Correction, 10/9/12 2:30 p.m. EDT: The original version of this mischaracterized Baker & McKenzie’s acquisition of Estudio Echecopar as a merger of two firms. In fact, Baker, which operates under the Swiss verein structure, is absorbing the Lima-based firm. The headline, abstract, and second paragraph of this story have been revised accordingly. We regret the error.
Baker & McKenzie, the world’s largest firm in terms of gross revenue, announced Monday that it will be the first international firm to establish a presence in Peru.
Baker is entering the South American nation by absorbing Estudio Echecopar, a Lima-based firm with more than 90 attorneys and 200 total employees. With the addition of the Lima outpost, Baker will have 72 offices—15 of them in Latin America—spread across 45 countries. In announcing its foray into a seventh Latin American nation—the firm already operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, and Venezuela—Baker noted that the Lima office is its fifth new location in the past two years—a period during which the firm has also added offices in Casablanca, Doha, Istanbul, and Johannesburg.
Baker executive committee chairman Eduardo Leite said the combination makes sense given his firm’s long-standing ties to Estudio Echecopar, as well as rising client demand in Latin America’s emerging markets—especially Peru, Chile, and Columbia. The Peruvian economy specifically grew 6.9 percent last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported over the summer that the country’s mining sector has attracted a good deal of interest from foreign investors. “We have worked with the talented lawyers of Estudio Echecopar for more than a decade and could not have found a stronger team to help us meet our clients’ growing needs,” Leite said.
Estudio Echecopar lawyers span a variety of practice areas, including: banking and finance, M&A, mining and energy, foreign investment, litigation, employment, tax, and capital markets. Established in 1950, it was named Peru’s Law Firm of the Year in 2011 by Chambers and Partners.
“The combination of our rich local knowledge and experience with the global resources and reach of Baker & McKenzie will open new doors for our domestic clients and create opportunities for our lawyers and staff to serve an expanded roster of international companies eager to grow in Peru,” Estudio Echecopar managing partner Ismael Noya said in a statement.
The American Lawyer included Peru among the most active M&A markets in Latin America in the Global 100 package featured in the October 2012 issue. The magazine’s research also shows Baker worked on deals worth more than $57 billion combined (on 84 transactions) involving emerging markets companies in the year ending June 30. Nearly $2 billion of that total came from seven deals involving companies from what the magazine labels the Spanish America region, which includes Chile, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru. Baker ranked second among global firms in deal volume in all emerging markets, and 15th in the Spanish America region.
According to The American Lawyer‘s most recent Global 100 data, Baker had roughly $2.3 billion in gross revenue during its most recent fiscal year, with profits per partner of $1.1 million.