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Peru to-do

Posted by: Laurence Simons 29/10/12

Nothing thrills like an emerging legal market. Nothing makes lawyers want to rip their shirts off and smudge their faces with oil paint and roar to the heavens with excitement like an emerging legal market. Asia? Done. Africa? On the up. And next on the horizon? The spicy overtones of Latin America.

And Baker & McKenzie is the first firm to get on board the Peru train. As Reuters reports, the organisation has this month acquired the 100-lawyer strong offices of Estudio Echecopar, making it the first US-based firm to establish a presence in Peru. The acquisition brings Baker & McKenzie's office total in South America to 14, and completes the so-called Andean triangle of Peru, Chile and Colombia.

But Baker & McKenzie are doing more than collecting South American legal office-shaped baseball cards. The firm is making in-roads in the continent due in part to the natural resources present there, which drives industry, which creates money, which leads to legal squabbles. The Baker & McKenzie-Estudio Echecopar chimera hopes to mop up the mess that the mining industry in Peru creates.

And as Holland & Knight's Robert Pupo told Reuters, a number of legal powerhouses are looking to take advantage of the growing market for legal services in the Andean triangle that stem from growth in the area. "Many Colombian companies have reached a level of maturity," the chair of H&K's Latin America practice said. "Rather than doing work just in the country [they] are doing work out of South America and inbound into the US." Sounds like an emerging legal market to us.