Contributed by Raimundo Labarca
Vergara, Labarca & Cia.
There is no doubt that the judicial system of a country is one of the factors that investors take into account when deciding to invest abroad. A country with unreliable courts or arbitration systems increases the risks and often makes the market unreliable. The same thing happens with regulation. If it changes depending upon who is in power, it is difficult to think in terms of long-lasting projects.
Chile’s continuous growth over the past 24 years has attracted many foreign investors who feel seduced by its stable democracy, clear rules in its economy, its healthy financial system, its social progress, and also the fact that its judicial and arbitral systems work.
Overall, Chile has a solid and reliable judicial system, in which attorneys and clients can entrust a wide range of disputes and rely on their unbiased resolution. This is a general opinion amongst local attorneys and clients, and also within foreign and multinational companies that have chosen to do business in our jurisdiction. These companies often choose to submit their controversies to arbitration, but a lot also choose to use ordinary jurisdiction.
However, there are some issues that need to be addressed in order to further improve the quality of our judicial system.
With respect to civil and commercial litigation held before ordinary Courts of Justice, as happens in many other jurisdictions, proceedings may last between four and eight years before a final ruling is passed. When time is of the essence, such delays may represent a serious inconvenience for clients and attorneys.
Without a doubt, the extensive duration of ordinary proceedings is one of the main causes that explain the increased use of arbitration as an alternative method of dispute resolution.
Since its foundation in 1992, the Santiago Arbitration and Mediation Centre (“CAM Santiago”) has consolidated its reputation as the most respected institution of its kind. An arbitrator list comprised of more than 140 highly regarded attorneys, strict confidentiality standards, clear and efficient rules of procedure, reasonable and transparent fees, and useful administrative support are some of the reasons that explain why CAM Santiago’s arbitration clauses have become standard provisions in a wide range of contracts executed by local and foreign companies.
The growth of arbitration as a market has created a place for a second institution, which has started to compete with CAM Santiago. In effect, the National Arbitration Centre – founded in recent years with the support of several foundations, governmental entities and Law Schools (including the prestigious Catholic University) – has become a relevant actor, especially when it comes to lower-value litigation.
Arbitration proceedings may last between one and two years, depending on their complexity. It is customary that if the parties to a contract agree on arbitration all recourses against the final judgment are waived. If this is the case, only two exceptional recourses are available and are judged by the Court of Appeals.
With respect to the future, significant changes in the dispute resolution arena can be expected. In particular, there is a clear tendency to update and improve proceedings applicable to civil and commercial litigation held before ordinary Courts of Justice in order to make them more efficient and expedited.
In March 2012, the President submitted a bill that seeks to enact a new Civil Procedure Code. The main idea behind this bill is to establish fresh and modern proceedings for civil and commercial matters, as has been previously done with criminal, family and labour law disputes.
The Civil Procedure Code bill has generated intense debate in Congress and the legal community. But everything indicates that Congress will pass the bill with some amendments, preserving its key features: emphasis on oral interventions versus written presentations, direct and permanent intervention of the judge in the trial hearings, simplification of proceedings, limited recourses, and a faster process.
Notwithstanding that only time and experience will tell if the new Code will be able to achieve its goals of efficiency and speed, everything indicates that it should maintain or improve the quality of the Ordinary Judge’s work.
In arbitration, there have also been some changes that tend towards modernisation.
In December 2012, CAM Santiago issued new Rules of Procedure that addressed several technical issues that had been pointed out by arbitrators and litigators.
The most unprecedented novelty in CAM Santiago’s new Rules of Procedure is the instauration of fully electronic records. In accordance with today’s tendency towards digitalisation, CAM Santiago determined that its arbitrations would be conducted exclusively by electronic means. Clearly, this trend towards digitalisation will sooner or later make its way into every mechanism and instance of dispute resolution.
A brief word about the local legal market regarding litigation firms. In Chile, litigators are often organised in boutique type law firms which are only focused on conflicts – litigation and arbitration – and do not render corporate services. Of course, large firms also have litigation departments.
Due to the small market, and besides the age factor, year by year there is not much surprise or revelation with respect to the best litigators (2013 was not an exception in this respect).
Based on all of the above, if one has to make a conclusion, we may say that Chile has a stable legal market and a reliable dispute resolution system, in line with the country’s solid economy. Some improvements are certainly needed, but work is permanently being done both in Congress, the legal community and in Law Schools in order to address what is required. Therefore, and in our experience, foreign companies feel comfortable when conflicts arise, because the system works pretty much the same as in their own markets.
Dispute Resolution - Chile
THE FIRM This acclaimed full-service firm has a prominent role in the field of dispute resolution. The team takes on both domestic and cross-border disputes, focusing on commercial litigation in the Chilean courts and abroad. In a recent highlight, it represented multinational mining company Anglo American in a dispute with the state-owned Chilean copper mining company, Codelco, over a transfer of shares in a local copper mine. The department also specialises in local and international arbitration, and is well placed to assist clients with white-collar crime matters.
Sources say: "This is a firm geared towards the needs of the client and their business, and the team demonstrates superior knowledge of the subject matter."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources are full of praise for Cristóbal Eyzaguirre, noting his distinguished academic work and broad expertise in corporate, antitrust and litigation matters: "He is extremely talented and a very complete lawyer." He is lauded his recent defence of Anglo American against Codelco.
Founding partner José María Eyzaguirre García is a long-standing figure in arbitration and is esteemed by clients as "an extraordinary lawyer with great spirit and passion."
Nicolás Luco and Felipe Ossa are singled out by clients for their fluent English and capacity to understand the client's business perspective as well as any international aspects of a case.
José Miguel Huerta earns special praise from clients and peers alike in connection with antitrust-related disputes.
THE FIRM This disputes boutique draws acclaim for a wide array of contentious procedures, including litigation, arbitration and bankruptcy proceedings. The firm routinely assists foreign and domestic clients from a range of sectors, including construction, energy, mining, financial and retail. Recent clients include Mapfre, Walmart and Codelco, the latter of which the firm represented in a mining dispute with Anglo American over local assets. The practice also continues to handle matters arising in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, recently representing Mapfre in an arbitration procedure filed against it by Inmobiliaria El Rosal.
Sources say: "This is an excellent firm for disputes, and one which treats litigation as the last option."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pedro Pablo Gutiérrez receives widespread praise for the judicial strategies he deployed when defending the interests of Codelco in its dispute with Anglo American. Sources describe him as "a wonderful, determined litigator who handles conflicts with confidence whether within or out of court." He also led the firm's recent representation of Mapfre in an insurance arbitration case.
Clients are full of praise for Cristóbal Jimeno Chadwick: "He is aggressive when necessary, but recognises that we want a business solution wherever possible." He co-led on the Mapfre matter alongside Gutiérrez.
Consumer protection specialist Alfredo Waugh Correa and administrative lawyer Juan Francisco Asenjo Cheyre also assisted on the Codelco-Anglo American dispute.
THE FIRM This disputes specialist handles complex cases on both the civil and criminal fronts, and regularly serves public and private sector clients across a range of industries, including retail, banking and mining. In a recent highlight, the team led the criminal defence of the executives of Anglo American and Anglo American Sur in a complaint filed by Codelco, achieving a dismissal of the criminal proceedings.
Sources say: "The quality of service is excellent - the team is fast and results-oriented, and has vast knowledge of the area."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Criminal and civil litigator Davor Harasic is championed by clients as "a tremendously well-prepared lawyer, an excellent strategist and a great personality." Sources praise his fluid knowledge of Chilean legislation and jurisprudence, and his creativity in finding solutions.
Ivan Harasic impresses clients with his "precise, detailed work and great capacity for persuasion." He and Davor Harasic were the lead partners in the team defending Chilean retailer La Polar in well-publicised civil and criminal proceedings involving two class actions, and also represented the company in civil procedures against PwC.
Clients are full of praise for Julián López, who led the team advising Anglo American on criminal proceedings brought by Codelco: "He's knowledgeable and dedicated to the case, and delivers great results."
THE FIRM This acclaimed corporate player is one of the most respected names in dispute resolution in Chile. In a recent highlight, the team made oral representations on behalf of the government of Chile at The Hague in its maritime border dispute with Peru. The team is equally recognised for its focus on white-collar crime, and frequently acts for clients in fraud and bribery disputes across a range of industries, including banking, beverages and construction. A recent case in point saw the team defend the former CEO of La Polar, Pablo Alcalde Saavedra, against alleged violations of the Stock and the Banking Regulation Acts and accusations of money laundering.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrés Jana is a highly regarded civil litigator and is particularly respected by peers for his wide experience in international arbitration. He recently acted for the Chilean government on its maritime border dispute with Peru, and handled the defence of Mitsui in the Anglo American-Codelco dispute.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution group at this multi-practice heavyweight has a wealth of local and international expertise, backed up by the firm's full-service capacities across the legal spectrum. The team provides support in connection with domestic litigation, arbitration and class actions for both the public and private sectors. In a recent landmark case, it represented Nestlé in proceedings before the Chilean Supreme Court relating to the registration of the generic term 'Sahne Nuss', achieving a full dismissal of the annulment remedy filed by Empresas Carozzi.
Sources say: "Carey provides a strong advantage in being able to supply experts from a range of disciplines, which enables a deep and comprehensive approach to a case."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gonzalo Fernández heads the department and led the successful defence of Nestlé against Empresas Carozzi. "He is fully committed, leaves nothing to chance and is always one step ahead," enthuse clients.
Senior associate Aldo Molinari is well respected by peers for his solid legal background.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution department at this full-service firm works in close conjunction with supporting practices to offer clients comprehensive legal coverage for contentious matters. The team handles litigation and arbitration for major international and domestic clients, including CMPC, Xstrata Copper and IBM. In a recent highlight, the team represented Boart Longyear in an unfair competition case filed by the global mineral exploration company against its former general manager.
Sources say: "I have a high opinion of the firm. Its key strength is that lawyers across different areas are able to liaise smoothly and efficiently to provide a fast response."
IKEY INDIVIDUALS Florencio Bernales heads the group and is leading the team advising Boart Longyear on bringing an unfair competition claim against its former general manager alongside Mónica Van Der Schraft. According to clients, the pair "are smart, follow up and understand our company very well."
Sources laud Fernando Urrutia for his "close working style, which demonstrates his concern for our business and the issues we face." He focuses his practice on disputes stemming from the concessions, mining and environment sectors.
THE FIRM This long-standing dispute resolution boutique has civil litigation as its traditional focus, but is developing a growing commercial arbitration practice, with half of the team now providing clients with support in this regard. Recently, the firm has advised on disputes with an environmental element across the mining, hydroelectric and infrastructure sectors; it also handles matters in the regulatory arena.
Sources say: "These are knowledgeable, experienced and tough litigators."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pablo Rodríguez Grez is considered by sources to be among the top litigators in Chile.
Pedro Pablo Vergara is commended by peers for his "conciliatory approach and strong understanding and management of judicial problems."
Clients speak highly of Fernando Rabat Celis's dispute resolution expertise.
THE FIRM This distinguished specialist supports clients in connection with litigation and arbitration in the civil, commercial, constitutional and administrative spheres. The team acts for clients from a wide variety of sectors, focusing on disputes relating to construction, mining, financial and environmental matters. Aguas Andinas, Barrick Gold and Telefónica are amongst the firm's active clients, and a recent highlight saw the team successfully represent state-owned gas and oil company Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) in arbitration proceedings stemming from a dispute over the construction of the new oil port in the bay of San Vicente.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers highlight Alejandro Parodi as a promising young lawyer in the field.
Raimundo Labarca assisted ENAP with recent arbitration proceedings and also headed up the team representing SUEZ Energy in litigation regarding the construction of a new hydroelectric plant.
Respected litigator Arturo Vergara recently led the team representing a former board member of La Polar María Gracia Cariola in civil proceedings filed by the Chilean security commission.
THE FIRM This firm's dispute resolution and regulatory group handles a wide gamut of contentious antitrust, constitutional and public law issues, as well as criminal matters. The group serves a range of local and international clients, including Fox, GASCO and Santander. Recent sectors of focus include health, pharmaceuticals and telecoms, and in a recent highlight the team advised CFR Pharmaceuticals in a lawsuit filed against Roche for abuse of a dominant market position in connection with biotechnological pharmaceutical products.
Sources say: "We value the firm's broad offering, which includes services in corporate matters and industrial property."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Gabriel Zaliasnik served as the lead partner to CFR Pharmaceuticals in connection with its competition case and is also a respected white-collar crime lawyer: "He has an excellent understanding of criminal law."
Francisco Velozo also specialises in white-collar crime and recently led a team assisting Telefónica CTC in seeking to prosecute distributors of decoders used for the illegal interception of satellite television.
THE FIRM The Chilean office of this well-known global firm has a strong reputation for contentious matters. The team has participated in some of the country's major commercial conflicts in recent times, as exemplified by its role as counsel to Codelco on devising the state-owned mining company's legal strategy against Anglo American. The group has also focused on environmental, constitutional and administrative litigation before the Chilean courts in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, recently leading the defence for Brazilian client GMR Energía regarding the construction of a hydroelectric energy transmission line which had been halted by indigenous communities seeking a protection remedy before the Chilean appeals court.
Sources say: "They always look for a long-term business strategy rather than just seeking an immediate solution."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Rodrigo Díaz de Valdés led the team representing GMR Energía in its recent environmental litigation. He is praised by clients for the confidence he inspires when handling complex matters.
José Joaquín Ugarte and associate Ignacio Naudon are highly recommended for their agreeable working manner. According to clients, Ugarte has excellent understanding of clients' needs, while Naudon stands out for his knowledge of the law and attention to detail.
THE FIRM The disputes department at this multidisciplinary firm provides regular support to clients in connection with litigation and arbitration proceedings. The group typically focuses on regulatory complaints and commercial litigation across the energy, mining and telecoms sectors, but also handles insolvency and corporate restructuring matters. It has recently tackled a number of consumer protection cases, including acting for Inmobiliaria Pinta/Socovesa in a class action suit filed by consumer protection agency SERNAC for allegations of misleading advertising in connection with a real estate project. Further clients in this area include Farmacias Cruz Verde, Larraín Vial, Metrogas and Claro.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Luis Eduardo Toro leads the practice and is recognised for his expertise in antitrust matters. "He is a good strategist and is comprehensive in both knowledge and experience," say sources.
THE FIRM The disputes practice at this compact player works in tandem with the firm's energy, environment and tax teams to handle civil litigation and arbitration across a wide spectrum of industry and legal sectors. The group has recently tackled a number of civil rights and class action conflicts, such as advising Chilevisión on a highly publicised freedom of speech case filed by Inés Pérez arising from the editing and distribution of images by the Chilean TV channel. Further key clients in this area include AFP Capital, Movistar, CMPC and Sky Airline.
Sources say: "The team's strategy was optimal in both the procedural and substantive elements, and its knowledge extended to foreign doctrine and jurisprudence."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan Ignacio Correa heads the department and served as the lead partner on Chilevisión's recent freedom of speech case. He is widely praised by peers and is most valued by clients for his "easy, direct and frank communication."
Since publication, Guillermo Arthur has left this practice. The market is still waiting to assess the full impact of his departure.
THE FIRM This dispute resolution practice was originally established as a support service for the firm's distinguished competition department, but is now unquestionably established in its own right. The team typically advises clients on conflicts stemming from unfair competition, regulatory matters and class actions, but in recent years has provided clients with mediation and arbitration services at the Santiago chamber of commerce. Representative clients in this area include ADT, EPSON and VTR, and the team recently advised Farmacias Ahumada in connection with a class action complaint arising from an alleged case of collusion in the pharmaceutical market.
Sources say: "The team stands out for the great accessibility and knowledge of its lawyers. Their response time and understanding of our business added considerable value for money."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Paulo Montt is the lead partner on the Farmacias Ahumada cartel case and is widely endorsed in the market, with interviewees saying: "He is rigorous in his analysis and approaches problems with great strategical emphasis."
Associate Stella Muñoz is particularly valued by clients for her expertise in consumer protection matters and her "excellent visualisation of the issues at hand."
THE FIRM The dispute resolution practice at this major full-service firm typically acts as permanent counsel and defence to the firm's corporate clients. The team serves companies and individuals across a wide range of industries, including energy, mining, banking and sanitation, and provides civil litigation services in relation to contractual, regulatory, administrative, class action and consumer rights issues. The team is currently representing a number of former chief officers of electricity giant Enersis in a conflict with the Chilean state treasury regarding the reimbursement of interest paid for an administrative fine imposed by the Chilean stock exchange commission.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jaime Irarrázabal assists the team in his role as senior counsel and is a deeply respected arbitrator.
Enrique Alcalde heads the department. He is particularly well known for his defence of executives and is currently representing the former chief officers of Enersis in connection with an administrative fine.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution practice at this corporate firm is well versed in handling commercial litigation for a range of clients, including economic conglomerates covering the energy, banking and construction sectors. The team also provides support to clients in domestic and international arbitrations, as well as representation before international courts. Key names include Grupo Matte, Grupo Larraín vial and Grupo Penta, and the team recently represented Aconcagua Investing in arbitration proceedings before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) in the USA.
Sources say: "The cross-border aspects of the mandate have been seamlessly handled - the team spotted all of the pertinent issues across several jurisdictions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alfredo Alcaíno heads the practice and stands out for his "excellent judgement and availability," according to clients. He receives widespread recognition for his international arbitration and transactional practices.
THE FIRM This multi-platform firm is active in both civil litigation and domestic and cross-border arbitration, and is particularly visible in the mining, construction, food and telecoms industries. The team is currently assisting Latin American IT services provider Quintec in an administrative case filed against the Chilean medical service regarding a contract for the implementation of a new technology system.
Sources say: "The team immersed itself in all the issues to look after our interests and provide an optimal result."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Senior counsel Luis Vidal Hamilton-Toovey earns strong praise from market sources for "developing strategies to resolve conflicts in the best possible way for his client."
Nicolás Lama has taken the helm of the disputes practice and leads the team advising Quintec on its administrative conflict. Clients value his "considerable efforts to understand our needs and keep the costs down."
THE FIRM This compact litigation firm emerged as the result of a union between several partners from prestigious litigation boutiques Figueroa y Coddou and Inzunsa Del Río Parraguez (IDP). The team handles all manner of disputes, focusing on white-collar crime and complex commercial litigation relating to the media, construction and mining sectors. The firm also offers support for related corporate and tax needs. The firm's roster of major local and international clients includes BHP Billiton, Anglo American Sur and Administrador Financiero de Transantiago.
Sources say: "The team knows how to strike the right balance between aggression and defence, and studies each problem carefully in order to devise an optimal litigating strategy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jorge del Río Pérez and managing partner Gustavo Parraguez Gamboa win strong market recognition for their work on the civil litigation and white-collar crime fronts. They are praised by clients for their availability and strategic analysis.
Ignacio Figueroa focuses his practice on criminal litigation and is particularly respected for his white-collar crime expertise.
THE FIRM The disputes division at this all-round firm handles a broad range of commercial litigation as well as arbitration proceedings under ICC, ICSID and ICDR rules. The firm also offers its clients antitrust support during investigations by the authorities and before the courts. Recently, the team has been particularly visible in arbitrations stemming from the insurance, construction, energy and salmon industries.
Sources say: "This is a great firm in all respects - they have a deep understanding of a variety of different business sectors and added great value in terms of advocacy and support."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Widely respected arbitrator Manuel José Vial is described by clients as "a brilliant lawyer" who they feel comfortable turning to for complex matters.
Clients laud department head Rodrigo Guzmán Karadima's attention to detail and cross-examination skills, adding: "He has a very straightforward approach that easily gains the respect of adversaries and tribunals alike."
THE FIRM The disputes department at this mid-sized firm serves as a strong source of support to the firm's corporate and IP divisions. The team represents clients in civil and criminal litigation proceedings as well as alternative dispute resolution methods such as civil negotiations and mediation. The group advises high-profile domestic and international clients, and has a special focus on leading negotiations between unions and the Chilean authorities.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Cristián Saieh wins strong praise from clients for his broad experience in civil and criminal law.
Cristián Muga Aitken and Leonardo Battaglia Castro are recognised by peers for their expertise in criminal litigation.
Luis Ortiz Quiroga is a long-standing figure in white-collar crime litigation.
THE FIRM This relatively young firm has already carved out a recognised name in the market for dispute resolution, with its practice undergoing rapid growth in recent years. The team handles domestic and cross-border civil and commercial litigation and arbitration, and is backed up by a complete catalogue of support departments owing to the firm's full-service capacities. Client wins to date include Siemens, Lan (Latam), the government of Chile and Fitch Ratings, the latter of which the group recently advised on a securities fine and consequent litigation initiated by the Chilean Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the credit rating procedure of La Polar.
Sources say: "Their responses are high-quality, personalised and efficient, and they are able to produce viable solutions to complex problems."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Cristián Gandarillas earns strong praise from clients for his litigation expertise, particularly in connection with bankruptcy matters. "He has solid legal knowledge and an enormous working capacity, and is very devoted to his clients," say interviewees.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution team at this compact but growing firm has been gaining a visible foothold in the Chilean market in recent years. It represents clients in civil and commercial litigation as well as in arbitration proceedings, recently tackling disputes in connection with the retail, banking and salmon industries. The group's portfolio of clients includes high-profile players such as Banco Estado, Walmart, CNN and Marine Harvest, with the team recently acting for the latter in a series of commercial and civil cases against its former general manager and others for alleged breach of contractual obligations.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Experienced litigator José Miguel Gana heads up the practice and is leading proceedings brought for alleged breach of contract on behalf of Marine Harvest. He brings a wealth of experience in TMT and competition matters to the team.
THE FIRM This compact criminal law specialist is particularly experienced on the white-collar crime front. The team is well known for its recent defence of the former general manager of La Polar, Nicolás Ramírez, against charges of insider trading, fraud and conspiracy.
KEY INDIVIDUALS René García is a key member of the team and is highly regarded by peers.
Alfredo Etcheberry led the recent criminal defence of the former general manager of La Polar and is widely considered to be a veteran lawyer in this area.
THE FIRM This renowned full-service firm is gaining traction in the local dispute resolution market, where it serves a growing portfolio of new and long-standing clients. The team frequently handles civil litigation and arbitration relating to the mining, banking and energy sectors, and is currently representing Chilean electricity transmission company Transelec in arbitration proceedings with Hyundai regarding the enforcement of a purchase agreement for a transmission line. The team is also well placed to advise Chilean investors on claims before ICSID.
Sources say: "I like their way of working - they are close to their clients, provide a timely service and deploy a good balance of senior and junior lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head José Ignacio Jiménez was recently made partner and is an "experienced, diligent and responsive lawyer," according to clients.
Roberto Guerrero Sr is in high demand as a specialist arbitrator and heads the firm's domestic and international commercial arbitration group.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution team at this specialist projects boutique is highly experienced in tackling related contentious matters, particularly conflicts stemming from the energy and infrastructure sectors. The team also has a niche in insurance disputes, and is currently advising Spanish insurance company Mapfre in arbitration proceedings with Chilean holding group Transoceánica relating to delays in the construction of the Hanga Roa Hotel on Easter Island.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Carlos Molina is the relevant contact at the firm for dispute resolution.
THE FIRM This renowned corporate firm enters the rankings this year due to the substantial growth of its disputes practice following the hiring of the litigation department from Urenda, Rencoret, Orrego y Dörr in June 2013. The team routinely represents clients in litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution proceedings, and is particularly active in the areas of construction, post-M&A conflicts, real estate and insurance. Clients in this area include Santander, GlaxoSmithKline and Constructora Ingevec, and the team recently represented The Associated Press in a civil liability and copyright case filed by journalist Federico Quilodrán.
Sources say: "This is a great firm with very capable lawyers who provide personalised attention and high partner involvement."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jorge Vial is a recent addition to the team and is recommended by clients for his personalised service and fast response time.
Gonzalo Cordero focuses his practice on domestic and international arbitration and civil litigation matters, and stands out for his "high level of knowledge and great efficiency," according to clients.
THE FIRM This established corporate player has a growing practice in dispute resolution and regularly assists clients with civil and commercial litigation and arbitration. The team has a special focus on labour, insurance and construction claims for regular clients such as Finning, GrupoFalabella and RSA Seguros, and has recently won important new clients, including Chartis, Centro Veterinario y Agrícola Limitada and JPMorgan.
Sources say: "The firm constantly sends us updates on the legislation and our case, and we feel their service is excellent value for money."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Ramón Dominguez Hidalgo earns strong praise for his client service: "He is well prepared to find solutions to any problems we face, always within good time and with high-quality responses."
THE FIRM Since publication, Julio Pellegrini has founded his own firm alongside several associates from his former practice, Pellegrini & Urrutia (now Urrutia & Bustamante). The new firm will maintain a specialist focus on disputes and competition matters.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Julio Pellegrini Vial stands out for his "legal knowledge, technical know-how and extensive experience in litigation," according to sources.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution group at this full-service firm enters the ranking this year following stellar reviews for its work in this area. The team regularly handles commercial litigation and arbitration in the energy, construction and retail sectors, and its client roster includes Aguas Andinas, Mall Plaza and SMU. It is currently serving as counsel to E.CL regarding arbitration proceedings against Codelco in connection with a disputed power supply contract.
Sources say: "The strong internal co-ordination of the team makes us confident that we will receive a high-quality service within the required timeframe."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of practice Fernando Samaniego is particularly valued by clients for his combined dispute resolution, corporate and competition expertise, which they say "enables him to give highly practical advice from multiple perspectives."
Recent partner Alberto González is consistently singled out by sources for his "simple solutions to complex cases."
THE FIRM This specialist construction boutique has visible activity in domestic and international disputes stemming from the projects arena, and is well equipped to handle conflicts of both a commercial and an administrative nature. The team regularly assists clients with litigation, arbitration and mediation across the infrastructure, concessions, mining and construction sectors, and is currently representing Spanish construction company OHL in a dispute with the Republic of Chile. The firm is also acting as counsel to local company Besalco in an ICC arbitration.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department heads Alfonso Reymond Larraín and Hernán Fleischmann Chadwick are leading ongoing disputes on behalf of regular clients OHL and Besalco. Both are recognised by sources for their expertise in construction-related conflicts.
THE FIRM This disputes practice provides considerable support to the firm's regular corporate clients, as well as those seeking ad hoc contentious advice. The group handles civil and commercial litigation alongside domestic and cross-border arbitration. Sectors of focus include banking, energy, mining and construction, and the team has tackled a number of consumer law cases of late. In a recent highlight, the firm represented bank holding company GMAC in an arbitration with car dealer Davis Autos regarding a dispute over the ownership of cars received by the dealer under a consignment agreement.
Sources say: "The firm's dispute resolution practice not only brings lawsuits to a swift resolution, but also highlights potential business and operational deficiencies."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan Carlos Dörr is a founding partner of the firm and is greatly respected for his work as an arbitrator through CAM, the arbitration and mediation centre of Chile's chamber of commerce. He is currently representing Larraín Vial in the highly publicised court proceedings concerning La Polar.
THE FIRM Sources are full of praise for this dispute resolution and antitrust-dedicated boutique. The team focuses on commercial, business and antitrust litigation and arbitration for both domestic and international clients.
Sources say: "The team was quick and responsive, and provided very good follow up - excellent value for money!"
KEY INDIVIDUALS Enrique Urrutia Pérez is praised by clients for his "expertise, efficiency and objectivity."
Since publication, Julio Pellegrini Vial has joined Pellegrini & Cía. The market is still waiting to assess the full impact of his departure.
White-collar crime expert Juan Domingo Acosta of Acosta & Cia. frequently defends clients in criminal cases. He has recently been instructed to represent former Chilean minister of justice Teodoro Ribera in possible criminal proceedings concerning charges of bribery and money laundering.
Since publication, Pedro Aguila has left Concha, Águila y Cruz to found AGUILA | ABOGADOS. Aguila is a highly experienced and respected litigator who specialises in antitrust matters.
Since publication, Guillermo Arthur left CorreaGubbins to join Alliende Villarroel Contreras y Eguiguren | Lecaros y Aste as partner. Sources consider him to be a promising young lawyer who demonstrates an "excellent understanding of the client's position."
Marco Salgado of Bahamondez, Álvarez & Zegers is described as "wonderfully commercial" by clients, who value his ability to "cut right through to the issues."
Carlos Balbontín Gubbins of Balbontín, Linazasoro y Cia has earned a strong reputation as a white-collar crime litigator with over four decades of activity. Sources say he is "experienced, detail-oriented and very persuasive."
Juan Ignacio Piña Rochefort of Balmaceda, Cox y Piña Abogados is dedicated to white-collar crime matters and is recognised for his high level of activity in the area as both a litigant and an academic.
Enrique Barros of Barros Letelier y González is a celebrated arbitrator in CAM and currently serves as the presiding arbitrator at ICSID.
White-collar crime expert Jorge Bofill is also known for his strong practice in civil litigation and recently co-founded specialist disputes boutique Bofill Escobar Abogados. He is widely considered to be a point of reference in criminal law and served as the lead partner in the defence of the ex-CEO of La Polar.
Sources laud white-collar crime expert Miguel Chaves of Chaves Awad Contreras Schürman as an "aggressive and technical criminal lawyer."
On the arbitration side, Vasco Costa of Costa, Hrdalo, Undurraga y Ureta is a member of CAM who frequently handles arbitrations in connection with energy and water issues.
Veteran arbitrator Claudio Illanes of Figueroa Illanes, Huidobro, Salamanca Abogados routinely serves at CAM and is highly active on the academic circuit in Chile and abroad.
Clients describe Eduardo Marchi of Grasty Quintana Majlis & Cía (GQMC) as a solution-oriented lawyer who excels in both arbitration and litigation.
Juan Pablo Hermosilla Osorio of Hermosilla y Compañía is a well-respected white-collar crime lawyer and is leading the case against Chile's former securities and insurance commission head Daniel Yarur Elsaca for alleged misappropriation of funds as the administrator of Jorge Yarur's estate.
Sources consider sole practitioner Carlos Cortés to be an important name in Chile for white-collar crime. He recently represented Mitsubishi in criminal elements of the major legal battle between Anglo American and Chilean miner Codelco concerning an option to purchase Anglo American's flagship mine, Los Bronces.
Álvaro Ortúzar of Ortúzar, Vergara & Boetsch Abogados is a renowned figure in dispute resolution in Chile. He focuses his litigation practice on civil, commercial and antitrust law in addition to serving as an arbitrator and mediator.
Esteban Ovalle of Ovalle Ugarte Letelier Abogados is a litigator with more than 20 years' experience in disputes, and is recommended by clients for his "focus, dedication and brilliant strategy."
Celebrated arbitrator Ricardo Peralta Valenzuela frequently appears before the Chilean Supreme Court. He has an active practice as an arbitrator and is a partner at Peralta, Gutiérrez & Asociados.
Rafael Gómez Balmaceda of RGB y Cía is a highly respected arbitrator and a professor of commercial and maritime law.
Criminal law specialist Ciro Colombara of Rivadeneira Colombara y Zegers is highly recommended for his scholarly approach to white-collar crime. He focuses his practice on economic crimes as well as public and constitutional matters.
Sole practitioner Sergio Urrejola Monckeberg is the current president of the Chilean Council for the Defence of State and continues to serve as the vice-president of CAM.
Sole practitioner Francisco Orrego Vicuña is a well-known international arbitrator who is particularly experienced in commercial, environmental and international trade matters. He has been a member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration since 2007.
Sole practitioner Víctor Vial del Río is considered by sources to be one of the top arbitrators in Chile and has authored a number of publications on the Chilean civil code.
Arturo Yrarrázaval of Yrarrázaval, Ruiz-Tagle, Goldenberg, Lagos & Silva is an arbitrator at the ICC and inspires confidence with his long-standing expertise, according to sources.