Dispute resolution in Bolivia

Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C

Complex litigation and arbitration specialist Rodrigo Rivera, in La Paz, and Santa Cruz-based Primitivo Gutiérrez (labour disputes), co-lead Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s disputes practice, which has solid expertise in handling administrative, antitrust and constitutional litigation, notably for construction and industrial clients. A case in point is Cervecería Boliviana Nacional, which the team continues to defend in multiple Supreme Court competition proceedings. Arbitration is another core strength of the group: Ramiro Guevara is highly regarded for international commercial and investment arbitration; while Enrique Barrios, who has ICC, ICSID and IACAC experience, is noted for his expertise in negotiations, including between investor and state. Associate Zoya Galarza is active in competition law matters. Since publication the firm has announced a tie-up with Dentons, effective as of mid-March 2021.

Key clients

Cervecería Boliviana Nacional

TriMetals Mining

Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua

Work highlights

  • Representing Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua in its challenge against the enforcement of a $36m arbitral award.
  • Represented TriMetals Mining in a $25.5m arbitration.

Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados

International arbitration forms a core pillar of the disputes practice at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados, where the 14-strong team has extensive experience acting for investor-side clients in major arbitral proceedings such as Andrés Moreno and Daniel Arredondo’s representation of mining company Macallum Group in a multimillion-dollar arbitration against Guong Ho. The practice is equally at home handling commercial ICC arbitration (with two cases currently in process), and litigation, where 20-year veteran Delfor Zapata takes the lead, including on contentious tax and labour matters.  Zapata co-leads the department in conjunction with  Andrés and Ramiro Moreno, the firm's senior partner; he and René Claure are additional names to note for arbitration.

Key clients

Air BP

Aon

Sysde Internacional

Archer Daniel Midland

Macallum Group

Work highlights

  • Defending software company Sysde Internacional against an arbitration claim brought by Bolivia’s public pension fund administrator, regarding an alleged breach of contract relating to the design and implementation of new software for managing a $950m pension fund portfolio.
  • Defending insurance company Aseguradora Fortaleza against an arbitration claim brought by Empetrol.
  • Representing Archer Daniel Midland in litigation following the sale of its Bolivian business to Alicorp.

C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados

Operating from both Santa Cruz and La Paz, the 'professional’ team at C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados undertakes commercial, criminal, labour and civil litigation but has been especially active in the area of high-value debt recovery disputes, of late. The department is also well known for handling arbitration. Litigation specialist Manfredo Kempff and associate Gonzalo Cordero co-lead the practice with additional associates of note in a strong second line including Grisset Carrasco and Rafael Humérez. With a primarily environment focused practice, Sandra Salinas is also active in litigation matters; while on the arbitration front, Diego Rojas is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Manfredo Kempff; Gonzalo Cordero

Testimonials

C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados has a professional team.’

A good multi-disciplinary team’.

Good client care’.

Key clients

Volvo Construction Equipment

FCA Group

Banco Nacional de Bolivia

VTF Latin America

Work highlights

  • Representing Volvo Construction Equipment in a multimillion-dollar debt recovery claim.
  • Acted for FCA Fiat Chrysler Automóveis Brasil in a dispute concerning alleged breach of contract.

PPO Abogados

The 18-strong contentious team at PPO Abogados is co-led by Lindsay Sykes, who focuses on complex cross-border disputes, and La Paz-based Alejandro Pemintel whose practice centres on dispute resolution and conciliation, particularly regarding energy, natural resources and labour matters. The department is adept at handling civil, commercial, and labour disputes, and arbitration is also a core strength. The group has experienced change, however, with the departure of former practice co-head, litigation specialist Gerardo Villagómez, in mid-2019, followed by that of arbitral associate Diego Villarroel (who moved in house at Banco Ganadero) in October, and then white-collar and constitutional law specialist, senior associate Daniel Mogrovejo, in April 2020. Despite these losses, senior associate Fernando Escobar (litigation and ADR) leads a solid second line in which fellow senior Luz Marina Iriarte and associates Emiliano Hernández and Bruno Cuellar are also noted.

Testimonials

The firm’s litigation and arbitration team consistently provides far superior quality and practical analysis to those of the market average. Having worked with other local firms in Bolivia, PPO is synonymous with quality. Its legal analysis of complex Bolivian law issues is excellent. The breadth of their practice allows them to advise on disputes or specialised issues related to any industry. For each case and each topic, they have a specialist. When we ask for help to analyse a topic or argument as a local counsel in international arbitrations, we know that we are going to receive a quality product. They also stand out for their proactivity, creativity in developing arguments and strategies, dedication to the client and quick response. All this makes them an ideal team to work as local counsel in highly complex and high-profile international arbitrations.’

Lindsay Sykes is excellent. She stands out for her proactivity, her availability and her ability to find practical solutions to complex problems. She is highly organised in leading her team of associates and handling cases, and consistently produces quality analysis.’

Key clients

Glencore

Akzo Nobel

Cargill

Nestlé

Pinturas Coral

ArcelorMittal

Hyundai Byucksan

Work highlights

  • Acting for Glencore in UNCITRAL proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration against the Bolivian state seeking damages for the unlawful seizure and expropriation of assets; value $680m
  • Represented Pinturas Coral in successful arbitration concerning unfair competition by its distributor Grupo Ribepar; value $30m.
  • Acting for ArcelorMittal in a $1m debt recovery claim.

Indacochea & Asociados

Debt recovery cases have been prominent in the recent workload for the six-strong team at Indacochea & Asociados which has grown by some 35% since 2018. The department has solid credentials representing clients from the construction, agro-industrial and healthcare sectors - in particular - in contentious matters, and also counts arbitration and conciliation, and public defense, as another core focus areas. Senior associates Marcelo Longaric and  Candys Dorado co-lead the practice; and associate Juan Pablo Sanchez is active in arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Marcelo Longaric; Candys Dorado

Testimonials

Top-level professionals’.

They have excellent relationships with clients’.

Key clients

Global Alimentos

Tradeco

University of Zamorano

Work highlights

  • Assisting NDT Innovations Bolivia with a $16m debt recovery claim.
  • Assisting the University of Zamorano with several debt recovery cases.

Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)

Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)’s contentious practice has gained greater solidity with the June 2019 hire of Ariel Morales from C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados, as head of the litigation practice, joining IP-specialist Milenka Saavedra, who coordinates the disputes practice; and Gonzalo Prudencio, who leads on disputes matters - including tax and labour litigation - from the Santa Cruz office. While the bulk of the current caseload is labour, IP and collections-related, the team is also currently active in administrative, customs and white-collar litigation, as well as civil and commercial matters. Senior partner Fernando Aguirre and Santiago Nishizawa are the key figures for arbitral matters.

Testimonials

Dr Fernando Aguirre is the standout figure at the firm for his experience and judicial knowledge.’

Key clients

BULGARI S.p.A

Louis Vuitton Malletier

Samaritan’s Purse

Crocs

Red Bull

Sociedad Aceitera del Orienta (SAO )

LATAM Airlines Group

Futuro de Bolivia (APF)

Work highlights

  • Advised Caterpillar Leasing Chile on collection proceedings against Royal, followed by negotiations and an agreement; valuse $15m.

Serrate Paz y Asociados

José Mario Serrate Paz, Sr and Jose Mario Serrate Paz Ramajo (who 'stands out for his skill in arbitration’) jointly head the six-strong practice at Serrate Paz y Asociados, which counts arbitration - domestic, international, commercial and investor - as its key pillar of strength. Perhaps best known for advising clients drawn from the energy, telecoms and natural resources sectors, the firm is also necessarily active in contentious administrative cases, where María Lía Serrate Paz Ramajo is noted for her expertise in administrative litigation.

Testimonials

The team always provides creative solutions’.

Jose Mario Serrate Paz Ramajo stands out for his skill in arbitration’.

Serrate Paz & Asociados has a lot of experience in corporate, administrative, regulatory, corporate and labour matters. Jose Mario Serrate Paz Jr stands out for his ability in arbitration litigation and complex negotiations; MarÍa Lía Serrate Paz stands out for the solutions to administrative controversies; and Carola Serrate excels in labour procedures.’

Key clients

Newrest Bolivia

Rovella Carranza

Telecel

Work highlights

  • Defending construction company Rovella Carranza in administrative litigation brought by the Bolivian Roads Authority.

Von Borries Blanco Estudio de Abogados

Undertaking litigation across the administrative, mining and hydrocarbons, commercial, banking, civil (including contracts), labour, criminal, IP and telecoms sectors, Von Borries Blanco Estudio de Abogados’ contentious practice is nevertheless perhaps best known for handling white-collar crime litigation, where it has an established track record. The team also handles international and domestic arbitration cases. Sebastián Egüez Jelski is the name to note.

Practice head(s):

Sebastián Egüez Jelski

Wayar & Von Borries Abogados S.C.

Wayar & Von Borries Abogados S.C. has an excellent reputation for its arbitration capabilities, particularly in international cases taking place under ICSID, ICC, and UNCITRAL rules. The key practice figures are managing partner Bernardo Wayar Caballero (domestic and international arbitration; administrative and regulatory law); Bernardo Wayar Ocampo (arbitration, corporate and commercial law), Luis Angel Wayar (administrative, regulatory and real estate law), and Iver von Borries (arbitration; administrative, corporate and hydrocarbons law). Support comes from a six-strong associate group who all participate in arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Bernardo Wayar Caballero