it founded a new office in Quito staffed by a team from Ecuadorian firm Paz Horowitz. The team included Javier Robalino, a former King & Spalding lawyer who featured in GAR’s “45 under 45” ranking of younger practitioners in 2011. He is playing a co-counsel role to oil companies in two large ICSID claims against Ecuador (in which the state has made counterclaims for environmental pollution worth several billion dollars).

Robalino now co-chairs the arbitration practice alongside Sandra González in Montevideo, who is overall head of the disputes department. Other names to know are Andrés Cerisola, Ferrere’s managing partner and a well-known arbitrator in the country; and Andrés Donoso, a former member of Ecuador’s hydrocarbons ministry.

Network

Besides its five offices in Uruguay, the firm is also based in Santa Cruz and La Paz (Bolivia), Quito and Manta (Ecuador) and Asunción (Paraguay).

Who uses it

Clients that have used the team include Perenco, ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger, Austrian technology group Andritz and India’s Jindal Steel & Power. It has worked for private equity groups such as Elliott & Associates; Bluecrest Capital Management; and Chile’s Linzor Capital (in a potential ICSID claim concerning measures affecting Uruguay’s drug retail industry). Reportedly it’s also advising Argentina’s national oil and gas operator YPF in arbitration-related court proceedings in Uruguay.

Track record

In 2015, the firm helped Austrian technology group Andritz secure a €40 million payment to settle a claim against the Finnish–Chilean owners of Uruguay’s largest pulp mill project, Montes del Plata. (It partnered with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr on the case.)

Another co-counsel pairing (this time with White & Case) saw the firm help Jindal Steel secure a U$22.5 million award against a Bolivian state mining company. The award was later set aside by a Bolivian court, but the parties have since entered settlement talks – also pausing another arbitration worth US$100 million relating to the same iron ore project.