Madrid-based Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Bogota-based Posse Herrera Ruiz have formed an alliance. The companies are forming a joint venture under the name Posse Herrera Ruiz + Cuatrecasas, though the firms will remain independent law firms. As part of this process, partner Alfonso Reina and senior associate Carlos Lasarte, both from Cuatrecasas, will work in PHR’s Bogota office, in a designated area. Reina focuses his practice on M&A and Lasarte on banking and finance.

The legal services that the joint venture will provide will focus on banking and finance, M&A, corporate, international arbitration, tax, energy and infrastructure. “[The joint venture] is aimed at developing a new market, we are sharing information, knowledge, experience and technology,” Jaime Herrera founding partner at PHR said.

Herrera explained that the two firms had “best-friends” relationship for more than 15 years. “During the last six years, this relationship grew stronger, and we got to know each other very well. Final discussions on different alternatives and particularly to form the joint venture, started a year ago.”

Due to increasing globalisation, many global firms are looking to gain a footprint in Latin America, and many local firms are looking to have some sort of global outreach. This is particularly clear in Colombia. For example, in September 2014, Colombian firm Prietocarrizosa announced a merger with Chilean firm Philippi and formed an association with Iberian firm, Uría Menéndez. In late 2015, global firm Dentons merged with local firm Cárdenas & Cárdenas. Global firms Garrigues and Baker & McKenzie remain active players in the market.

When asked about potential conflicts of interests, Herrera explained how the firms had prepared to deal with issues that could arise. “We are independent law firms, and our clients are our clients, and their clients are their clients. However, we have agreed to abide by each other’s ethic and conflict of interest rules.”

Herrera said that in order to manage conflicts of interest, there will be a special committee. The firms have exchanged key client information and know each other’s main clients.