2018: Leading Firms

In this edition we list 136 law firms; however, 10 standout regional outfits achieve more than 40 per cent of the total listings this year, demonstrating the depth of expertise on offer at domestic firms. Here we profile the leading firms across the Central American market.


Total Number of Listings – 48

Leading global commercial firm ARIAS once again emerges as the leading firm in this year’s research, achieving an impressive 48 listings across its six regional offices. Since it was founded in 1942, the firm has grown to accommodate more than 160 lawyers across its seven fully integrated offices in the six major Central American countries.

The firm offers expertise across a wide range of specialisms and sees its members highlighted in 14 practice areas this year. It particularly stands out for its leading administrative and public law practice, receiving more nominations in this chapter than any other firm. Among them are Carlos Ubico, who tops our overall rankings; and Ana Teresa Rizo, who also receives plaudits for her expertise in corporate and finance matters. A number of other practitioners at the firm also achieve multiple recommendations, including Bertha Argüello, who is recognised for her prowess in the fields of banking, insurance, environmental law and corporate matters; and Luis Pedro del Valle, who is highlighted for his experience across four practice areas including competition and data.

Total number of listings: 19

Full-service firm ARIAS FÁBREGA & FÁBREGA is a highly respected outfit in the Panamanian market and commands one of the highest number of listings in the country this year. Its practitioners have expertise in a broad range of fields, illustrated in our research this year where the firm achieve 19 nominations across 10 practice areas. 

The firm particularly excels in the corporate finance space, achieving an impressive four nominations this year in the field of banking, finance and projects. Its corporate practice is equally strong with an additional four individuals highlighted for their outstanding work on behalf of both multinational and domestic clients.

The firm is home to a number of eminent practitioners from the region. Roy Durling is recognised for his work in environment, energy and natural resources, aviation, shipping, and corporate law. LeRoy Watson III features in both our corporate and private client listings while Ricardo Arango wins high praise for his work in banking and finance, and corporate.

Total number of listings: 15

AGUILAR CASTILLO LOVE is widely renowned for providing top-tier services to high-profile clients across the region. With offices in seven countries across the isthmus the firm boasts a strong presence across the region, and this year achieves 14 listings across six practice areas, ranging from corporate law and dispute resolution to intellectual property.

The firm demonstrates its leading reputation in corporate matters with five listings across its offices in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. Members regularly represent multinational and national companies, governments, not-for-profit organisations and financial institutions on the full range of corporate matters, including M&A and competition and dispute resolution, chapters in which the firm also performs well.

Standout names include John Aguilar-Quesada for his corporate expertise particularly in relation to IP matters, and Francisco José Castillo-Love for his leading dispute resolution practice as well as his expertise in franchise and distribution law.

Total number of listings: 20

Full-service Panamanian law firm ALEMÁN CORDERO GALINDO & LEE was established over 30 years ago and stands out as a leading regional outfit with additional offices in offshore destinations around the globe. The firm showcases the breadth of its first-class offering in our research this year achieving 20 nominations across 10 practice areas.

The firm performs well across a number of sectors. Its corporate practice particularly stands out in our research this year with five of its practitioners nominated for their exceptional work in the field. Other areas in which the firm excels include private client work and banking and finance.

Standout practitioners at the firm include Jaime Alemán who wins high praise for his expertise in the banking and finance and corporate spheres, while Anibal Galindo receives plaudits for his excellent work when it comes to private client, real estate and construction, corporate and administrative and public law matters.

Total number of listings: 33

Full-service law firm BLP is a regional powerhouse, with five offices across the isthmus and a strong presence in all countries in which it operates. It demonstrates this with 33 listings across 14 practice areas, spread across all its offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The firm performs particularly well in corporate matters, where it is recognised as a standout name in commercial and business law. It also boasts expertise in M&A and private equity across numerous sectors including real estate and financial services, achieving numerous recommendations across our banking, finance & projects, and real estate chapters. The firm is also well regarded for its dispute resolution capabilities, with a number of seasoned arbitrators and litigators on its team.

Key names include Eduardo Calderón, a leader in corporate and commercial matters in the real estate, private client, and media and technology sectors; and Ricardo Cevallos for his widely respected dispute resolution practice.

Total number of listings: 48

Regional powerhouse CONSORTIUM LEGAL is a major player in the Central American market. From its offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, the firm’s team of 200 professionals  provides expert advice to major corporations and investors operating across the isthmus. The firm’s expertise spans the full gamut of commercial law , demonstrating the breadth and depth of its experience with 48 listings across 10 practice areas.

Consortium Legal performs highly in the banking, finance and projects chapter as well as the corporate chapter, with 14 and 15 listings respectively. It also boasts a strong dispute resolution practice with six practitioners highlighted for their expertise in arbitration and litigation.

Eminent individuals at the firm include David Arturo Campos, a market-leading figure in banking and finance matters in the region. Rolando Laclé Zúñiga excels in corporate law matters, while Carlos Andrés Arguedas Vargas is known as a top name for administrative and public law matters.

Total number of listings: 17

Full service corporate law firm FACIO & CAŃAS is major player in the Costa Rican market and makes a big impact in the wider Central American region. The firm is known for its top-quality legal advice and innovative solutions to major business issues. It prides itself on its client-focused approach and is a go-to destination for major clients in the corporate and financial sectors.

With listings across 10 practice areas, the firm demonstrates its strength across a broad range of business law matters. It achieves a total of 17 listings in this year’s research, making it one of the top-performing law firms in Costa Rica. Facio & Cańas boasts a strong corporate team, which occupies a prominent position at the forefront of the domestic market and is home to five esteemed practitioners.

The firm also has a strong dispute resolution practice. This year’s research has identified both Víctor Garita and Rodrigo Oreamuno of the firm’s San José office as two of the most highly regarded practitioners in this space.

Total number of listings: 14

Full-service Panamanian law firm GALINDO ARIAS Y LÓPEZ is a well-recognised outfit across the region where it boasts a strong reputation for its leading expertise. It illustrates its broad offering this year by achieving 14 listings across eight practice areas.

The firm performs particularly well in our banking, finance and projects chapter, where four of its practitioners are recognised for their outstanding work handling infrastructure financings, corporate deals and transactions. It also demonstrates its strong industry focus in this edition, with lawyers nominated for their work in real estate and construction, energy and aviation law.

Key names at the firm include Ramón Ricardo Arias Porras who is recognised for his strong expertise in aviation; corporate law; and banking, finance and projects. Meanwhile Cristina Lewis de la Guardia stands out for her first-class aviation and finance practice.

Total number of listings: 20

Achieving an impressive 20 listings in this year’s research, LATAMLEX stands out as strong player in the Central American market. With six offices located across the isthmus, the firm is able to offer individuals and businesses a comprehensive legal service across a range of legal practice areas. LatamLex performs particularly well in our private client chapter, achieving more listings than any other firm.

Top practitioners at the firm include Elizabeth Heurtematte Kochman and Isabel Cristina Lopez Serrano who are recognised for their experience handling complex matters for private clients, and Mario Gómez Pacheco who stands out as the leading name in the region for banking and finance. A number of leading lawyers at the firm achieve listings in multiple chapters this year: Alejandro Arenales Farner is recognised for his excellent work in dispute resolution and private client matters, while Carolis Quintanilla Schmidt stands out for his first-class banking and corporate practice.

Total number of listings: 28

Premier Panamanian law firm MORGAN & MORGAN is a leading presence in the domestic market and showcases the extent of its full-service offering in our research this year, achieving 28 nominations across 13 practice areas. Although based in Panama, the firm also boasts offices in key financial centres throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, allowing it to provide clients with an international reach.

The firm stands out in the Central American market for its top-tier corporate offering and sees five practitioners listed in our chapter this year. The team is well versed in handling the whole gamut of corporate-related matters, from M&A through to tax matters.

Shipping is another area in which the firm particularly excels, achieving four nominations in this year’s chapter. Its ship finance and registration group is renowned for its market-leading expertise and is regularly engaged in advising clients on transactions, regulatory and registration matters.

Standout lawyers at the firm include Juan David Morgan Jr, who is recognised as the foremost shipping lawyer in the region. Francisco Arias achieves listings for his expertise across the finance; real estate and construction; and corporate sectors, while Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez is highlighted for his exceptional work across four areas: corporate; competition; data, telecoms and media; and insurance and reinsurance.

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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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