We had a warm conversation with Juan Eduardo Palma Jara, lawyer and Senior Partner of Palma Edwards Veszpremy, who detailed to us the most important milestones that the law firm has had in these 200 years of legal tradition, such as that his great-grandfather was a leading actor in the creation of the Republic of Chile.
We also address issues such as humanization in a workplace and the use of technology and automatization today. Finally, he shared his wishes for leading the firm to face the next 200 years.
- Which key factors define the identity of Palma Edwards Veszpremy?
Today we have two fundamental aspects that define us. The first is the importance we give to building human relationships of quality within our team and with clients, and the second is ethics, ethics and ethics. An intangible ethic. For no reason, and I don’t know any violation of ethics occurred in the history of all my ancestors.
In addition, but not less important, as a law firm we have a tremendous devotion to provide excellent service in all our clients’ cases and there will always be a partner in charge. In this sense, I want to emphasize that our 200-year experience is based on a permanent link with the public service, whether as academics, judicial practice, pro bono, among others.
Finally, internally we promote a work climate of absolute excellence; we do not accept any problem that interferes with the good working relationship, the good personal relationship, the mutual respect and appreciation of all members of the firm.
- What do you think has been the contribution of the firm in the history of Chile?
Since the existence of the Republic of Chile, members of our firm have participated in different ways in the process of institutional creation of our country. This is how my great-grandfather, José Gabriel Palma Villanueva, had a leading role since its conception.
He was a member of the Civil Code Review Commission and participated as an teacher. According to Vicente Pérez Rosales, author of “Memories of the Past”, he says that “this man was the one who introduced the study of grammar in Chile”, because before it was thought that children learned spontaneously. He also participated in the foundation of the University of Chile, was Vice Chancellor of the latter and he participated in its organization. He was also Minister at the Supreme Court, among many other roles.
Later, José Gabriel Palma Guzmán participated as an academic at the University of Chile, he was President of the Supreme Court for two periods around 1900 and was also a Deputy.
Later in the 20th century, José Gabriel Palma Rogers stood out as a great professor of Commercial Law; he was the most important author of Commercial Law of the 20th century of our country. He was Superintendent of Banks and Financial Institutions and participated as author of the Bankruptcy Law, among other functions.
As you can see, the path followed by my ancestors goes hand in hand with the history of Chile and this is how the new generations continue and will continue to write history.
- What cases do you remember most and why?
We have participated as Arbitrator in a number of very relevant arbitration trials. We actively participated in the renegotiation of the Chilean external debt at the time of the financial crisis in the 80s, we also represent banks in the renegotiation of debt for the salmon crisis in the years 2000. We participate in the acquisition of Pisco Control by CCU in 2004, in the financing of the Austral Fiber Optic project in 2018 and in the partnership between CCU and Carozzi between 2015-2016.
We acted as lawyers when the Japanese firm Canon decided to settle in Chile. In that case we acquired the representative company and then the international firm was installed in Chile under its own structure and with its own company, which we serve to this day.
- What are the features to maintain and transcend a law firm for 200 years?
The first thing is to have and maintain an impeccable ethic, a sense of the fulfillment of duty and ability to adapt to the changes that are occurring over time. Always have a vision of the future and be worried about flexibility and adaptability in order not to be left behind.
I started working in the 70s and I remember when my dad told me “if I was working the way your grandfather worked, I would not be able to practice today.” I remember those words he told me when I was very young. Under that assumption, we are aware and clear that we hope to continue for 200 more years, always maintaining a capacity and flexibility to adapt to new changes, new institutions, influences, ways of working and legislation, cooperating in the creation of customs and be pioneers in this evolution.
- How did you take the decision to merge the Palma law firm with EDN Abogados, Veszpremy Abogados and Paredes y Asociados to finally become Palma Edwards Veszpremy?
We managed to capture some people of excellence who have had an important career in various areas from the point of view of being in house lawyers, who had decided to create their own law firms. On the one hand, Javier Edwards is a lawyer who has a great career as Legal Manager of important companies such as Minera Escondida, BBVA in New York, Finning Chile and others.
María Ester Paredes was the Standardization Manager of BBVA Bank for many years, with which she acquired tremendous experience and outstanding abilities. She has a tremendous knowledge and experience in litigation matters. And Andrés Veszpremy has worked in the AFP area, having been Counsel of one of the most important AFPs in the country for many years.
With all of them, we incorporate people of excellence to our office and they provided us, in some cases like Andrés, areas in which we did not have sufficient expertise, generating a force of first-line lawyers, of great experience, capacity and prestige.
We are very clear that we have to introduce many and major changes if we want to be on the front line in the market in the next 200 years.
Juan Eduardo Palma Cruzat, son of Juan Eduardo Palma Jara, actively participated in the merger made in 2018 and tells us his opinion about it:
“Analyzing the market trends today, we needed to open and show not only that it was a family law firm, but that it was a firm in which many people participated and somehow, generate a change to adapt well to the new challenges that presents the world of legal services”.
- What do you think of the new generations that are joining the firm to work?
Great! We have a team of young people of first category, committed, intelligent, capable, well prepared and that is because we have chosen well.
They give us a different view of looking at things. They give us immense joy and create a team spirit full of strength and cohesion.
It is a pleasure to arrive at the office, meet them and work side by side. They provide a team with soft skills, new ideas and a workplace full of joy, hope and strength.
The youngest son of Juan Eduardo Palma Jara who participates in the firm, Gabriel Palma, complements his response:
We have a team with people of all ages. There are the “old” and the “young” ones. The members of our team go from those with a lot of experience, intermediate and the young people who are starting their careers. I believe that one always has the hope that the good people who arrive and with whom we establish ties stay with us, be part of who we are. We know that reality is different and it is very likely that many want to leave in search of other experiences but we work daily with the intention for them to stay always. We try to make the work environment the closest thing to your home and to feel that this place is your home.
- What are the future guidelines that the firm works on to continue with the legal tradition?
There are several fundamental pillars. The first is to have and use cutting-edge technology in several ways. First – Gabriel notes – is that each member of the firm can access all their mails, data sources and jobs from anywhere in the world and device (computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.).
In relation to our clients, we are always concerned to maintain absolute security of all our information and the duty of confidentiality that we have as lawyers. Prevent that your information may be hacked or that it may come to the knowledge of third parties. We also try to advance in all the technological means that allow us to be more efficient every day in granting our services, looking to the future, investigating all the articles that may come out, talking with the IT experts about the subject, attending the conferences that are in relation to this, in order to always be up to date.
The second pillar is to maintain and develop all our contacts and relationships with organizations and academic education of lawyers abroad, so that we can continue to provide our excellent services everywhere in the world.
A third pillar is our ongoing training in law issues and incorporating not only lawyers into the work teams, but also people who have other disciplines to give an absolutely joint vision of economic or other event that we are working on.
In this sense, Juan Eduardo Palma Cruzat clarifies that “it is essential that as members of the family we know how to share sovereignty with other people, so that the firm is open and that the people who work here do so with us, that they feel part of this office, for them the decision to open up to incorporate new partners and also applies to the way we visualize our associates and administrators. ”
- Regarding the first pillar you mentioned in the previous question, how are you preparing with cases related to technological developments?
Gabriel Palma answers: “Generally, all these issues that are not regulated and that appear in what one does, as a professional, begin to frame it within what exists, as far as possible, and we also begin to see international experiences and how It can be adapted to Chile through rules and after a while, usually with practice, start generating regulations. With everything that is done incipiently, a practice is generated and it can finally become a law”.
- What is the essence of Palma Edwards Veszpremy that you believe will always prevail to ensure success?
Ethics, humanization of the profession and excellence of the services provided.
My son Juan Eduardo is a professor at the Catholic University and the University of Chile, I am an academic at the University of Chile since 1974, Javier Edwards is a professor at the Universidad del Desarrollo, etc. We have a team that is constantly studying, training and adding all the other elements that allow us to provide an excellent service with an impeccable ethic. We practice the profession of lawyers for the most noble purposes of it.
Juan Eduardo Palma Cruzat refers to the internal keys: “Here there is a very humane internal treatment. The people who work with us cannot be a resource, a number. We are a group of human beings that have to worry and support each other in everything. This is what defines the humanization of the work team and its strength, I think it is the essence of why the office is what it is. ”
- What do you expect from the firm for the future?
I hope they continue with the same pillars mentioned above, adapting to the new changes and challenges of our country, society and our customers. We have a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation and the ability and decision to adapt to new challenges.
- How do you see the office in 10 more years?
I see the office led by young people, with flexibility so that the new generations take control and ascend; with a good market share; always strengthening its legal excellence, and keeping it as a firm in which people want to work and stay.
Areas of Practice of PEV
The law firm Palma Edwards Veszpremy has numerous areas of practice. Each partner and associate has its area of expertise, which they have acquired over time in different ways. The first and most important was the merger made in 2018 and the second is the constant specialization of each member. Gabriel Palma says that “in the end one knows the needs of the clients and this forces us to properly internalize ourselves in the areas that are being demanded by them.”