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2017: Leading Firms

We list 124 law firms in WWL: Central America 2017; however, more than 40 per cent of the listings this year are earned by lawyers from 10 outstanding regional firms, illustrating the dominant position of domestic outfits in the market. We have profiled the leading firms below, showcasing the strengths of their practice and the expertise of their practitioners.

Aguilar Castillo Love

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 6
Competition 1
Corporate 3
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 1
Franchise & Distribution Law 1
Natural Resources 1

AGUILAR CASTILLO LOVE is a highly regarded regional player with offices in Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Despite smaller numbers than many of their regional competitors, the firm’s network stands on strong, well-established foundations and a reputation for conducting cross-border work successfully and efficiently. The firm’s lawyers excel in our administrative and public law chapter and also emerge as highly rated in the corporate section.

The firm has recently acted in a number of significant corporate transactions, including representing telecoms, oil and gas and financial multinationals in global acquisitions.
Notable administrative and public law specialists include John Aguilar-Quesada and Esteban Agüero Guier out of the firm’s San José office, as well as Thelma Cecilia Carrión-Blandón in Managua.


Alemán Cordero Galindo & Lee

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Corporate 4
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 3
Franchise & Distribution Law 1
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Natural Resources 1
Private Client 2
Real Estate & Construction 1
Transport 1

Leading Panamanian law firm ALEMÁN CORDERO GALINDO & LEE achieves an impressive 16 listings in our research this year across nine practice areas, showcasing the depth and breadth of its expertise. The firm is particularly adept in handling corporate and finance matters, delivering first-rate advice to public entities, private corporations and major financial institutions. The firm’s dispute resolution and private client offerings also perform well, with the latter supported by its strong offshore presence.  

Top practitioners at the firm include Anibal Galindo who achieves three listings across our corporate, real estate and construction and private client chapters. Alongside him, Eloy Alfaro stands out as one of the most highly regarded finance lawyers in our research this year, while private client specialist Raul Zúñiga Brid is considered a leading name in the field. 


Arias

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 6
Competition 5
Corporate 9
Corporate Tax 3
Dispute Resolution 3
Finance 9
Intellectual Property 1
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Natural Resources 3
Real Estate & Construction 1
Transport 3

Newly formed regional powerhouse ARIAS is a dominant presence in our research achieving an impressive 44 listings across six Central American jurisdictions. Unlike many other regional outfits with a similar footprint, it functions as a single firm rather than a network, making it a one-stop shop for clients doing business in the area. Arias showcases its stellar corporate and finance offering in our research this year, achieving nine nominations in both chapters. Practitioners advise multinational and major corporate entities on the whole gamut of related matters, from restructuring, regulatory matters and financings to agreements and corporate governance issues. The firm’s administrative and public law group also excels handling matters of litigation, procedural law and contracts. Furthermore, our research illustrates the firm’s excellence when it comes to antitrust law, as five of its leading practitioners are highlighted this year.

Several lawyers stand out for the exceptional quality of their practices, including Ana Teresa Rizo who achieves a sensational quadruple listing across the edition, demonstrating her strong corporate, finance and public law expertise. Zygmunt Brett and Bertha Argüello are also noted for their excellent work. 


Arias Fábrega & Fábrega

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Corporate 4
Corporate Tax 2
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 3
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Natural Resources 1
Private Client 1
Real Estate & Construction 1
Transport 2

Full-service Panamanian outfit ARIAS FÁBREGA & FÁBREGA lists 17 lawyers demonstrating expertise across nine practice areas, with particular emphasis on corporate and finance law. This makes it the second most represented law firm in Panama in our research. It is one of the country’s oldest law firms, tracing its heritage to 1914, and one of the pre-eminent firms in the region. Its clients include leading regional and multinational banks including Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Banco General and Banco Safra.

In the corporate and finance space, Ricardo Arango stands out for his expertise and is also director and secretary of the Panama Stock Exchange. Estif Aparicio, a former chief trade negotiator of all bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements for the Panamanian government, is recognised in our finance and corporate tax chapters. Roy Durling Jr is listed for his natural resources work, and litigation and arbitration department co-heads Fernando Arias and Octavio Arnat are also recognised.


BLP

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 3
Competition 2
Corporate 9
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 5
Franchise & Distribution Law 1
Intellectual Property 3
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Private Client 1
Real Estate & Construction 3
Transport 2

Regional powerhouse BLP enjoys a great reputation in the market for its work in corporate law, with almost twice as many listings in this chapter than in any of the others. The firm regularly instructs high-profile domestic and multinational clients including publicly held corporations, private companies, shareholders and investors. The team has particular experience handling complex local and cross-border corporate transactions and has been involved in some of the largest deals in the jurisdiction. In addition, five standout lawyers from the firm are recognised for their exceptional work in finance law, and are regularly engaged in acting for many of the major and most influential regional financial institutions.

The firm is home to numerous pre-eminent practitioners including David Gutiérrez who achieves a triple listing this year for his work in corporate, finance and transport law. Ricardo Cevallos also receives recognition across our corporate, dispute resolution and finance chapters. An impressive eight further practitioners receive a double listing in the edition, demonstrating the great breadth of expertise available at the firm.


Consortium Legal

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 5
Corporate 15
Corporate Tax 2
Dispute Resolution 6
Finance 12
Franchise & Distribution Law 3
Intellectual Property 3
Labour, Employment & Immigration 2
Real Estate & Construction 3

Established in 2005 by the integration of five leading regional firms, CONSORTIUM LEGAL is a large and distinguished player in the Central American market. As a full-service firm with offices in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, it is well equipped to serve international investors and corporations in their operations within the region. Our research illustrates the firm’s unparalleled strength in corporate and financial matters with 15 and 12 listings respectively. It leads the market in these practice areas, with more practitioners included than any other firm.

Consortium Legal also demonstrates prowess in administrative and public law, for which it achieves five listings. This includes two of the most highly regarded practitioners in the space: Carlos Andrés Arguedas Vargas and Rolando Laclé Castro, both at the San José office in Costa Rica. Additionally, sources hold Rolando Laclé Zúñiga in high regard for the superb quality of his work in real estate and construction. 


Dentons Muñoz  

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 1
Corporate 3
Corporate Tax 1
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 2
Franchise & Distribution Law 1
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Real Estate & Construction 4

Formed earlier this year out of a merger between Muñoz Global and Dentons, DENTONS MUÑOZ stands out in our research as a firm known for its exceptional expertise particularly when it comes to corporate and finance law. Collectively these practices comprise a third of its total listings, reflecting its substantial capabilities in these areas. The corporate practice offers comprehensive support and advisory services to clients, drawing on strong local expertise and its extensive regional footprint. The firm also excels when it comes to real estate and construction law, boasting the foremost offering in the Costa Rican market. Practitioners act for developers, investors, hospitality companies and other leading real estate companies to offer a wide array of sector-related services.

Several lawyers at the firm enjoy a great reputation in the Central American market including Pedro Muñoz who receives an impressive four listings across the dispute resolution, corporate, franchise and distribution, and real estate and construction chapters. José Antonio Muñoz achieves a triple listing and is recognised for his work in corporate, finance, and real estate and construction. Standout names Daniel Araya and Roy Herrera are also highlighted across three chapters, illustrating the breadth of their expertise.  


Galindo Arias y Lopez

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 1
Corporate 1
Corporate Tax 1
Dispute Resolution 1
Finance 4
Natural Resources 3
Real Estate & Construction 1
Transport 3

Founded in 1968, GALINDO ARIAS Y LOPEZ has built a reputation as one of Panama’s leading full-service law firms, as evidenced by our research this year in which it sees 15 lawyers listed over eight practice areas. The firm’s enviable, and diverse, list of clients includes China Construction America, Copa Airlines, the Panama Canal Authority, Unicorp of America and Polo Ralph Lauren Enterprises.

The firm is known for its expertise in financial matters and for its market-leading regulatory offering. It advises clients some of Panama’s most highly regulated industries including natural resources and transport, where three of its lawyers are listed in both chapters. Cristina Lewis de la Guardia is listed in our finance, natural resources and transport chapters where she advises clients from all industries on commercial and regulatory issues. Salomon Behar is listed for his finance and natural resources practice where he works on project finance, energy industry regulation and corporate law.


Morgan & Morgan

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Competition 2
Corporate 4
Dispute Resolution 2
Finance 3
Intellectual Property 1
Labour, Employment & Immigration 1
Natural Resources 1
Private Client 3
Transport 5

Leading Panama-based full service firm MORGAN & MORGAN boasts an excellent reputation in the Central American region. The firm, founded in 1923, began expanding overseas in the mid-1970s and now boasts offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia, ensuring that the firm’s deep bench of practitioners can assist local and international clients with a range of legal, fiduciary and financial services. The firm’s lawyers perform particularly well in our transport, corporate, finance and private client sections, achieving listings in a total of nine chapters in this guide, highlighting the breadth of expertise on offer.

The firm is active in a number of significant transactions in the market, with members of the firm’s corporate team recently acting as counsel to DMPTY Inc in its acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares of Sociedad de Alimentos de Primera from Empresa Panameña de Alimentos.

The firm’s top lawyers include Francisco Arias, who is recognised as one of the region’s most highly regarded practitioners in our corporate and finance chapters, and Mercedes Grimaldo who is head of the firm’s labour and immigration and real estate departments.


Pacheco Coto

Listings in WWL: Central America 2017
Administrative & Public Law 1
Corporate 4
Corporate Tax 3
Finance 2
Real Estate & Construction 1

Full-service international law firm PACHECO COTO boasts an impressive reputation in the Central American market, as illustrated by its extensive client base of major multinational players and its coveted involvement in numerous high-stakes transactions. The impeccable quality of service offered is reflected by the 11 listings the firm achieves in this year’s research, nine of which stem from its corporate and finance groups.   

Pre-eminent practitioners at the firm include Hernán Pacheco who achieves three listings for his work across corporate tax, finance and corporate law. He stands out as one of the most highly regarded corporate tax experts in our research this year. Minerva Bellorin from the Managua office also receives recognition for her work in the corporate sphere. 

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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