With great pleasure, we’d like to officially welcome Antonio Leal Holguin to the Adam Smith, Esq. team.

Antonio is a Director of Adam Smith, Esq. based in Bogotá, Colombia.  He’s a lawyer and law firm consultant with prior experience working in the corporate and project development teams for law firms in New York and Bogotá, as in-house counsel, and as a government consultant.  He is also a Team Leader at the global, legal innovation think-tank LawWithoutWalls.  Antonio obtained his law degree, cum laude, from the Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá and a Master of Laws degree from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.  He is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Antonio’s establishing an office of Adam Smith, Esq. in Latin America underscores the global nature of the legal industry and embodies our commitment to serving our clients across all geographies of the world.

Antonio’s first project with Adam Smith, Esq. has been to research and write a report on the Latin America Legal Market.

The purpose of this research is to provide insights into the Latin American legal market, which may inspire idea-driven change in the business of law firms in the region.  It is divided in three sections:  first, an overview of how large Latin American companies hire outside counsel.  Then, a look at what law firm leaders in the region are thinking.  And last, an overview of the Colombian legal market as a vibrant, “open” (as in everyone competes freely) legal market.

We conducted 20 in-depth interviews. (The study included only Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and, thus, excluded Brazil.)

For the first section, we interviewed in-house counsel at large Latin American companies.  In most cases, we interviewed the general counsel (“GC”) and sometimes we interviewed other members of the legal department.  In all instances, respondents had substantial experience in selecting and working with outside counsel.  Target companies included “Multilatinas,” companies whose operations are based in Latin America and are now global players, and American companies operating in the region.

Among the respondent companies are banks, airlines, energy companies, tech companies, and large industrial conglomerates.  For the second section, we interviewed law firm leaders, including several managing partners (“MP”,) from sophisticated law firms in Latin America.  Some of these law firms have been at the center of recent developments in the region.  For the Colombian market section, we interviewed law firm leaders, GCs of large companies, heads of legal divisions of the Big Four and New Law entrepreneurs.  Respondents are located in the main economies of the region:  Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

We conducted all interviews in Spanish and collected data between September and December of 2016.  All respondent quotes are free translations from Spanish by the author.  The sample of respondents does not seek to be representative and, therefore, the report is not statistical in nature.  Rather, the study provides insights on the subjective experience of market leaders in Latin America and ideas for further discussion and research.

Following limited and controlled distribution of the report to participants–which is underway as we speak–we will release it to all readers.  And you know where you’ll find it!

In the meantime, again, welcome, Antonio!


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