International law firm CMS announced its integration with Carey & Allende in Chile, GRAU Abogados in Peru and Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados in Colombia. The new offices add to CMS´s existing presence in Brazil and Mexico.
The move comes a few months after CMS announced its three way merger with European law firms Nabarro and Olswang. CMS will now have 65 offices in 38 countries, with over 6000 staff and more than 880 partners.
Carey & Allende brings a 70-person team with more than 13 practice areas while Grau currently has more than 100 lawyers covering 17 practice areas. Meanwhile, Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados is home to a 65-strong team in Bogotá and Medellin.
The new firms will fully integrate into CMS as independent members and will trade under the names CMS Carey & Allende, CMS Grau and CMS Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados.
While international law firms has a long history in Latin America, this move by CMS is part of a more recent wave of office openings in the Pacific Alliance. The trend is particularly noticeable in Chile which has seen the likes of DLA Piper and DAC Beachcroft launch offices in the country. However, independent Chilean homegrown firms still dominate the legal landscape with Carey (unrelated to legacy law firm Carey & Allende) remaining the nation´s largest by headcount.
Cornelius Brandi, Executive Chairman of CMS, commented, “Geographic expansion is often a part of our clients’ growth strategy. So, we move primarily into regions where we expect that there will be future opportunities for them. Latin America is a region with great potential and steady growth, making it attractive for international business.”
Ramón Valdivieso, managing partner at legacy Carey & Allende, added, “Globalisation has also manifested itself in the legal services market, which is only beginning to be experienced in Chile. In the face of this, Carey & Allende has made the strategic decision to be part of a global firm that provides us with the best practices worldwide for the benefit of our existing clients. At the same time, we continue to drive our growth through work from the huge number of jurisdictions where CMS is present. This gives us an unmatched competitive advantage in Chile and is also a very attractive proposition for our lawyers.”
Juan Carlos Escudero, managing partner at Grau, added, “This is an excellent opportunity for our firm. We are developing strong ties with our natural partners in the region (Chile and Colombia) and will be part of a top tier global firm with a presence in new regions such as Europe and Asia.”
Sergio Rodríguez Azuero and Guillermo Villegas, partners at legacy Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados, added, “Latin American clients are expanding their businesses into different jurisdictions all over the world and a significant number of foreign clients are increasingly entering the Latin American market. Joining CMS and becoming part of this impressive global firm allows us to better serve our clients’ global needs.”