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Local Counsel:

An Imperative for Law Firms Serving International Clients

Building relationships with local counsel in the Caribbean and Latin America is of vital importance for South Florida law firms serving clients with international interests. South Florida Legal Guide will continue to feature leading firms in the region in our Midyear Report.

Pellerano & Herrera, a major law firm in the Dominican Republic recently acted as local counsel in assisting Canada’s Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold producer, in the drafting and approval of its recent special lease agreement for the exploitation of the Pueblo Viejo gold mine, located approximately 100 kilometers northwest of Santo Domingo and the structured financing of US1.035 billion. Barrick has been the largest foreign investor in the history of the country. Additionally, Pellerano has also handled the project’s litigation matters, several claims and lawsuits, so there was no material impact on Barrick’s day-to-day business.

As a full-service law firm, Pellerano has been involved in all sectors of the country’s business sectors at different levels. For example, when a foreign investor enters the Dominican market — whether a greenfield or brownfield project — the firm’s assistance begins from the early stages. From helping the client decide the best corporate vehicle for the purposes of doing business in the Dominican Republic, followed by the firm’s attorneys continued work on the permitting and the structuring of the financing, as well as any other legal-related issues. Once the project begins, the firm assists on the ongoing legal aspects of the business and keeps them updated as to any legal developments that may have an impact on their investment.

Ricardo Pellerano, the firm’s managing partner says, “We are the Lex Mundi member firm for the Dominican Republic. Lex Mundi is the largest network of leading law firms and one of its greatest benefits is to allow its member firms to get in touch with each other and make sure that any referral in their various jurisdictions receives the same high quality legal services that it would obtain in its own jurisdiction.”

Marielle Garrigo, partner in the firm’s International Practice and Foreign Investment Department adds that Pellerano & Herrera is accustomed to working with foreign counsels. “For our clients it is helpful to keep us involved as we are able to put in context legal issues that can be easily appreciated among lawyers, but not necessarily by non-lawyers,” she adds.

Pellerano works frequently with international law firms that engage their services on behalf of their clients, giving them the opportunity to act as joint counsel in a multi-jurisdictional transaction. While most of the transnational work comes from U.S. law firms, the firm’s attorneys have also worked with European, Mexican and Central American firms. Tourism continues to be a stronghold in the Dominican Republic economy, as well as the service industry in general. Infrastructure development and mining have been growing steadily for the past few years and the firm anticipates further growth, thus the potential for more foreign investment and need for local counsel.

As for relationships and business opportunities in Florida, Pellerano comments: “South Florida plays an important role in our firm’s strategic plans as it is one of the centers for Latin American legal practice in the United States in addition to New York and Brazil.”

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