Alternative legal service provider UnitedLex is opening an office in Buenos Aires in a bid to better serve its global client base, many of whom have operations in Latin America.
The office in Argentina, a country that has struggled under a series of profound economic crises in recent decades, will be the company’s third in the region. UnitedLex employs 40 people, combined, at offices in Mexico City and São Paulo.
Initially, the Buenos Aires office will house regional UnitedLex executives and a team of contract management and automation professionals. The company anticipates that head count in Argentina will grow to 150 professionals in 2023.
Martin Mengelle, UnitedLex’s vice president for Latin America, has relocated to Buenos Aires to oversee the operation. Mengelle’s career began in Buenos Aires as a senior lawyer at Argentine law firm Brons & Salas after he obtained a law degree from Universidad Católica Argentina, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“The Buenos Aires office is a critical milestone as we expand into new markets that matter most to our global client base,” Mengelle said in a statement. “The investment in Argentina connects UnitedLex to a rich and diverse community of legal talent at a time when most organizations are facing both inflationary and employee retention challenges.”
Though the South American country boasts a highly educated population, labor obligations in Argentina can make it very costly for companies that decide to set up shop there. Severance payments, notably, outpace the norms in many other countries.
Mason Argiropoulos, chief human resources officer for UnitedLex, told Law.com International that the firm has carefully studied the pros and cons of the opening.
“While there is some risk of entering Buenos Aires, it is outweighed by the quality and availability of legal talent in the market vital to our business and the value we deliver to our clients,” Argiropoulos said via email. “Buenos Aires is a diverse city with a rich talent pool with highly educated workers who are fluent in multiple languages.”
In particular, UnitedLex expects that the Argentine outpost will add staff with advanced levels of legal and technical expertise in key industries such as financial services, information technology and pharmaceuticals.
Argentina is struggling amid political turmoil and decades-high inflation that’s currently running above 70%. The value of the Argentine peso, which is tracked on the black market against the U.S. dollar, also recently hit an all-time low.
“Like many other global companies that operate in Argentina, we have taken steps to minimize the impact of the country’s economic situation as we plan to grow to further tap into the great talent market,” Argiropoulos said, adding that the office will complement the company’s existing Latin American operations in Mexico and Brazil.
UnitedLex’s footprint spans 25 jurisdictions with major operation centers in 19 countries and a team of more than 3,000 legal, data and technology professionals around the world. The company provides data and insights aimed at risk mitigation and cost reduction for law firms.