Senior attorneys José Antonio Cuadra (37), from the corporate practice area, and Patricio Rámila (34), from the litigation and arbitration practice area, were promoted to partners as of March 1, 2023. This milestone marks the beginning of a year of celebration of 130 years of the firm, one of the oldest in Chile.
In a global scenario of high uncertainty, marked in recent years by the pandemic of Covid-19 and the processes of reform of the Constitution in Chile, the role of the new partners has been material to advise clients to adapt to new scenarios and provide legal solutions for proper business decision making.
“The incorporation of José Antonio Cuadra reinforces the commitment of efficiency, responsibility and dynamism in the support of the requirements of our foreign clients in their direct investment projects or through the acquisition of participation in Chilean companies. His solid knowledge in banking and financial regulation matters gives us the confidence to advise commercial banks and multilateral credit institutions”, explains Fernando Jamarne, partner of the Corporate area at Alessandri.
According to Raúl Montero, partner of the litigation and arbitration area at Alessandri, “the great growth of the issues associated with disputes resolution demands trained, qualified and experienced professionals. Patricio Rámila has taken on different challenges within the team, in complex matters, demonstrating a great capacity for resolution. We are proud that professionals who have made a career within our firm will ascend and assume responsibilities as partners, accompanying us in the challenges of a consolidated area and, at the same time, of enormous projection.”
Who are the new partners at Alessandri
José Antonio Cuadra is a lawyer from Universidad de Los Andes and obtained a Master of Business Law degree at the University of Sydney, Australia. He has more than 10 years of professional experience advising domestic and foreign companies, focusing on foreign investment, M&A, corporate finance with financial institutions and multilateral entities. He began his career as a junior associate of the corporate area at Villarroel, Lecaros, Aste y Baraona. He completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and collaborated in due diligence processes with the prestigious international law firm Allens-Linklaters LLP. Upon returning to Chile, he joined Alessandri as a senior associate in the corporate area, where he has led teams in M&A processes in areas such as energy, insurance, aviation, technology, telecommunications, aquaculture, hygiene and others. He has also advised multilateral entities, such as IDB Invest and IFC, in the structuring and granting of corporate loans to domestic entities. He is a member of the Chilean Bar Association, International Bar Association (IBA) and Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA).
Patricio Rámila is a lawyer from Universidad de Los Andes and is currently completing a Master in International Law (L.L.M.) studies on Arbitration, Trade and Investment at Universidad de Chile, in conjunction with the University of Heidelberg. He joined Alessandri in 2011 as a litigation and arbitration attorney. He has focused his professional practice in national and international arbitrations before ad-hoc arbitrators or under the rules of institutions such as CAM Santiago or the ICC, as well as in highly complex civil and commercial litigation. He has represented clients such as Imagina and Otis in arbitrations proceedings related to the construction industry. He has also advised clients such as General Motors, Johnson & Johnson or Megavisión in civil and arbitration disputes of various natures. He is currently a member of the executive committee of the Santiago Very Young Arbitration Practitioners. He is a professor of “Civil Forensic Practice” at the Universidad de Los Andes Law School. He has been featured in Best Lawyers, Arbitration and Mediation and in Benchmark Litigation, as a Future Star.
Legal Activity in 2023: Prospects for the Investment and M&A Practice Area
According to data updated by the Major Projects office of the Ministry of Economy, which considers information from companies that have initiatives over US$100 million that are in the processing or construction stage, there will be a record in projected investments for the next five years with US$85.4 billion.
“Despite the political complications of recent years, Chile continues to be a very interesting destination for investors. To the above, we must consider that during the year 2022 the flow of foreign investment had an increase of 12%”, explains José Antonio Cuadra.
In relation to the M&A market, according to Bain & Company’s 2023 global report, during 2023 there will be an increase in this type of operations, since they are part of a central strategy for growth and profitability of different companies, in addition to the fact that there is a greater availability of attractive assets available worldwide. “The study analyzed the M&A activity of 2,845 companies during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, concluding that companies that participated in mergers and acquisitions performed better than those that did not, in terms of shareholder returns”, says Alessandri’s new corporate partner.
“We are confident that the M&A market will relax as the year progresses and will be more intense than in 2022. We see great opportunities due to the need for companies to reorganize their businesses opening the door to divest attractive assets”, explains José Antonio. “At the same time, there will be opportunities for companies with liquidity that want to make strategic moves.”
Legal Activity in 2023: Prospects for the Litigation and Arbitration Practice Area
According to Patricio Rámila, new partner in the litigation and arbitration area, three are the area’s challenges for this year.
Consolidation and increase in arbitration disputes.
In 2022 there was a great increase of disputes in Chile, among other reasons, due to some legal changes and also due to the debate regarding the drafting of a new Constitution. This has been reflected, for example, in the number of requests received by CAM Santiago, with the areas of construction and infrastructure showing the largest increases in this type of dispute. In 2022, CAM Santiago received more than 400 arbitration requests, which represents an increase over 2021.
Technology in arbitration and legal proceedings.
A balance has been achieved between activities with personal assistance and virtual ones, the latter experience being particularly developed during the pandemic years, which has been a benefit for this specialty. A practice has been consolidated that has made arbitration more efficient, which consists of face-to-face hearings for situations where presence is very important, such as witness statements or answering interrogatories, while the telematic system is used in hearings and formal procedures, which has greatly alleviated the day-to-day management.
Investment and Arbitration.
Investment arbitration will be strongly positioned for the year 2023 in Chile, as a result of the new constitutional debate in the country and the level of confidence that investors have in this process, which, if uncertainties are generated, could increase the number of arbitration proceedings. The new constitutional process will have to be carefully followed, since some of its proposals could have consequences on the existing dispute resolution mechanisms. Let us recall that the proposal that was rejected in September 2022 established that arbitral justice would always be voluntary, eliminating forced arbitration from the legal system, which evidently would have had an impact.