ECIJA expands Latin America footprint through combination with Argentina's ELZEN

Deal is firm's fifth in the region since the start of last year, with Spanish firm eying further transactions

Spanish law firm ECIJA has expanded its Latin America coverage after joining forces with Argentinian firm ELZEN, adding to its flurry of recent M&A transactions in the region.

The ELZEN deal takes the firm’s Latin American presence to 13 countries, adding a team of 37 including seven new partners. The ECIJA Argentina team will be led by ELZEN's founding partners Cristian Elbert, Octavio Zenarruza, Santiago Viglierchio, and Federico Villarino and also includes partners Ángeles Bernachea, Diego Martinotti and Cecilia Amieva.

Alejandro Touriño, managing partner of ECIJA, said: “Our eyes are on Latin America. Argentina has been on our roadmap for some time and we feel that this is now, hand in hand with ELZEN, our opportunity to enter a key market for our clients and to focus together on a future landing in Uruguay.”

Touriño said the deal is the first it has struck entirely virtually given restrictions on international travel. He added: “The pandemic has not slowed down our growth vocation and, far from that, it invites us to reinvent ourselves in our way of growing and improving.”

The firm’s Buenos Aires office will advise local and international clients doing business in Argentina on M&A, corporate law, labour law, litigation, finance, startup and venture capital and technology law, among others.

Elbert, managing partner of ECIJA Argentina, said: “Both firms share not only business vision and excellence in client service, but we also have common values and principles, such as commitment to diversity, meritocracy in our structures and a polycentric spirit.”

The Argentina follows deals in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Guatemala last year. In November, it took on Guatemalan firm INTEGRUM, adding to its existing presence in the Central American country. That followed two deals in June when it combined with Brazilian firm CTA and Ecuadorian firm GP&A. In January last year it also added Mexican firm Chacón & Rodríguez to its network. It also has offices in Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Puerto Rico.

Touriño added: “We are aware that there are still relevant markets to be covered and therefore in 2021 we expect to announce new movements of the firm in the American market.”

ECIJA's rapid expansion across the LatAm region is matched – and exceeded – by global giant Dentons, which combined with Argentina's Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena last May, adding a key jurisdiction to the global giant’s 24-office regional network across Latin America and the Caribbean, the largest of any law firm.

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