Ogier’s former Uruguay chief sets up boutique firm

The former head of Ogier’s Uruguay office has launched his own boutique offshore firm, providing British Virgin Island (BVI) and Cayman Island advice from Montevideo.

Martin Litwak launched Litwak & Partners earlier this month after splitting away from Uruguayan firm Ferrere, where he was director of the firm’s investment funds and private wealth division.

Before joining Ferrere in August 2009, Litwak worked for BVI-based WSmiths and launched the firm’s Montevideo office in 2006. WSmiths merged with Ogier in February 2007 and Litwak left the enlarged firm when it pulled out of Uruguay two years later.

Litwak said his focus on private wealth and investment fund work made more sense in a boutique practice than in a full-service domestic firm like Ferrere.

“The idea was to create a boutique law firm with a limited number of lawyers, working with a limited number of clients,” Litwak told The Lawyer.

The firm will offer advice on corporate finance and capital markets as well as its core funds and private client work. Litwak said all his clients – mainly fund managers, small banks and corporates, and wealthy families – had come with him from Ferrere, which will no longer do this type of work.

Litwak is currently supported by a paralegal. He said he hoped to grow the firm to around 10 lawyers over the next few years, and was also negotiating an association with a BVI practice.

Many Latin American investors use BVI and Cayman structures as investment vehicles, meaning the continent is increasingly a focus for offshore firms. BVI firm Harneys opened its own office in Uruguay late last year and recently hired a Brazilian for client development work, while Conyers Dill & Pearman also has a small presence in Brazil (28 March 2011).