22 March, 2019 Colombia

PPU absorbs two boutiques in Colombia


Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Colombia) has incorporated environmental and white-collar crime boutiques.

Environmental lawyer Luis Fernando Macías, who had his own firm Macías Gómez Abogados, joins PPU as a partner with seven associates in tow. Macías now leads an 11-strong environmental department at PPU.

PPU partner and co-chair Martín Acero says the firm expects an increased demand for environmental law following sustained infrastructure and renewable energy development in the country. Colombia’s accession to OECD will also require projects to meet higher environmental standards. So will international initiatives like the UN’s Global Pact for the Environment. “We want to be ready to meet our client’s expectations and to provide the services they need in this new reality,” he adds.

In the anti-corruption investigations and compliance space, PPU absorbed Forero Ramírez Abogados and incorporated Juan Carlos Forero and Pamela Alarcón as partners. By establishing an integrated white-collar and compliance department, PPU says it is better servicing an area usually left to boutiques in Colombia. Acero explains that although PPU already provided those services, the new arrivals create a fully equipped department ready to handle a wider range of anti-corruption matters.

White-collar crime has dominated Latin American news in recent years, sparked by Odebrecht admitting to practising bribery across the region. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru have responded by introducing new laws to tackle the issue, while companies doubled up on compliance programmes. In Colombia, the situation is no different. Investigations arising from Brazil’s Car Wash probe have been in the spotlight. In late 2018, the country was shocked by the suspicious death of whistle-blowers, furthering local efforts for more transparency and enforcement.

“Corporate criminal law and compliance in Colombia have seen a huge development in recent years and have converged toward the standards of OECD member states,” notes Acero. However, he say that two boutique mergers are not related to current trends. “The moves are structural and strategic and aim to provide a wider offer with the best professionals in the market,” he says. The co-chair adds that PPU is betting on Colombia’s economic opportunities and the success of the Pacific Alliance, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Acero also believes recently implemented OECD-driven policies will lead to modernisation. “As Colombian standards move closer to those of more developed countries, there will be an increase in demand for legal work, especially in less traditional areas, such as environment and white-collar crime,” he says.

PPU announced the boutiques’ incorporation on 6 March at the partnership’s general assembly in Bogotá. The firm has 57 partners across Chile, Colombia and Peru, with 20 based in Colombia.

Source: Latin Lawyer

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