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The ‘good, reliable’ and ‘extensive dispute resolution practice’ at Arias is said to ‘fulfil all requirements’, since the team -intact after the spin-off of Muñoz Global in Costa Rica- is ‘proactive, fully committed’ and ‘always willing to walk the extra mile in order to satisfy clients’ needs in terms of time and money’. It represents local and international clients in litigation, arbitration and mediation, and regularly advises on disputes related to real estate, telecoms and IP, among other areas. A particularly active client has been Chevron Guatemala: the team assisted the company with an administrative litigation process where it acted as an interested third-party; the case concerns anomalies in the bidding process during a public tender for the construction of a fuel terminal to supply aircraft at La Aurora International Airport. The team also handles labour and employment litigation and has a growing criminal litigation practice focused on white-collar corporate matters. With a track record of almost thirty years, practice head Mario René Archilahas the expertise and knowledge required’; he works closely with senior associate Luis Fernando Zelada, who has a similar length of experience. Archila is currently acting as arbitrator in a software dispute between two local companies and is also handling an international arbitration. Other clients include BIC Latin America, Bayer, Walmart and Fox International Channels.

Carrillo y Asociados’ ‘strong’ dispute resolution practice continues to be highly active in three major areas: constitutional litigation; civil, administrative and commercial litigation; and criminal litigation. Recent clients include multinational, regional and local companies, high-net-worth individuals, universities and sizeable, well-known international corporations. Key figure Luis Mazariegos focuses on civil cases, including disputes between shareholders and insurance claims, among others; and Rodrigo Callejas works on criminal matters in close conjunction with the firm’s strong insolvency and asset recovery practice. Ongoing matters also include proceedings related to counterfeit consumer products, financial fraud and white-collar crime. The team has also been handling energy and environment-related cases. It is equally experienced in arbitration and has recently been handling a number of ICC arbitrations; Rodolfo Alegría is the arbitral expert. Founding partner Alfonso Carrillo M has particular expertise in constitutional litigation and founding partner Francisco Chávez is also deemed ‘very experienced’. Joaquín Alvarado left the firm at the end of 2016 to work as independent counsel for the national banking regulator, the Superintendencia de Bancos (SIB).

Comte & Font – Legalsa continues to handle a high volume of disputes and in addition to corporate conflicts has seen an increased workload in white-collar crime and tax litigation, alongside advice on compliance and preventative measures. It is currently advising new client China Bird Centroamérica in a mediation regarding smartphone-related IP rights. Other cases include a shareholder dispute involving 320 different actions; administrative proceedings in the energy sector; representing the plaintiff in damage claims due to the termination of a credit line; and a legal battles in the drinks sector, among many others. Marisol Fión and Alejandro Penados, who was promoted to partner, are the key figures. Henry Comte has been less actively involved in the practice since serving as an alternate at the constitutional court and Harvey Pacay left the firm in August 2016. Clients include Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana and Scotia Leasing.

QIL+4 Abogados, S.A.’s ‘very strong’ and broad litigation and alternative dispute resolution practice undertakes civil, commercial, criminal, IP, banking, administrative, constitutional and tax-related cases mostly for corporate but occasionally also for private clients. The firm has seen a growing arbitration caseload, including international commercial and investment arbitration; and its criminal litigation practice acts on issues ranging from criminal tax matters to advice on compliance. It is currently handling a civil lawsuit concerning money laundering, fraud and other felonies against the shareholders of a local company; a criminal complaint about tax evasion; two international arbitrations in the automotive and transport sectors; and a cross-border damages claim stemming from personal injury at a mine site, among others. After the tragic death of practice head and renowned litigator Estuardo Mata in July 2017, the future of the practice remains to be seen. Specialist disputes associate Alejandro Solares is recognised for his expertise. Clients include British American Tobacco Central America, Daimler, IDC Asesores Financieros and Tahoe Resources.

Consortium Legal’s ‘litigation team is well rounded with litigators in several fields, including civil, constitutional and labour’, and also covers tax and administrative disputes. The ‘very strong team’ is currently handling cases that range from a financial dispute in the banking sector and a litigation concerning the potential annulment of a lease agreement in the food industry, to a dispute related to the location of a hydroelectric plant and a case surrounding a protected designation of origin. Clients ‘trust the in-depth analysis’ of practice head and ‘exceptional lawyer’ Elías Arriaza; he is ‘a star and a great asset’, ‘smart, savvy, with attention to detail and an ability to understand any type of legal issue in a short amount of time’. Álvaro Castellanos is a recognised ‘expert in arbitration who helped draft the current arbitration law’.

Lex Mundi member-firm Mayora & Mayora, S.C. is known primarily for its transactional expertise, but also regularly represents clients in disputes. Besides a broad practice covering civil and commercial, banking, labour, administrative, constitutional and criminal litigation, the firm also handles local and international arbitration, particularly in the commercial and energy sectors; Rafael Briz has arbitration and energy expertise. Ongoing work includes a white-collar crime case surrounding a multimillion-dollar fraud, civil suits -including the recovery of damages- in the electricity sector, and telecoms-related administrative actions. While the ‘very responsibleNorka Aragón is currently on temporary leave, Paola Galich returned to the firm in February 2017 after four years as legal counsel at Coca-Cola and takes over as practice head; she has expertise in commercial, constitutional and administrative litigation as well as arbitration. A diverse client portfolio includes Cobra Infraestructuras Hidraulicas and Telgua.

Aguilar Castillo Love’s ‘excellent’ and ‘highly recommendable’ dispute resolution practice is probably best known for handling energy and finance-related disputes and other select complex litigation and arbitration. Headline work includes advising Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions in a case concerning contractual default by one of its subcontractors during the construction of a large cement factory in Guatemala; the team achieved a settlement with almost all involved parties, including over 400 workers, almost 100 suppliers, the client’s client and the defaulting subcontractor. It also advised Comercializadora Eléctrica de Guatemala in arbitration proceedings surrounding the termination of a PPA involving the construction of a 100MW coal plant by the counterparty. Main contact Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón and key figure, associate Justo Díaz (who is highly active in civil and commercial litigation), ‘tackle legal problems in a fast and accurate manner’. Other clients include Kodak, Whirlpool Corporation, Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala and Jaguar Energy Guatemala.

Handling civil and administrative disputes, tax litigation and criminal matters, Alegalisrecommends actions that the business requires, and executes such actions with diligence and a sense that time is important as well as quality’. Half of its work in criminal litigation focuses on smuggling and criminal IP matters; where notable clients include Nike International and Converse. Disputes in the real estate sector are another focus of the practice group, which has also represented both creditors and shareholders in litigation related to bankruptcies in the financial services sector. The team of ‘knowledgeable professionals’ is led by founding partners Juan Antonio Mazariegos and Carlos Palacios, who each have twenty years’ experience and are ‘both 100% committed to clients’ interests and fully understand clients’ business’; they are ‘always honest about the success of every case and bear in mind the economics of every decision’. Associates Roxana Sandoval and Cristian Rojas also ‘propose actions focused on obtaining results’ and head the civil and criminal litigation practices respectively. Clients include Corporación Multi Inversiones, UNO Guatemala and Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo en Guatemala.

The team at BLP opened its doors in late 2016, after bringing over much of the team at the now-defunct Arenales & Skinner-Klée. The practice group has experience in handling civil, commercial and constitutional litigation matters as well as arbitral cases and also has extensive experience representing the Guatemalan state. With expertise in energy-related disputes, public law and arbitration Rodolfo Salazar continues to represent Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo in arbitration against the National Electrification Institute (INDE), and acted for the State of Guatemala in the adjournment of its obligation to pay a $28.6m arbitral award arising from an ICSID case (10/23) brought by TECO. He also represents Servicios Portuarios in claims, administrative appeals and proceedings against Empresa Portuaria Quetzal. Luis Ruiz adds expertise in IP litigation, while former Arenales & Skinner-Klée founding partner Alejandro Arenales Farner, who joined the firm as senior counsel in February 2017, brings additional arbitral experience. New clients include the Comisión Regional de Interconexión Eléctrica (CRIE).

Excellent firmNovales Abogados has ‘wide legal expertise and a good track record’ in dispute resolution matters. The team is well known for its sizeable credit-recovery practice and for handling a large volume of cases. It demonstrates particular expertise in infrastructure disputes and has a growing workload in administrative and judicial proceedings related to tax and transfer pricing. Current highlights include the representation of EMPORNAC and the president of Guatemala in a nine year-long litigation to nullify a port logistics concession; the continued defence of key client TRECSA against several actions filed by special interest groups to challenge major infrastructure projects; and a case on behalf of Caterpillar Crédito and Caterpillar Financial Services involving the first executions of liens on movable property in Guatemala. The team also represented Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana against electricity authority CRIE in the first case against a regulatory agency filed before the Central American Court of Justice. ‘Good negotiator’ Cristián Novales is ‘responsible and always up to date’ and co-heads the practice with Alfonso Novales, a former president of the Guatemalan Bar Association and judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.

Palomo & Porras Abogados has ‘considerable experience’ in commercial disputes and insurance and maritime litigation, alongside its recognised practice in contentious trade mark cases. The team also has expertise in arbitration. Past clients include the national association of milk producers, ASODEL, and Navimerca, an agent of Chilean shipping company CCNI. Federico Palomo focuses on disputes in the insurance and maritime sectors; senior partner Juan José Porras is currently serving as a member of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala.

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