Legal insights for Latin America from 2024 Latinvex Top 100 lawyers Juan Francisco Torres-Landa and Emil Arca

Latin America Practice Head Juan Francisco Torres-Landa and Capital Markets partner Emil Arca share their insider view on career development and market-shaping deals in Latin America in the Q&A below. The leading duo was recognized in the 12th annual Latinvex Top 100 lawyers in Latin America list. Learn more about this recognition in our press release.

What motivates you in your role as a partner in Hogan Lovells' Latin America Practice Group?

Juan Francisco: My greatest motivation is seeing how our teams work together in various jurisdictions to maximize quality and responsiveness to clients. The success of our clients is our greatest pride.

Emil: Three things come to mind: (1) all our lawyers want to successfully serve clients and grow a practice that supports other lawyers, and both are easier to do doing something you enjoy, as is the case for me in this practice; (2) there is enormous personal satisfaction in seeing, often first-hand, the developmental impact of our work in emerging market countries; and (3) without overly generalizing, in this region relationships with clients and other lawyers can be longer lasting and more personal once you become a trusted legal advisor than in some other cultural environments.

Which significant deals have shaped your career and what impact have they had on the legal market?

Juan Francisco: In 40 years I have seen many projects with great impact. Whether it is M&A transactions, shareholder disputes, Joint Ventures, or infrastructure projects, the greatest pride comes from seeing deals that have a positive social impact. Nothing like seeing positive developments in challenged areas where investments take place.

Emil: It is very difficult to pick only a few, but forced to name a couple: On the same day in August 2001, representing what was then Merrill Lynch, closings for two deals for Brazilian banks: (1) for Banco do Brasil*, a securitization of remittances from its Japanese branches, which was the first financial future flow deal from Brazil, soon followed by similar deals for a variety of banks in other asset classes; and (2) for Banco Itau*, a subordinated debt offering that was the first Tier II capital debt deal internationally offered by a Brazilian bank (again, soon followed by comparable deals by other banks).

What advice would you give legal professionals looking to establish a strong presence in the Latin American market?

Emil: There are so many ways different lawyers do this, it would be impossible to catalog them all, and therefore I can only speak to my experience: I have approached it from a “product” angle, which involves two techniques for creating value: (1) finding “ideas that will travel,” i.e., capital markets or other finance products we have developed in other emerging or developed markets that can be introduced into Latin America and (2) developing products that are specific to the needs of emerging markets environments, for example, mitigation of sovereign risk.

Juan Francisco: The most important aspect is to be perseverant. Doing business in Latin America requires tenacity to overcome obstacles presented by awkward legislation, inconsistent rulings, and changing rules. Successful legal advisors is for attorneys that are always ready to advocate for the right reasons and not be defeated in the short run.

* Experience gained prior to joining Hogan Lovells

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