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While also strong in litigation, Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s disputes practice is renowned for its capabilities in both local and international arbitration. Santa Cruz-based senior partner Primitivo Gutiérrez, a labour litigation specialist, co-leads the team with the La Paz-based Rodrigo Rivera, who handles litigation and arbitration and is especially active in competition disputes. Ramiro Guevara has extensive experience in international arbitration and in 2016, he and Rivera represented GCC of America in a high-profile $40m arbitration case regarding its ownership of shares in Soboce, as well as handling related constitutional litigation against Compañía de Inversiones Mercantiles. Jorge Inchauste is also active in disputes work: he acted for Quiborax in arbitration against the Bolivian government regarding the latter’s alleged expropriation of Quiborax’s mining concessions without fair compensation. Other clients include South American Silver, Cervecería Boliviana Nacional and Cinemark Holdings. Senior associate Zoya Galarza, who focuses on competition law disputes, is one to watch.

Andrés Moreno is the key arbitration contact at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados, while Delfor Zapata leads on litigious matters. Arbitration is a key strength of the firm, which frequently undertakes cases against the government. Andrés and Ramiro Moreno represented Air BP Bolivia in such a case, following the Bolivian government’s expropriation of BP’s assets and investments, (allegedly without fair compensation); the parties eventually agreed to seek settlement. Cross-border litigation is another strength of the firm: Zapata and Andrés Moreno acted for AON in a case against the former directors of its local subsidiary, AON Bolivia, regarding breaches of fiduciary duty. The practice is also active in local dispute resolution: Andrés Moreno represented Istmo Compañia de Reaseguros in arbitration against Credinform International, defending its denial of Credinform’s request for a reinsurance payment. Indeed, insurance is a particular focus of the department, as are the oil-and-gas and telecoms sectors. Other clients include La Boliviana de Seguros y Reaseguros, Samsung Engineering and Isolux Corsan.

C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados’ practice is co-led by Ariel Morales in La Paz and Manfredo Kempff in Santa Cruz; both, along with Diego Rojas, undertake alternative dispute resolution in addition to litigation. Recent matters saw Kempff and Morales defend Boston Marks Insurance Brokers and Línea Aérea Amaszonas against a compensation claim after one of the airline’s pilots was involved in an accident; the amount granted was negotiated down from $760m to less than $185m. Kempff also assisted Onyx Distribución with obtaining monies owed to it by Nestlé Bolivia as part of a distribution agreement. The National Bank of Bolivia is another client: the team advised it on 35 separate judicial proceedings relating to $900,000 worth of debt collection, after various debtors’ portfolios were found in arrears. Other litigation clients include BISA Seguros y Reaseguros; arbitration clients include Seguros y Reaseguros Credinform International and PROINTEC.

Traditionally strong on the litigation side, the disputes practice at Indacochea & Asociados offers ‘a complete range of services’ and is increasingly active in arbitration. It also counts tax disputes and administrative procedures as key strengths. Department head Ichin Ma specialises in civil litigation and arbitration; the ‘proactive’ Alonso Indacochea is also active in contentious matters and ‘knows how to manage conflicts’. In arbitration the team is notably active in the infrastructure sector: Ma advised Tradeco Infraestructura in international arbitration against Administradora Boliviana de Carreteras regarding the latter’s termination of a road construction contract. In litigation, healthcare is an area of particular activity; representative clients include Bayer Boliviana, Distribuidora Gutierrez y Cia and Kimberly Bolivia. Senior associate Anwar Farah ‘is a strong defender of clients’ interests’, and senior associate Úrsula Font, who is fluent in six languages, is an experienced arbitrator.

Bernardo Wayar Caballero is the key contact at Wayar & Von Borries Abogados S.C., which has become increasingly institutionalised as a result of a modernisation process begun in 2012. From its offices in La Paz and Santa Cruz the firm undertakes litigation in courts across the country, as well as handling international arbitration, primarily under ICC, ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. Iver von Borries, Luis Angel Wayar and Bernardo Wayar Ocampo are all active dispute resolution practitioners and act for a client roster including Aggreko, Pluspetrol, Sumitomo and Gas TransBoliviano.

Mostly active in administrative disputes, the practice at Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. is co-led by Milenka Saavedra and highly regarded arbitration expert Fernando Aguirre. Energy, natural resources and intellectual property are particular areas of activity for the disputes team.

Providing ‘innovative solutions’, Ferrere houses a ‘very effective’ disputes practice that is particularly noted for its ‘experience in complex labour litigation’. Based in La Paz, key litigator Alejandro Pemintel is an ‘experienced, up-to-date’ labour specialist who is especially active in the energy and mining sectors; Lindsay Sykes, based in Santa Cruz, primarily advises clients on dispute prevention. Recent matters saw Pemintel act successfully for Repsol Bolivia in a $1m administrative proceeding against requests to reinstate workers. Other labour litigation clients include Empresa Minera Paitití and COTAS. Pemintel also won several civil litigation cases, with an aggregate value of $28m, for Bradar Industria. Senior associate Fernando Escobar, who specializes in constitutional law, is also noted.

Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016, Serrate Paz y Asociados continues to provide a wide range of clients with regulatory and transactional advice; its experience in telecoms, energy and natural resources is noteworthy. José Mario Serrate Paz, Sr, who chairs the firm, is supported by labour expert Carola Serrate; María Lía Serrate Paz is also recommended. Past clients include AASANA, UNAGRO, Ferrovial Agroman and Tercons.

With 21 lawyers across its offices in La Paz and Santa Cruz, the rapidly diversifying Von Borries Blanco Estudio de Abogados is perhaps still best known for its dispute resolution capabilities. Originally a penal firm (white-collar matters remain significant, particularly in the Santa Cruz office), today’s contentious caseload has expanded with civil, commercial labour and administrative matters as well as domestic arbitration.

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