/ Alessandri: Recommended firm in Latin Lawyer 250 20147 March, 2014
IP leader with corporate offer
Established: 1893 Partners: 6 Total lawyers: 35
One of the oldest firms in this chapter, Alessandri is without doubt a leading name in IP, having established a remarkable deep bench over the years. The firm has shown its agility in what is a rapidly changing practice, and is credited with having significant muscle in the ever-evolving digital world. It also achieves landmark victories for clients year after year. That’s not the whole story, though. While IP may be what this firm is best known for, Alessandri also has solid corporate and finance offers that are growing in visibility, as well as offering energy and tax consulting arms which it recently incorporated under the Alessandri umbrella as part of a wider rebrand. With a good balance between the firm’s seasoned practitioners and a group of talented and internationally minded young lawyers in its ranks, Alessandri has done much to ensure it will continue to provide a high quality of service for many years to come.
Alessandri has a top-tier IP team which is the first port of call for companies in need of complex advice in the area. Renowned practitioners Rodrigo Velasco S and Rodrigo Velasco A are responsible for some of the most important IP victories in the country’s recent history. Velasco S has the highest profile internationally through his membership of the administrative panel of arbitrators and mediators of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Recently, he has helped an international clothing brand in its investigations into and destruction of counterfeited products, and acted for social media platform Twitter in three independent opposition proceedings against trademark applications with the words “twitter” and “tweet” in them. Velasco S is the International Chamber of Commerce’s regional ambassador for IP in Chile. Velasco A, meanwhile, sees considerable success in the local courts and in securing reparations for clients whose products have been counterfeited. A famous Chilean singer and Grammy nominee turned to him for the negotiation of copy, publicity and image rights for TV appearances with a national broadcaster. One client thinks Velasco A is on “the cutting edge” of IP rights in the digital world, while another says he and his team “always act promptly and efficiently, considering all possible ways and alternatives for value-added solutions”. One US lawyer who has worked with the team says, “They are good lawyers, good people, good communicators, smart, energised, effective and a pleasure to work with.” Both Velasco A and Velasco B help clients with their internet IP rights and related litigation. The firm also helped US cable company HBO win a rare judgment recognising Sex and the City as a famous and notorious trademark beyond any class. The IP team is further reinforced by Arturo Alessandri (now of counsel at the firm), who is recognised for his patents work. There is also a group of technicians.
CORPORATE AND M&A
A key deal in 2013 for the corporate practice saw Fernando Jamarne advise Starbucks in entrusting the expansion of its operations in Argentina and Chile to Mexican operator Alsea. Over the years, the firm has used its reputation in IP to build its corporate and antitrust offer, and working on a deal of such magnitude indicates the firm’s profile is gaining further recognition in this area. Jamarne bridges the corporate and IP practice areas, while Arturo Alessandri, a highly regarded member of the Chilean legal community, adds further muscle to the area, and also acts in arbitration matters. Felipe Cousiño has also done much to build the firm’s competition capabilities.
BANKING & FINANCE
LSE-educated Felipe Cousiño, a specialist in financial markets regulation, is charged with building the firm’s visibility in banking and finance work, which sees him focus on capital markets, investment work and mutual funds. He is a well-regarded member of the Chilean legal community, while a US investment client calls him “one of the best international lawyers I have worked with. He provides comprehensive advice on matters and understands the commercial aspects of our business – I hold him in the highest regard.” The team is fortified by the presence of a lawyer who was formerly working at the Chilean securities regulator.
SPORT & ENTERTAINMENT
Rodrigo Velasco A’s IP practice extends to sports and entertainment law, which he practices alongside corporate partner Fernando Jamarne. Velasco A has previously helped a film about the run up to Pinochet’s dictatorship receive copyright clearance, while Jamarne helped a production company obtain financing.
For IP matters Alessandri has a large group of pharmaceutical and personal care businesses on the books, including L’Oréal and Pfizer. Other big brands the firm advises are Mars, Starbucks, Warner Bros and PepsiCo. Global clothing brand Lacoste has turned to the firm for over 20 years and says: “They have been very professional and all our files have been handled with care all these years – the firm is certainly one of the best in Chile in the field of IP.” Other loyal clients include the Chilean Wine Producers Association, which has made the firm its permanent counsel. On the corporate side, GM Financial has been a high-profile transactional client; Dorel uses the firm, while Caterpillar turns to Felipe Cousiño for its business in Chile. The firm also has also advised major banks such as JP Morgan Chase and BBVA. One US corporate client says: “We have found their lawyers to be knowledgeable, diligent, business savvy and very responsive. Their oral and written English is impressive, and we have received top-notch service and support”. Similarly, a New York lawyer who has collaborated with the firm says: “The different attorneys with whom I have worked are professional, responsive and deeply knowledgeable.” Two lawyers come recommended in LACCA Approved, research conducted by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, Latin Lawyer’s sister association.
ALLIANCES & NETWORKS
Alessandri is a member the American Law Firm Association (ALFA), an organisation of independent law firms. It is also noted for assisting clients with other professional services via tax consultancy Alessandri & Hedge, and environmental consultancy Alessandri & Hedge Ambiental.
Alessandri is recognised by Latin Lawyer as a leading light in pro bono and offering free legal services to the country’s underprivileged is high on the firm’s agenda. Rodrigo Velasco A is on the board of Chile’s pro bono clearinghouse, the Fundación Pro Bono and associate Felipe Schuster was part of a group of lawyers recognised for their work establishing regulations for a new copyright law in the Fundación Pro Bono’s 2012 awards. Fernando Jamarne meanwhile serves as vice president of the Chilean athletic foundation, through which he has enlisted the firm in sports pro bono projects, including assistance with the Santiago marathon. The firm has also provided pro bono trademark advice to Teach for America, an educational charity that helps underprivileged children. LL