Hot on the heels of its push into Canada in April 2015 – in the form of a merger with local law firm Davis – global firm DLA Piper has announced another dramatic step in its expansion in the Americas. The firm has entered a cooperation agreement with Colombian boutique Martinez Neira Abogados. The combined entities will operate under the rubric of DLA Piper Martinez Neira. In December 2014, Martinez Neira Abogados was part of a cluster of seven law firms across South and Central America that pooled their resources to form a regional entity. This latest agreement adds further bench strength to a global operation with more than 4,200 full-time legal professionals.

DLA Piper operates in Mexico with Gallastegui & Lozano, and has a presence in Venezuela through DLA Interjuris Abogados and Campos Mello Advogados in Brazil.

Roger Meltzer, global co-chair and Americas co-chair of DLA Piper said the agreement “is just the latest step in our plan to continue to expand in Latin and Central America, and also fits extremely well with our existing platform in the market and our practices in Spain, New York, Miami and Canada.” DLA Piper Martinez Neira will specialize in corporate, M&A, banking, antitrust, capital markets, litigation, tax and energy matters.

Meltzer added that Colombia “is a key jurisdiction with particularly attractive opportunities, having experienced an historic economic boom in the last decade with strong prospects for continued growth.” The country continues to be one of the top destination for investors in the region and is Latin America’s fourth largest economy. Colombia is ranked as one of the easiest countries in the world to do business, and the World Bank characterizes Colombia’s ability to handle its finances as among the strongest in the region.

The agreement was spearheaded by José Maria Aznar, former President of the Spanish Government and senior advisor to DLA Piper’s Global Board. The team also met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, other government officials and business leaders. Nestor Camilo Martinez, managing partner of MNA Martinez, will join DLA Piper’s Latin America Committee and “be a critical participant in the development of the firm’s strategy in the region,” according to the firm.