Year: 2022

Winner: Clery Gottlieb

For many Latin American issuers, 2022 was a year to hunker down and prepare for a more
favorable marketplace.
For global law firm Cleary Gottlieb, however, the sharp slowdown in traditional capital
markets issuance among its clients hardly meant less work for the firm. Amid the uncertainty,
says partner Juan Giráldez, clients were busy “exploring alternative ways of doing
Aside from the increased workload from the evolving demands of clients, major regulatory
changes in key capital markets, including the US and Brazil, also meant more onerous
disclosure requirements for issuers, which in turn translated into more work for lawyers. From
that perspective, adds Giráldez, “it was a good and intellectually challenging year.”
Yet despite traditional capital markets transaction volumes having declined, Cleary, which wins
the award for Law Firm of the Year – Latin America, nevertheless advised on a significant
number of landmark transactions during the course of the year – including a several that
picked up Deals of the Year awards.
For example, it advised on Chile’s ground-breaking $2 billion sustainability-linked bond in
March as well as the $364 million blue bonds placed by Belize in a milestone debt restructuring
in November of the prior year – two exemplary cases of creative approaches taken by sovereign
While Giráldez acknowledges that transaction work largely dried up in capital markets last
year, he notes that creativity was nevertheless in full view across a range of liability
management transactions, “some with very interesting features.”
A significant number of issuers, having anticipated an impending downturn, sought to
refinance debt early on in the year, when market conditions still permitted. Giráldez expects the
market to remain challenging in early 2023, with liability management and refinancing setting
the tone until volatility subsides.
“If things go well on the inflation and interest rates fronts, we should start seeing a scenario
like 2021 in the second half of the year,” he says. “We should then start seeing some follow-ons
from big companies, before IPOs start to appear again.” LF