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Who Represents Who

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Arias’ dispute resolution clients include multinational companies, government entities and financial institutions, and it regularly advises on disputes in the real estate, telecoms and IP sectors, among others. The practice group, led by Mario René Archila and senior associate Luis Fernando Zelada, also houses a growing domestic and international arbitration practice, and since Aurélie Huet joined the firm as special counsel in April 2017, has also begun to focus on compliance, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption cases. Recent highlights include advising IT company KIO Networks on the recovery of telecoms equipment worth $2m from Construcción y Telecomunicaciones; and the recovery of loan portfolios valued at $60,000 and $900,000, respectively, from Mudanzas Express and B&R Ingeniería de Sistemas. The team is also representing technology distribution company Exprescom Guatemala in complex tax litigation.

Carrillo & Asociados is regarded as a local powerhouse in dispute resolution, with a practice spanning civil, constitutional, commercial and criminal matters. The team is currently representing a public sector client in constitutional and administrative actions regarding the denial of its state licence; founding partner Alfonso Carrillo has also been leading a series of pro bono cases defending the rule of law in Guatemala. The team, led by Luis Mazariegos, has also been active in the transport sector, representing a client in cross-border litigation over damages derived from a transportation contract. The civil litigation practice includes finance-sector creditor rights enforcement through loan collection proceedings and the team is providing ongoing advice to PricewaterhouseCoopers, as custodian of Bancafe International Bank, on the recovery of its $21m loan portfolio. Founding partner Francisco Chávez also remains a key figure.

Comte & Font – Legalsa is best known for its expertise in complex, ‘bet-the-company’ litigation; shareholder disputes; disputes involving government procurement, concessions and public tenders; and white-collar and business crime. The team is led by founding partner Henry Comte, who was appointed to the Constitutional Court of Guatemala as an alternative magistrate in 2016; Marisol Fión, who is an expert in shareholder disputes and arbitration; and Alejandro Penados, who focuses on complex dispute resolution, IP enforcement and unfair competition cases. The white-collar criminal defence team was strengthened by the arrival of associate Julia González, who was previously head of the criminal law practice at Aguilar & Aguilar, in 2017. Recent highlights include advising a multinational consumer products company on a dispute with a foreign bank relating to a debt/equity swap agreement. Longstanding clients include Industrias Licoreras Guatemaltecas, Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana, Vivibanco and Procesadora de Tarjetas de Crédito.

Consortium Legal’s dispute resolution practice is co-led by Elías Arriaza and David Erales, who was promoted to partner in January 2018. Arriaza primarily handles civil and constitutional matters, and has represented high-profile clients from the energy, transportation and agricultural sectors, among others. Recent highlights include representing a mining company in a matter involving the suspension of its mining licence, acting for a distribution company in a dispute over a lease agreement, and assisting an agricultural company with filing claims for payment for products sold. Erales, who is praised by clients for being ‘very well prepared, with a deep knowledge of the subject’, focuses on tax litigation.

QIL+4 Abogados, S.A. has been particularly active in the mining and energy sector, managing complex and high-profile litigation matters for various hydroelectric and mining projects; in a recent highlight, the team represented Minera San Rafael after environmental organisations brought a constitutional amparo action against it, seeking the revocation of its mining licence due to alleged breaches of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169, which covers the rights of indigenous groups. The team has also handled complex commercial litigation involving multiple parties and jurisdictions. Other matters saw José Quiñones, who oversees the litigation committee, lead the team advising Daimler on a distribution-agreement dispute with a group of local companies, and Marcos Ibargüen, who has extensive corporate experience, lead advice to an international ink manufacturing company in litigation against a local distributor. The team is led by senior associate Alejandro Solares, who is an expert in international and domestic arbitration; the arbitration practice has been growing steadily and the team recently won an arbitral award for a major Guatemalan retailer, Vivendo, in a claim against a major software supplier over the wrongful implementation of software across the company’s stores.

The dispute resolution practice at Aguilar Castillo Love is known both for handling complex litigation and for its arbitral expertise. Juan Carlos Castillo leads the team, which continues to advise ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions in a contract dispute with Cementos Progreso related to the construction of a cement factory, as well as in ongoing arbitration following the default by a subcontractor working on the project. The team is also defending the same client against two criminal complaints filed by a subcontractor (one was successfully dismissed, the other remains ongoing). Arbitration is the main focus of Castillo’s practice; he advised on a dispute between the shareholders of a family-owned group of companies and on a PPP-related dispute in arbitration proceedings before Comisión de Resolución de Conflictos de la Cámara de Industria de Guatemala (CRECIG), the dispute resolution body of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry. Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala is also a key client, along with Comercializadora Eléctrica de Guatemala, Whirlpool Corporation, Jaguar Energy Guatemala and Diebold.

BLP represents high-profile international and domestic clients across the full range of constitutional, criminal and civil litigation. It is advising Servicios Portuarios and Terminal de Granos del Pacífico (Terpac), Central America’s largest grain port terminal, in disputes with Empresa Portuaria Quetzal (EPQ) regarding EPQ’s irregular collection of port fees. The team is also defending Comisión Regional de Interconexión Eléctrica (CRIE), a multinational enterprise, against a claim brought by Grupo Generador de Oriente (Genosa) over an alleged debt on the part of the client. The practice group is also known for its expertise in international arbitration cases; in a recent highlight, Rodolfo Salazar led the team that successfully defended the Republic of Guatemala against allegations by the US that it had violated terms of the CAFTA-DR international free trade agreement relating to labour, while the team also defended the state in a $230m dispute over electricity tariffs in Guatemala brought by TECO Guatemala Holdings. Other key clients include Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo, Chubb, Abbott Laboratories USA and Aseguradora General. International arbitration expert Alejandro Arenales, who joined the firm as senior counsel in 2017, is also noted.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C. specialises in representing corporate clients in commercial disputes, administrative actions – where disputes in the energy sector are a particular focus – employment cases and tax litigation. The firm’s arbitration practice is also growing; it is involved in an ongoing arbitration case between two major distribution companies. The team is led by Paola Galich, who was formerly in-house counsel for the Coca-Cola Company; senior partner Rafael Briz is also a key figure in the practice. Highlights included assisting an energy company with collecting accrued debts of $1m from municipalities in Guatemala for the provision of electricity services; representing two major Guatemalan companies in a criminal complaint against two of their former executives; and acting for a telecoms company in litigation relating to a breach of contract obligations. Senior associates Luis Fernando Juárez, José Ramos and Byron Deulofeu focus on labour and energy, consumer and IP matters, respectively.

Alegalis’ practice is led by Juan Antonio Mazariegos and Carlos Gustavo Palacios, with associates Cristian Rojas and Roxana Sandoval heading-up the criminal and civil litigation departments, respectively. The criminal litigation team focuses on white-collar crime and is currently defending high-profile companies in the telecoms and pharmaceuticals sectors. The practice acts for international brands such as Nike, Converse, Casio and Abercrombie & Fitch in smuggling and criminal IP matters and also represents creditors and shareholders in bankruptcy cases; it is currently providing legal services to Italian debt recovery company Sace SRV, a new client. Real estate disputes also constitute a key part of the caseload, with clients including the real estate and energy divisions of Corporación Multi Inversiones, Droguería Colón, Asociación Nacional de Avicultores de Guatemala (ANAVI) and UNO Guatemala (Shell). The firm is a member of the Legic Central American law firm alliance.

EY Law Central America, which finalised its merger with legal partner Integra Legal in May 2017, is particularly active in white-collar crime litigation, regularly defending large corporations against allegations of tax fraud. In addition, the team conducts forensic audits and advises clients on anti-money laundering procedures, as well as fraud prevention and the correct processes for board meetings. The team is led by Enrique Möller Sánchez, who works with national and international clients in the consumer and retail, banking and electricity sectors, among others, with particular expertise in the valuation of intangible assets. Manager Fernando Rosales Gramajo specialises in dispute resolution and fraud; he is particularly active with clients in the retail and finance sectors.

Novales Abogados is best known for its successful credit recovery practice, handling a high volume of cases in cooperation with collection agency Corpocredit, and for its ongoing assistance to Caterpillar Crédito and Caterpillar Financial Services with the repossession of equipment. In recent work, the team has been advising Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica (TRECSA) against a series of constitutional actions brought by environmental and indigenous groups, which claim that the client’s project to build an extension to Guatemala’s electricity transportation network violated ILO Convention 169. Indeed, disputes involving the construction and infrastructure sectors are a particular focus and the firm is a member of Construlegal, an alliance of construction law firms across North, Central and South America. The team is led by Cristián Novales, who specialises in construction law and disputes in the infrastructure and logistics sectors, alongside Javier Novales, an expert in energy-related matters, and founding partner Alfonso Novales.

Palomo & Porras Abogados represents local and international clients in a wide range of civil, commercial, employment, administrative and constitutional litigation, and has a particular specialisation in insurance, maritime and IP-sector disputes. The team is led by Mario Guadrón, who is recognised for his expertise in contentious commercial matters and tax dispute resolution; Federico Palomo, who specialises in disputes in the insurance and maritime sectors; and the IP-focused Héctor Palomo. The team advises Apple on local IP matters; other key clients include pharmaceutical company Grupo Farma, advertising company JC Decaux and Royal Canadian Mint.

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