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Nicaragua > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Known in the region as the country of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua continues to prove that it has more to offer than stunning landscapes and good surf. The country´s thriving mining, fishing and agricultural sectors, continuous direct foreign investments and its strategic expansion of exports contributed to a steadily growing GDP even through the global financial crisis, peaking at 5.1% in 2011. Although this rate has decreased in recent years with a 4.3% growth expected in 2017, Nicaragua´s economic growth levels still lie above the Central American average.

Among the country’s emerging energy, agricultural and real estate markets, tourism is also beginning to play a crucial role in Nicaragua’s upward trend and is attracting an ever growing number of foreign investors and hospitality projects across throughout the country, with the highest investment activity clearly being observed in the Rivas municipality on the South Pacific Coast. Due to the buoyancy of various industry sectors, employment rates have consistently increased, bringing with it growing private consumption rates and stronger economic activity.

However, the shifts in US migration and trade policies; the ebbing of Venezuelan economic support, and cooling Chinese interest in a Nicaraguan canal project might all impact the positive developments of recent years. Additionally, the risk of US sanctions was heightened as a result of the re-election of Daniel Ortega, who is now serving the third consecutive term after an election that has drawn international criticism for irregularities, including the alleged manipulation of the electoral system and the Supreme Court’s exclusion of opposition candidate Luis Callejas from the ballot.

If such a vision paints a somewhat negative picture of Nicaragua’s economic future, these preoccupations are not yet tangible in the legal market. Quite the opposite, Nicaragua’s legal landscape is consistently becoming more sophisticated, albeit that real estate, corporate finance and IP practices demonstrated the strongest growth: in 2016, both BLP and García & Bodán opened their second offices in the Rivas region to meet the increasing demand for real estate advice in the coastal region; the latter even expects to open a third office, in Tola, by the end of 2017.

All the key regional players, such as Arias, Consortium Legal, Aguilar Castillo Love, BLP, Lexincorp and Central Law Nicaragua have established a strong presence in the country. However, they continue to face a stiff challenge from well-established domestic firms: Alvarado y Asociados remains one of the strongest service offerings for corporate and finance advice, while Guy José Bendaña-Guerrero & Asociados dominates Nicaragua’s IP sphere.

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Legal Developments in Nicaragua

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  • Employers face claims by MBIE for holiday pay non-compliance

    The widespread problems relating to compliance with the Holidays Act 2003 have recently hit the headlines again.  
  • Insider trading laws - clarity for the market

    ​New regulations will finally clarify that in most cases insider trading rules do not apply to a new issue of financial products.
  • OIO residential land amendments delayed

    The date for the Select Committee to report to Parliament on the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (the Bill ) has been extended to 21 June 2018. The Select Committee's report was previously anticipated on 31 May 2018. This delay is unsurprising given the substantial number of submissions to the Select Committee, and it is encouraging to see the Select Committee taking more time to work through the potential unintended consequences for businesses from the Bill. 
  • Australian class action reform: implications for New Zealand

    On 31 May 2018, the Australian Law Reform Commission ( ALRC ) released a  discussion paper ​​ as part of its inquiry into class action proceedings and third-party litigation funders.
  • Zero Carbon Bill update: discussion document seeks public feedback

    Public consultation that could have far-reaching implications for business is underway on the Government's proposed Zero Carbon Bill, following the release of a  Discussion Document  by the Ministry for the Environment. There is currently no draft bill; the Discussion Document seeks feedback on key questions of policy and systems architecture that will underpin the legislative regime. This is an early opportunity for those affected to have their say on the Government's approach to some fundamental questions as it seeks to transition New Zealand to a net zero emissions economy. Consultation closes at 5pm on 19 July 2018.
  • New leniency for foreign buyers in Overseas Investment Act overhaul but redraft raises fresh issues

    A select committee report on changes to overseas investment rules has proposed relaxing some of the planned restrictions on foreign buyers which could have hindered development, but the amendments raise a number of new issues that require close examination.
  • Double tax agreement interpretation in the spotlight again – Court of Appeal reverses foreign tax

    ​​​The correct interpretation of New Zealand's double tax agreements ( DTAs ) is once again in the spotlight after a recent Court of Appeal decision treats them in the same way as private contracts. Previously, local and international rulings suggested the international context and purposes of ​such treaties should be taken into account.​
  • Tax treatment of cryptocurrencies - Questions and (some) Answers

    ​The Inland Revenue has published a Q&A on the income tax treatment of cryptocurrencies. You can find the document  here .
  • NZX consults on revamped listing rules under a new market structure

    ​​​​​NZX has released an exposure draft of its proposed new listing rules for consultation, with a view to implementing the new rules towards the end of 2018 and bringing them into effect on 1 January 2019. This follows NZX’s consultation at the end of last year on a wide span of issues to reform and reinvigorate NZX’s capital markets, ranging from a consideration of the structure of NZX’s equity markets to specific listing rule settings. 
  • Proposed GST changes for low value goods

    Interested parties should pay attention to the Government’s call for submissions on proposals to lower the threshold at which offshore purchases become liable for GST, with decisions yet to be made on a number of aspects.

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