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Considered ‘one of the most sophisticated and diverse’ dispute resolution practices in the country, BLP’s eight-partner team provides ‘a lot of comfort to its clients’, not least because of its wide-ranging contentious expertise across the full spread of financial services, tax, labour and antitrust litigation as well as international arbitration. Practice head Mauricio Salas, whose ‘command of the law is encyclopaedic’, recently represented UPS in arbitration proceedings deriving from a commercial dispute between several logistics companies; and is also defending Bosch in a cross-border litigation against a multimillion-dollar compensation claim related to the termination of a distribution agreement. The high-profile client base also includes Cemex, Pfizer and Dow Chemical.

Among the strongest players in Costa Rica’s dispute resolution arena, Batalla Abogados has an impressive track record representing clients such as Philip Morris International and Alcatel-Lucent in the entire array of contentious forums, including litigation, commercial and investment arbitration, dispute boards and alternative dispute resolution; particular fields of expertise include product liability cases and disputes against the tax authorities, as well as contentious administrative, corporate and real estate litigation. Additionally, the practice is also handling an increasing number of FCPA-related white-collar crime cases, where the team also advises on investigations. Mariano Batalla is the key contact for corporate litigation and Alejandro Batalla has deep experience in litigious administrative and public law matters.

A dispute resolution all-rounder, Facio & Cañas is particularly well-known for Rodrigo Oreamuno’s involvement in high-profile international arbitration cases, but the ‘strong and smart’ team also represents blue-chip clients in civil, commercial and IP litigation as well as criminal cases. In recent mandates, highly regarded practice head Federico Torrealba successfully represented Alticor, as plaintiff, in a criminal case against a former employee; and acted for Grupo Corporativo Saret as plaintiff in a $26m damages claim related to a breach of contract. Other key clients include Caterpillar, AT&T and Volvo.

Following Arias & Muñoz demerger in November 2016, the ‘excellent’ dispute resolution team stayed with Dentons Muñoz and continues to represent international high-profile clients ‘with a great sense of responsibility’ in complex cross-border commercial, civil and environmental litigation as well as arbitration; in addition, white-collar crime litigation is steadily becoming an ancillary pillar of the practice. The team’s recent caseload included representing a Costa Rican company in multimillion-dollar fraud litigation against an individual; and advising an international construction machinery manufacturer on a criminal claim against a local construction company. ‘Very knowledgeable mediator’ Roy Herrera and anti-corruption expert Carolina Muñoz are the key contacts.

Regional heavyweight Aguilar Castillo Love also renders ‘excellent legal services’ in contentious matters, where it represents international blue-chip clients –such as Johnson & Johnson and Dos Pinos– in an impressive number of post-M&A, antitrust, environmental, corporate and commercial litigation cases, as well as international arbitration. Recent mandates saw the ‘highly dedicated’ team represent Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a multimillion-dollar commercial dispute with a service provider, advise a multinational company on an internal investigation and the filing of criminal complaints, and represent General Electric in a collection litigation. John Aguilar-Osborne heads the practice.

Regarded by its peers as a ‘really good dispute resolution’ practice, local boutique offering Artavia & Barrantes Abogados is highly adept at representing clients such as General Motors, Walmart and Banco de Costa Rica in civil, commercial and administrative litigation, as well as in commercial arbitration proceedings, both local and international. The eight-strong team, including international arbitration expert and co-founding partner Sergio Artavia, also exhibits deep expertise in advising on procedural issues, preventive measures and alternative dispute resolution.

Expertis’ international client base can draw on the dispute resolution expertise of three partners, who frequently handle an impressively diverse mix of contentious matters, ranging from civil and commercial litigation to cases against the government, commercial arbitration and collection procedures. In notable 2016 highlights, Mariela Hernández represented Hidroenergía El General, as plaintiff, in a $4.6m compensation claim against the national electricity agency ICE (pertaining to additional costs during the construction of a hydroelectric power plant); and assisted Coopelesca with a $1.5m administrative litigation related to the refund of fees for water concession rights. Other key clients include Rena Ware, Mexichem and Gas Natural Fenosa.

Directed by Marvin Céspedes, Pacheco Coto’s dispute resolution practice covers the entire spectrum of contentious administrative and environmental matters, civil and commercial litigation and arbitration. While the team is frequently retained to represent domestic and foreign clients in litigious cases related to the breach of distribution agreements, the firm’s highly regarded tax practice also generates a frequent flow of instructions from international high-profile clients.

Sfera Legal remains a “go-to” firm for advice and representation in contentious real estate matters: in 2016, José Schroeder defended property management company Byker and Associates against several civil actions filed by a neighbours’ association in Garabito; and represented a US real estate investor in Nosara against several civil procedures related to real estate rights; while Robert van der Putten represented a Spanish hotel group and tourism company in several disputes regarding real estate conflicts in Guanacaste, among other matters. The two-partner team is also well-versed in administrative, bankruptcy and fraud litigation, expropriation disputes and arbitral matters. Key clients include SLB Investments, Pan-American Life Insurance and Sirenis Hotels.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven’s Jonatán Picado is well-known for representing clients in legal proceedings against the Costa Rican state and also has longstanding experience in advising multinational corporations on civil, commercial, real estate and insurance litigation. Recently the three-strong practice group has been particularly active in contentious cases related to breaches of commercial contracts and administrative litigation; notably, the group represented Caja de ANDE, as plaintiff, in a $10m damages claim related to an alleged breach of contract by a technology provider.

After the dissolution of Arias & Muñoz in November 2016, the Costa Rican office of what is now known as simply Arias is rebuilding its contentious capabilities with a particular focus on white-collar criminal cases and tax litigation: headed by senior counsel German Rojas and supported by Carolina Flores, the team has of late handled a substantial caseload of fraud litigation, white-collar crime cases and litigious tax matters.

Consortium Legal has considerable expertise representing domestic and international financial institutions and corporations –particularly from the energy, health and construction industries– on the full range of contentious issues; however, it packs a particular punch in financial services litigation for clients such as Banco Lafise, Citibank and Western Union. In recent work, practice head Rolando Laclé Zúñiga represented Fonotica, as plaintiff, in a $600,000 damages claim against two radio stations related to the infringement of IP rights; and also defended Banco Davivienda against a $55,000 damages claim.

Lexincorp predominantly advises clients such as ABB, Savone and Banco Industrial on contentious civil and labour issues, but is equally experienced in commercial disputes. Notable highlights for Alonso Vargas’ team included successfully representing Inversiones Terranova, as plaintiff, in a $100,000 damages claim concerning breach of contract; and defending Convergys in various labour litigation cases brought by former employees. The team is also experienced in arbitral matters.

Local full-service offering Nassar Abogados has substantial experience in representing multinational clients in civil, commercial and labour litigation, as well as being particularly renowned for its international commercial arbitration capabilities. Henry Rodríguez and Tomás Nassar are the names to note.

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