A leading player in the Mercosur region of Latin America
|People in Who’s Who Legal||1|
|Pending cases as counsel||10|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$655 million|
|Current arbitrator appointments||5 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||2|
This Latin American firm was born from a 2015 merger between Philippi Yrarrázaval Pulido & Brunner in Chile and Prietocarrizosa in Colombia, with the backing of Spain’s Uría Menéndez – another GAR 100 firm. Two respected Peruvian firms, Ferrero Abogados and Delmar Ugarte Abogados, were merged into the new firm 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.
The team in Santiago includes senior associate Gianfranco Lotito, who joined from leading Chilean firm Claro y Cia; and Juan Rey Jiménez de Aréchaga, who practised for more than two years at Clifford Chance in Washington, DC, where he was involved in several investor-state and commercial arbitrations in Latin America.
Another name of note in Santiago is senior counsel Jaime Irarrázabal, a much-respected arbitrator who helped Chile negotiate several free trade agreements and had a hand in drafting the 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 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. 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?
The firm has 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 southern 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$218 million; and helped an affiliate of the client to 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 also helped Antofagasta Minerals settle a US$15 million dispute with a drilling company.
The firm won’t disclose much about its recent case work but it includes a Buenos Aires-seated ICC arbitration worth US$50 million between a company and its former partners.
It is acting for a Chilean iron-ore extraction company in two CAM Santiago proceedings regarding a power purchase agreement with subsidiaries of a US renewable energy corporation, in which claims exceed US$150 million.
An Ecuadorean construction consortium in using the firm for a US$70 million Santiago-seated ICC claim against a regional government.
In another ICC arbitration, this time in Lima, it is acting for two Peruvian companies in a US$55 million dispute related to the construction of a hydro-electric power plant.
In Chile, partner Ricardo Riesco left the firm to become a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
Mariano Pott of Argentina’s Pesel Group, said of the firm: “They deftly cornered respondents into a position from which they could no longer argue the merits of the case, but only cling to the formalities.”
Mariella Paredes of Chilean power generation group Colbún says the firm’s advice on arbitration and energy regulation has been “impeccable”. Ramiro Portocarrero in the Lima office “is a very competent and creative lawyer who can deploy an excellent and winning strategy.”