Baker & McKenzie is venturing into some exciting new territory.

Yesterday, the 4,000-lawyer law firm announced that it had acquired Estudio Echecopar, a Peru law firm. With this deal, Baker &McKenzie becomes the first U.S. law firm to establish an office in the South American country. The firm now has 72 offices in 45 countries, including 15 offices in seven Latin American countries.

Lima-based Estudio Echecopar was founded in 1950 and has more than 200 lawyers and staff. The firm specializes in banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions, mining and energy, foreign investment, privatization, arbitration and litigation, administrative law, employment tax, civil law, capital markets and project finance.

Baker & McKenzie Chairman Eduardo Leite says the acquisition comes at a time when the so-called Andean Three—Peru, Chile and Columbia—which had a combined population of 87 million in 2011, are expected to grow more rapidly than Brazil and Mexico, which currently have a combined population of 400 million.

“Clients increasingly are looking to Latin America—and especially the promising nations of the Andean Three—for growth opportunities as well as resources,” Leite said in a press release. “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.”

According to Thomson Reuters, other U.S. law firms are recognizing the potential of the Andean Three. In May, Holland & Knight opened an office in Bogota, Colombia.

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