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Dominican Republic > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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The ‘very professional’ team at Biaggi Abogados is ‘good value for money’; the ‘sharp, attentiveWanda Perdomo is the key contact, handling litigation and both domestic and international arbitration. Key support comes from practice head Edward Veras-Vargas, who merged his firm into the former Biaggi & Messina in 2015, and has particular experience in white-collar crime litigation; and name partner Gustavo Biaggi, whose caseload includes litigating for the Dominican state. He recently assisted it with the recovery of 645 million square-feet of public land allegedly in the wrongful possession of third parties. Other real-estate disputes clients include GGC Inversiones Inmobiliarias, Bretagne Holdings and Grupo Rodelsa. Energy is another busy disputes sector for the firm, with the team acting for clients including Puerto Plata de Electricidad and Grupo Terpel in litigious matters. Joan Manuel Alcántara left the firm in August 2016 upon his election as a congressional deputy.

Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández’s ‘excellent’ practice is highly active in litigation across a broad array of industry sectors, and also handles arbitration – particularly in the sports sector. Co-led by Tomás Hernández and constitutional law expert Francisco Alvarez, the department has an especially strong line in criminal cases involving bank fraud: recent mandates saw the pair act for the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic in a case against the alleged perpetrators of $34m fraud committed at Banco Peravia. ‘A real talent’, Julio Camejo focuses on white-collar matters related to economic or financial fraud and criminal environmental cases; civil responsibility, contractual and commercial litigation; judicial debt recovery; and representation before labour and administrative bodies. He and Alvarez defended Banco BHD Léon against a $2m damages claim brought by Constructora Immobiliaria Cuesta Brava. Manuel Madera, whose contentious practice focuses on commercial, civil and labour litigation, made partner in January 2017; however, Luisa Nuño has left the firm to move in house at Banco BHD Léon. Senior associate Kharim Maluf is also noted.

Highly regarded international arbitrator Marcos Peña and litigation (and labour) practice head Rosa Díaz co-lead the contentious practice at Jiménez Cruz Peña which acts for private and state-owned clients, both domestic and international clients. The team is very active in real estate and tourism disputes, and also counts litigation in the regulated sectors such as energy and telecoms as a particular strength. it is also active in distribution and agency claims (under Law 173), commercial and civil litigation, civil liability and consumer protection matters. Recent representations include successfully defending a corporate client against a $517m tax assessment, the avoidance of labour severance payments, and the recovery of multimillion-dollar losses. On the arbitral front, the firm has both capability and experience acting as both local and lead counsel and as experts on Dominican law; past matters include representing foreign investors in a multi-hundred-million-dollar case under the France-DR BIT, a case under DR-CAFTA and cases before the ICC court.

Impressive and capable’, the highly regarded Fabiola Medina is the key contact at Medina Garrigó Abogados; particularly for arbitration matters, both local and international. Sectoral breadth and key support comes from white-collar litigation specialist Luz Díaz, labour and criminal law expert Arístides Trejo, and Jesús Francos, who specialises in administrative law and related contentious matters. Recent mandates saw Medina and Francos provide an expert report to US company Corona Materials regarding administrative aspects of its $100m damages claim against the Dominican state under the arbitral provisions of DR-CAFTA. On the litigation side, the pair acted for Cemex República Dominicana on the cassation of a $20m city tax imposed by the City Council of Quisqueya, and are also representing Compañía Dominicana de Teléfonos (Claro) in a dispute involving a DOP329m assessment for an alleged selective tax on telecommunications and related surcharges. Other litigation clients include DVK Corporativo and the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic; and on the arbitration side, the team is also working with Fondo Patrimonial de las Empresas Reformadas. Senior associate Chery Zacarías is also noted for both civil and administrative litigation and arbitration.

The 10-strong practice group at Pellerano & Herreracovers all the bases’ when it comes to litigation with cases ranging from aviation to sports law (both of which are areas of niche expertise). In recent years the department has been especially active in labour litigation, tax and customs disputes and contentious real estate matters, along with distribution cases (under Law 173) and consumer rights litigation. The deeply experienced Vitelio Mejía Ortiz co-leads the practice with litigation generalist Lucy Objío. Both have been active in real estate disputes, recently, with Mejía representing Faro Del Este in a $110m land ownership dispute regarding a 4.4 million m2 plot in Punta Cana; and Objío acting for the (landowner) plaintiff in a case against a group of dozens of people who claimed property rights to a plot of land in Samaná. Objío was also active in labour issues, defending the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets in $7m and 150,000-dollar cases, respectively, both relating to allegedly wrongful termination of employment. The practice group is active in the administrative courts and also undertakes preventative consultancy for clients including Jet Blue Airways, Abbott Laboratories, Scotiabank and Claro. A strong second tier comprising senior associates Hipolito Sanchez (civil and commercial litigation, both trial and appellate); Joham Gonzalez (criminal, civil, labour and adminsitrative litigation); and Sheila Oviedo (civil, commercial and constiitutional matters, and general litigation), is also noted. Clients include Seguros Universal, Carnival Corporation and Avon Products.

Though not a large firm, the team at Bobadilla Abogados is ‘very active’ and ‘packed with expertise’ regarding contentious matters. ‘Great litigator’ Andrés Emilio Bobadilla heads the department; he, María Del Mar Rodríguez and associates Andrés Lopez and Ernesto Bournigal are all active commercial litigation practitioners. In addition to handling administrative and constitutional litigation, the team is also active in arbitral cases. Sector strengths include energy, infrastructure, telecoms, and asset and estate planning.

The 16-strong team at Castillo y Castillo is co-led by Práxedes Castillo and senior associate José Manuel Batlle and counts civil, corporate, and administrative and IP litigation as core strengths. Headline work saw the team continue to advise Gulfstream Petroleum Dominicana (Texaco), in an appeal regarding the Domnican Ministry of Industry and Commerce's Resolution 201 and its implications for a long-running dispute between fuel distributors and retailers. Castillo is also representing the same client in a related $1.1m arbitration claim brought by Luis Toshihide Tanioka and Gasolineria Franco Bidó. Other work saw Batlle advise Banco Múltiple Ademi on a mortgage foreclosure and the seizure of three real estate assets owned by Chinese property owners; and in the competition sector, represent Corporación Dinant in an appeal against a 1st instance judgement in a $10m unfair competition damages claim filed by Comercializadora Melo. Associates Juan Carlos Losada and Joan Batista Molina are also noted.

Today full service, Guzmán Ariza was originally a litigation boutique; it continues to enjoy an established reputation for real estate, labour and commercial disputes, and with the hire of litigator Michel Camacho (who arrives as of counsel from Salcedo & Astacio), is increasingly strong in white-collar matters. The practice group, which also handles arbitration, is led by Fabio Guzmán Ariza, who recently acted in conjunction with Alfredo Guzmán to advise Wells Fargo on a complex $2.5m property foreclosure. The practice is especially active in the tourism sector, where clients include Sunwing Travel Group, Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort and Meliá Hotels International, and genuine strength-in-depth comes from deeply experienced partners Rhadaisis Espinal, Julio Brea-Guzmán and Alberto Reyes, who each have more than 20 years’ experience in civil, commercial and administrative litigation, and former criminal appeals court judge Manuel Ulises Bonnelly. In other work, the team has been retained by Holland & Knight to act as an expert consultant on local law in a $50m case brought against the government of the Dominican Republic. Family law litigation specialist Aura Celeste Fernández is also noted. Other clients include developers Constructora Armenteros and Antonio Brugal Sucesores; manufacturers Productie Zarah Moden and Truper Herramientas, Avior Airlines, Grupo Estrella and First Bank of Puerto Rico.

Senior associate Lucas Guzmán, who is active in both arbitration and litigation, directs the conflicts management department at OMG, and is perhaps the most widely commended dispute resolution senior associate in the country. Firm founding partner and key litigator Leonel Melo is a highly regarded figure. His recent work includes representing Baxter International in a $10m breach of contact claim, and Biogen in both a major shareholder dispute and defence of the client against foreclosure proceedings brought by preferred creditors. The 14-strong practice group is active across a broad array of sectors and other matters saw the team advise Vivus in a dispute with the National Consumer Rights Protection Institute; Banco del Progreso in matters ranging from advertising to foreclosures; and Green Conversion Systems regarding white-collar matters. Natachú Domínguez (who focuses upon complex labour and civil -especially contractual- matters) and trials specialist Tristán Carbuccia are both noted. Other clients include Cap Cana, Berceló Hotels, Altice and INICIA.

The ‘outstanding’ and ‘trustworthyPereyra & Asociados has experience in local and ICC arbitration, and an established track record in civil, criminal, constitutional, labour and administrative litigation. ‘Highly qualified, dynamic’ founding partner Luis Miguel Pereyra heads the team, and is ‘always available’; he is an expert in international arbitration under ICC and AAA rules. Gregorio García is the other key practitioner, a litigator with experience across a wide range of sectors. Both are described by clients as ‘awesome professionals with very high standards’; their ‘effectiveness is pretty much guaranteed’. An impressive client roster includes Orange–Altice, Bank of Nova Scotia, Esso República Dominicana and Superintendencia de Bancos de la República Dominicana.

Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti’s key strengths are tax litigation and distribution agreement disputes; the seven-strong team is active across a broad array of sectors and was especially busy in real estate and healthcare during 2016. Georges Santoni leads the team, with support from María Esther Fernández, José Maldonado and Luis Heredia. Recent matters saw Heredia defend Pfizer Dominicana in a proceeding attempting to force Pfizer to market a retracted drug; and Fernández represented Catholic Relief Services in mediation against Obras y Tecnologías Otesa regarding the termination of a construction contract for a hospital in Haiti. The practice was further strengthened with the incorporation of Manuel Conde Cabrera -formerly at his own firm, Marra & Conde- as a senior associate and coordinator of the litigation department. Senior associate Jeanny Aristy is also noted. Other clients include Domicem (in property litigation), Delta Air Lines (in a criminal fraud case) and Mead Johnson Nutrition (in contentious IP matters).

The nine-strong team at Squire Patton Boggs is led by corporate and commercial specialist Pedro Gamundi, with support from Carolina Soto Hernández and international arbitration expert Stephan Adell (who splits his time between the Paris and Santo Domingo offices). Gamundi and Soto Hernández acted for Owens-Illinois Puerto Rico and Owens-Brockway Glass Container in a protracted dispute over joint venture, share purchase and technical assistance agreements with Industrias Zanzíbar, Antillian Holding and United Caribbean Containers. Both lawyers also defended Diageo Dominicana against a $17m commercial damages claim brought by a former local reseller. Other clients include Earthbound Holdings, Thomas Seaman, Banesco Banco Múltiple and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, DMK Abogados | Central Law fields a strong practice, led by Nelson Jáquez with support from managing partner Enrique de Marchena. Both partners acted for the Dominican state in an UNCITRAL international arbitration case brought by a Panamanian company regarding an alleged violation of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the two countries; the claim was dismissed and the client was awarded $380,000. In other work the team advised Black & Decker on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of its termination of a contractual relationship with a supplier. Real estate, construction and tourism are all strong areas of activity for the practice; clients include Consorcio Remix, Sol Meliá VC Dominicana, Urbanizaciones E Inversiones and 6C Dominicana.

Founding partner Samuel Pérez is the key contact at SOP Legal Consortium, and has experience in arbitration as well as litigation. Energy, mining, natural resources and the environment are key sectors for the practice, which fields Melvyn Domínguez, Enmanuel Rosario, Sarah Roa and Melina Mirambeaux as senior counsels. Key clients include Barrick Gold, Odebrecht, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive.

The team at Troncoso y Cáceres is noted for its depth of experience. Jesús María Troncoso has been active in litigation for over four decades; Ana Isabel Cáceres is especially strong in disputes relating to banking, finance and distribution agreements; and María Félix Troncoso is a longstanding IP litigator. Moreover, senior associates Juan Morel Lizardo and Luis Guzmán have over eight decades of litigation experience between them. The team’s clients include Eccus, Nestlé Dominicana, Cisneros Group and Hewlett-Packard.

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