2019: Leading Firms

In this edition we list 138 law firms; however, eight standout regional outfits achieve almost 40 per cent of the total listings this year, demonstrating the depth of expertise on offer. Here we profile the leading firms across the Central American market.

 

Aguilar Castillo Love is a well-established Central American firm that is renowned for its extensive reach across the region, with offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Formed as a result of a number of mergers, the firm has existed in its current form since 2006 and is an important player in the market, achieving 17 listings across eight practice areas in this edition.

The firm showcases its robust corporate practice with five of its lawyers recognised for their outstanding work in complex transactions, corporate compliance and restructurings. Their work runs the gamut in the corporate sector and sees them advise a variety of clients in domestic and international proceedings.

Dispute resolution is a further area in which the firm excels, where it sees three practitioners listed for their expert handling of contentious issues. Its lawyers also perform well across the antitrust, public law and banking arenas, illustrating the breadth of its offering.

Notable practitioners from the firm include John Aguilar-Quesada who is held in high esteem thanks to his top-flight corporate practice. Juan José Alcerro-Milla performs well across a number of practice areas including banking, competition, corporate and data. Francisco José Castillo-Love is hailed as one of the foremost franchise and distribution lawyers in the region, while Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón excels in corporate finance as well as contentious matters.  

 

Full-service Panamanian firm Alemán Cordero Galindo & Lee is renowned as one of the foremost players in the region. It possesses a strong team of lawyers, which is reflected in our research this year with the firm receiving 19 listings across nine practice areas.

Corporate matters are a strong focus for the firm, with five lawyers recognised for their expertise in assisting a wide array of including financial institutions and corporations in M&A, joint ventures, cross-border investment and corporate strategy.

The firm also performs well in dispute resolution proceedings, seeing three lawyers identified as leading individuals in litigation and arbitration, covering high-value proceedings in sectors that range from banking, aviation and energy. Private client work is another area in which the firm excels, possessing three experts who advise high-net-worth individuals on a range of matters including succession planning and taxation issues.

Key individuals at the firm include Anibal Galindo who is recognised in four chapters of our guide and stands out as one of the foremost private client lawyers in the region. Jaime Alemán also gains recognition for his leading work in the private client space while Carlos Cordero draws praise for his work in corporate, data and dispute resolution. Alejandro Ferrer draws high praise from sources thanks to his leading work in dispute resolution, corporate and environment and energy law.  

 

Arias is a highly respected regional firm with an impressive footprint across Central America and offices in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The firm performs well in our research this year, achieving 53 listings across 14 practice areas.

The firm excels in matters relating to government and regulatory oversight, with 12 lawyers from the administrative and public law team recognised for their leading work in a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters including contracting, concession and constitutional disputes.

Corporate law is another important area for the group, and sees 11 lawyers highlighted here. They are well equipped to advise on M&A and governance-related issues for clients spanning a variety of sectors. The banking team also ranks highly for its expertise in high-stakes financing, asset management and fund structuring, with seven individuals recognised in our corresponding chapter.

Top names at the firm include Vicente Lines who is recognised as a high-profile figure in the banking space. Rolando García M is singled out as one of the foremost franchise lawyers in the region, while Luis Pedro del Valle stands out as a top name for data, telecoms and media law. Bertha Argüello demonstrates the breadth of her expertise this year with listings across our environment, energy and natural resources, banking, corporate and insurance chapters.

 

Full-service Panamanian outfit Arias Fábrega & Fábrega enjoys a prominent position in the Central American market where it achieves a notable 17 listings across 10 practice areas. The firm is well equipped to advise clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters and stands out for its impressive global presence with affiliated offices in Hong Kong, London and the British Virgin Islands.

The firm sees four of its practitioners listed for its banking, finance and projects practice thanks to their tremendous knowledge of regulatory matters, as well as their work providing first-rate counsel to prominent local and international banks.

Corporate law is another area in which the firm performs well, with four lawyers highlighted for their impressive work on a range of matters including M&A transactions, joint ventures, purchase agreements and public tender offers.

The firm is home to Ricardo Arango, who is applauded as one of the region’s foremost corporate lawyers, while Jorge Loaiza enjoys a stellar reputation in the shipping sector. Roy Durling is hailed as one of the leading environmental and energy lawyers in the region, and also gains recognition for his expertise across aviation, banking and finance, shipping, and corporate law.

 

BLP is a major regional player in the Central American market with offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. The firm performs well in our research, reflecting its prominent presence in the market with 35 listings across 14 practice areas.

The firm has developed a strong corporate team from which seven first-class practitioners are recognised in our corresponding chapter. The group services a broad range of clients, advising on major cross-border transactions and governance matters. Its banking team performs well this year with five individuals highlighted for their top-tier work acting in large-scale financings and transactions across the region.

The firm’s strength in dispute resolution is also reflected in this edition, where four of its lawyers draw praise for their expertise handling sophisticated litigation and arbitration proceedings, while more of its lawyers are recognised for their leading work across a range of sectors from data, telecoms and media to real estate and construction.

Prominent individuals from the firm include Luis Castro and David Gutiérrez, who rank among the foremost corporate lawyers in the region; the former also gains recognition for his first-rate real estate and construction practice. Uri Weinstok and Pamela Sittenfeld are renowned for their world-class competition law practices, while Neftalí Garro excels in the insurance and reinsurance space. Randall González is a leading expert in labour, employment and immigration law, and Luis Ortiz is lauded for his work in the administrative and public law arena.

 

Regional powerhouse Consortium Legal showcases its dominant presence across the Central American market in our research this year. In this edition, it achieves 43 listings across 10 practice areas, with lawyers from its offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua recognised for their outstanding abilities.

Corporate finance is an area in which the firm truly excels, achieving 10 and 15 listings in our banking, finance and projects, and corporate chapters respectively. Its lawyers are held in high regard for their standout expertise in a range of corporate matters including complex transactions, commercial contracts, loan structuring and regulatory counsel, to name a few.

Dispute resolution is a further area in which the firm performs well in this edition, with five listings. The team is well acquainted with providing domestic and international companies with high-quality representation in complex and significant litigation and arbitration proceedings. 

The firm also demonstrates its strong offering across a range of sectors, achieving recognition across our data, telecoms and media, insurance and reinsurance and real estate and construction chapters.

Standout individuals at the firm include David Arturo Campos and Rolando Laclé Zúñiga, who rank among the foremost corporate finance lawyers in the region. Ulises Mejía León Gómez is a much-respected name in dispute resolution, while Armando Manzanares is credited for his leading expertise in administrative and public law. Diego Salto is recognised by market sources as the most prominent corporate tax specialist in the region.

 

Top-tier Panamanian firm Galindo Arias y López enjoys a strong presence in the Central American market and performs impressively in this year’s rankings, achieving 16 listings across eight practice areas. The firm is frequently engaged in domestic and international transactions, corporate financing and dispute resolution.

The firm’s banking and finance offering sees four practitioners listed in our corresponding chapter, thanks to their leading expertise spanning project finance, capital markets, asset finance and regulatory matters.

The firm also stands out in the corporate arena, in which three practitioners are credited for their first-rate work. Joint ventures, debt and equity offerings and corporate strategy are just some of the areas in which the practitioners excel.

Notable figures at Galindo include Diego Herrera Dutari who is recognised as one of the leading figures for administrative and public law in the region, while Cristina Lewis de la Guardia is commended for her expertise in aviation and banking and finance matters. Ramón Ricardo Arias Porras is renowned for the breadth of his practice, which is illustrated here with listings for his work in aviation, corporate law, corporate tax, and real estate and construction. 

 

A distinguished player in the Panamanian market, Morgan & Morgan attains an impressive 29 listings across 13 practice areas in our research this year. The firm also enjoys a presence across Asia, Europe and Latin America, enabling it to serve clients on local, regional and global matters.

The firm particularly excels in the corporate space, from which five practitioners are highlighted in this edition. The group’s expertise shines in M&A with a focus on assisting domestic and international clients on cross-jurisdictional transactions and joint ventures.

It also demonstrates a strong offering in the shipping sector, with four listings here. Its practitioners frequently represent lending institutions and shipping companies, advising on a plethora of matters including the financing of transactions and contractual matters.  

Private client is a further area in which the firm stands out, with four practitioners listed this year for their impressive work advising families and high-net-worth individuals on the management of trust structures and private interest foundations.

Key figures at Morgan & Morgan include Francisco Arias, who is highly regarded for his impressive expertise in corporate, banking and finance and real estate and construction law. Jazmina Rovi Sanchez is a standout name in the shipping space, while Inocencio Galindo is applauded for his strong work across corporate finance and energy and environmental law. Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez demonstrates the breadth of his practice with listings across our competition, corporate, data, and insurance and reinsurance chapters.

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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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