Cali in Colombia

Colombia’s third largest city by population (approx. 2.25m), Cali’s relatively shallow legal market belies a significant commercial history that saw both the US and Great Britain open consul offices in the city, and where the Raisbeck firm – the forerunner of the Colombian office of today’s Baker McKenzie – came to market prominence. An industrial city, it nevertheless has a marked orientation towards the Valle De Cauca’s agricultural production -which can count on export via the country’s key Pacific-coast port, Buenaventura- and the service sector. Hit hard by the departure of -in particular- auto manufacturers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and subsequently by the commodity crisis of 2014, the region has nevertheless bounced back, coming somewhat into fashion with foreign investors, at least until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.Little had prepared the City to become one of the focal points for disturbances during the social protests that errupted nationwide in late April and May (amidst the panedmic), initally sparked by the tax reform presented by Ivan Duque's administration. While narratives differ, repressive policing of a peaceful demonstration in the Siloe neighbourhood certainly resulted in five civilian deaths and numerous injuries. The city's social fabric also suffered, most notably with  attacks on the city's mass transport system, leaving buses and stations burnt out and some 60% of the system destroyed.The legal market offering remains more atomised than that of Medellín and the market boasts fewer firms that have consolidated their institutional presence, although this is now increasingly taking place. Instead, the market has resorted to inter-firm (and sole-practitioner) associations –temporary or more long-lasting– to facilitate the coverage of clients’ requirements. Local corporate firm Caicedos Holguines Abogados, for example, has a cooperation agreement with Seguridad Legal for data protection and tech matters, but at the same time maintains a concurrent association with Advocat.Of the Bogotá heavyweights, only Brigard Urrutia maintains a permanent presence in the city. Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA), however, is ramping-up its engagement with the city and region: despite the October 2020 loss of associate (and Valle del Cauca native) Jorge Iván López -formerly at Seguridad Legal– who was active on data privacy matters in the region, the fim has organised a six-strong Cali desk in the Bogotá office and can also call on experienced corporate/M&A of counsel Juliana Goméz, who is resident in the city.

Colombia’s complex topography has -necessarily- been a significant factor in the country’s development, isolating certain regions and cities and thereby ensuring the development of their own specific cultural traits, styles of business and modes of interaction. Long before low cost-airlines and 3G and 4G highway modernizations greatly facilitated domestic travel, this was particularly the case in cities such as Medellín and Cali (the country’s second and third largest cities by population, and the regional capitals of Antioquia and Valle de Cauca, respectively). Such local cultural norms have in turn influenced local legal provision – and indeed, the ability of the generally larger Bogotá-based firms to effectively penetrate these markets in their drive to offer genuinely national coverage. Characterised by fixed fees and cuota litis rather than the billable hour, these markets should -nevertheless- not be considered insignificant. Cali, for example, has enjoyed the presence of Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Smurfitt Kappa and Baxter, among other multinationals; while Medellín boasts local titans Grupo Argos, Grupo Nutresa, Bancolombia, Celsia, EPM and Grupo Sura – and all their associated supply and service lines.What follows is a non-ranked listing of the key legal market participants and their respective market offerings; we fully expect to deepen this analysis into a ranking-by-sector over the course of the next editions.

Advocat

Now head-quartered in Bogotá, up-and-coming young firm Advocat was originally founded in Cali, and continues to bear its imprimatur, not least in terms of its attention to clients from the Valle del Cauca. Founded in 2015 by a group of lawyers who had all experienced working at one of Bogota's full-service players, the firm has positioned itself strongly in the region by offering a one-stop-shop service uncommon in the local market, proving itself highly competitive in the upper mid-market. Its broad practice offering includes corporate and M&A, banking and capital markets, labour, IP, tax advisory, energy and natural resources, infrastructure and projects, and real estate, along with work for not-for-profit and social-purpose entities. Key office-partner Nicolás Fernández De Soto is a finance, banking and capital markets specialist whose practice reaches into investment matters, infrastructure and projects, as well as corporate law and M&A. He also co-leads the energy practice with Francisco Cabal, who has a 15 year trajectory in the sector (particularly oil and gas), and in turn, co-heads the corporate/M&A practice with corporate-transactional, project finance and real estate specialist María Claudia Armenta; and corporate and company law specialist María Isabel Rodríguez. Labour partner Camilo Bernal also has some 15 years' experience in his speciality, with clients describing 'an excellent, up-to-date, open and reliable lawyer', with 'extensive experience and knowledge, as well as interpersonal skills'. Moreover, the firm expanded its partnership in April 2021, hiring former Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) senior, Victor Ayalde -who can also count on substantial in-house experience- as partner responsible for competition and consumer protection; and technology, privacy and telecoms, adding significant specialisations to the firms growing offering.

Testimonials

Advocat has specialised lawyers in each area that requires legal advice and support, and efficient people who are at the forefront in legal aspects of the sector, who generate ideas, are proactive and review possible scenarios where future contingencies may exist. The experience, the wide portfolio of services. Some even have international experience and when the case requires it, alliances are made with other firms of equal prestige.

They’re always ahead regarding processes, legislation, technology, brand management.

Advocat has in one place all the legal advice that a company may need, not only on Colombian regulatory issues but also its ability to analyse across borders. We have used its services in the structuring of large international financial operations where, through Advocat, we have been able to relate perfectly with our international counterparts. First of all it is a young and very dynamic group. Studious and always ready to go the extra mile. It has very competitive prices with the same or better quality than other well-known firms in Colombia.

Advocat has a unique style, uncomplicated, easy to access and above all very reliable. They always go one step beyond the requested one. Its understanding of financial regulatory matters in Colombia is very deep.

The Advocat firm has a special characteristic. An interdisciplinary group in the different legal areas that allows a 360 vision of the problem to be addressed. They are constantly updating the current regulations, which give the assurance of a real solution to the problem.

Advocat lawyers with comprehensive professionals, that is, they have exceptional knowledge regarding their specialties, but additionally they have excellent teamwork that makes their responses agile, specific and accurate. Additionally, it is important to value that they are genuinely involved with the problem and focus on the specific solution according to the nature and objective of the company.’

The financial model they use to collect their services is efficient and according to needs. The hourly mode, where you have a monthly time bag that can be used in the different legal areas that the company needs. For us, this model has been very efficient because every month we have had different requirements with our organizational culture that have been resolved without additional costs.’

Our employment advisor Camilo Bernal is excellent. His extensive experience and knowledge, as well as the interpersonal skills that he possesses, make advising him a high-quality experience and generates great confidence. He is an excellent, up-to-date, open, reliable lawyer who takes the time to understand the type of organisation we are to give advice that makes sense and contributes to our needs. He’s excellent!’

Their openness to implement new processes according to our internal policies that facilitate joint work, make the difference with the willingness to seek solutions and middle ground rather than being rigid in their processes, which is fundamental in a global and changing organisation such as ours.

Key clients

Suramerica Comercial (Dollarcity)

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional

Inverlink

Andino Capital Partners

Colfinanzas

British Council

Nabors

Cartonera Nacional

Andritz Group

Paladin Realty Partners

Tate & Lyle

Telcolombia

Logicalis Colombi

Neogas Colombia

Finesa

Addactis Latina

Work highlights

  • Assisted Inverlink Inversiones Alternativas, as lender in an asset backed financing facility extended to Fideicomiso Portafolios ABF for the acquisition of non-performing loans, handling the structuring the transaction – which included the funding of the lender, and the collateral and payment source mechanism.
  • Assisted Movile, as seller, with the transfer of the shares of Wavy to acquirer Sinch, inolving an indirect transfer of Movile’s shares in Cyclelogic Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá, Perú, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and México; undertaking the coordination and completing of conditions precedent for closing, including the anti-trust filings to complete the transaction in Colombia.
  • Advised Olympo MC on the purchase of the participatory interests held by Turkish Petroleum International Company and the change of control of MKMS to acquire a 100% interest in the Maria Conchita Block and gas wells located in Guajira Province, along with their subsequent partial sale (with carry commitments) to NG Energy Corp.

Ayerbe Abogados

Founded in 1941, Ayerbe Abogados is the oldest firm in the region. Nine-strong -sizeable for the local market- the firm culture prioritizes ‘law as a vocation’ and exemplifies the role of personalised partner-contact that typifies the Cali market. While remaining small by national standards, it has nevertheless developed, opening a Bogotá office in 1997. Notably it remains one of the few Cali offices with an IP offering. Other services include foreign tax, competition, energy, environment and agricultural law, but it is corporate, labour and commercial/civil matters -including litigation across all areas- that constitute the core of the firm’s offering. All the firm’s lawyers handle matters across these sectors, with clients receiving a nominated partner-contact rather than being attended by differing departments. Senior partners Rodrigo Ayerbe Muñoz and Felipe Ayerbe Muñoz represent the firm’s second generation and head the firm’s Cali and Bogotá offices, respectively; both focus primarily on corporate matters and significant litigation. With over 25 years at the firm, labour specialist Andrés Rodrigo Flórez focuses primarily on individual employment cases and collective bargaining; client favourite Rodrigo Ayerbe Arango‘s practice also centres on labour matters. The firm has excellent relations with major corporates present in the south west region; a case in point being the secondment of Valentina Naranjo and María Juliana Gallego as local in-house counsel for Colgate-Palmolive on a rolling basis. Civil specialist Claudia Romero Estrada, who has over 20 years in practice, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rodrigo Ayerbe Muñoz

Key clients

Avianca

Banco de Colombia

Banco Occidente

Mayagüez

Siderúrgica del Pacífico

Tecnoquímicas

Termovalle

American Pipe Construction

Bristol Myers Squibb

Cadbury Schweppes

Colgate Palmolive

The Gillette Company

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Corporation

International Paper

Johnson & Johnson International

Kintetsu World Express

Kraft General Foods

Pfizer

Polymer Group

Reckitt & Benckiser

Rockefeller Foundation

Kellog Foundation

Sanofi-Aventis

Takeda

Asociación Bancaria Colombiana

Brigard Urrutia

The on-the-ground presence of corporate national champion Brigard Urrutia in Cali is limited to one partner and one associate (although its facilities can accommodate larger teams from Bogotá as required); nevertheless, the firm’s footprint in both the city and the wider southwest region is simply undeniable. The office is directed by Alejandro Garcia de Brigard (also the firm’s competition and antitrust head of practice), whose broad corporate engagement involves strategic corporate advice and representation, particularly regarding transactions, day-to-day operations and regulatory matters; he is assisted by transactional associate Laura Valentina Vargas. Moreover, the firm has successfully grown its pipeline of mandates in the region from general advisory to the full breadth of corporate and transactional specialisations available at its Bogotá office. The firm is standing local counsel to a slew of major corporates across Valle de Cauca and beyond, particularly for sizeable, complex and/or technically sophisticated matters. Typical of the firm’s specialist ongoing advice is its role as local counsel to Zonamerica Usuario Operado de Zona Franca, the Colombian operator of Cali’s free-trade zone, the first in Colombia focuses solely upon services, regarding telecom, media and technology issues, public procurement and customs. Another standing client is Gases del Occidente, the Valle del Cauca’s natural gas provider, which the firm advises on dispute resolution, natural resources, renewable energy and energy efficiency law matters, among others.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro García de Brigard

Testimonials

Brigard provides ongoing legal advice on regulatory topics and corporate topics. The firm has extensive experience advising local and foreign companies on corporate topic, license to operate, distribution schemes, and effective procedures to enable investment in Colombia.

They keep a personal relationship with us and they are always sharing new regulations that might affect our license to operate in the country, to try to bring solutions.

The team is solid and has the best attitude and commitment to the client.

The personalised attention differentiates this firm from its competitors.

Maria Carolina Uribe is an excellent attorney and defends her clients with the loyalty of an in-house attorney.’

One of BU’s added values ​​is that its entire team turns to our legal service. Thus, their internal knowledge of my organization is very high and the level and speed of response increases over time.

In general terms, the differential element is the type of service and the accumulated knowledge. In such a way that there is a wealth of knowledge that increases after each case or consultation.’

Quality of service, knowledge, closeness, mystique and commitment.

BU is one of the most important firms in Colombia. Having lawyers specialized in different legal practices make them exceptional partners.

[Bogotá-based] ‘Sergio Michelsen is a lawyer specialised in corporate matters who is characterized by providing comprehensive advice to his clients, solving his needs through the firm’s resources.

Key clients

Bancolombia

Ecopetrol

Asociación Colombiana de Fondos de Capital Privado (Colcapital)

Blackrock Institutional Trust Company

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)

Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina

Credit Suisse Securities

Citibank

Suzuki Motor de Colombia

Christus Health

Sinergia Global en Salud

Gases de Occidente

Almacenes La 14

CI de Azucares y Mieles

Zonamerica Usuario Operador de Zonafranca

Seguridad Atlas

Stec Participaciones

Baño Móvil de Colombia

Manuelita

Ingenio Providencia

Riopaila Castilla

Ingeniería Maquinaria y Equipos de Colombia (IMECOL)

Corporación R&T

China Automotriz

Ingredion Colombia

Servicio de Comercio Estratégico (Unico Outlets)

Fashion Factory

Santa Anita Nápoles

Cargill Trading Colombia

Laboratorios Laverlam

Siderurgica del Occidente

Sociedad Puerto Industrial Agua Dulce

Laboratorios Baxter

Italcol de Occidente

Aerocali

Celsia Colombia

Noux

Fanalca

Colgate Palmolive

Cámara de Comercio de Cali

Goodyear de Colombia

Industria Colombiana De Dotaciones Metalicas

Brinsa

Processoft

Mindray Medical Colombia

Work highlights

  • Advised Christus Health on the acquisition of a 50% stake in Sinergia Global en Salud; the firm acts as permanent legal advisor to the client on matters of corporate, tax and labour law.
  • Advised automotive parts manufacturer, Fanalca, in the tender process for the operation of the SITP fleet in Bogotá; the firm acts as the client’s permanent legal advisor in matters of corporate, labour, environmental, infrastructure, public utilities and tax  law.
  • Acts as CIAMSA’s permanent legal advisor on corporate, environmental, custom, tax and labour law matters.

Espíndola International Consultants

With a 40 year trajectory, international trade and customs specialist Espíndola International Consultants has morphed over the course of its existence, with founding partner and firm director Carlos Espindola-Scarpetta shifting the operational structure from a 40-strong firm to a less-sizeable operation which employ alliances as necessary. The firm maintains rep offices in both Bogotá and Medellín, but nevertheless also has a five-year-old cooperation agreement with Arrubla Devis Asociados (Bogota and Medellín), and a similar arrangement with leading administrative boutique Maria Claudia Rojas & Asociados in Cali. In part given the nature of its practice focus, the firm also coordinates work across not just the country but also the Latin American region as a whole, recently working with US international trade specialist Travis, Sandler & Rosemburg. Beyond IT&C the firm also handles maritime law, transportation and logistics, foreign investment and exchange, and administrative, civil, corporate, finance, insurance and tax law, along with compliance. Key support comes from associates Lorena Hernández Agudelo (corporate, compliance, IT&C and contracts); María Alejandra Arevalo and Diana Lorena Herrera (who both primarily focus on IT&C, maritime law and logistics; along with corporate and commercial law and forex matters), and the very active Karol Marín and Claudia Bernate. The team was recently strengthened with further hires in 2020, including senior associate Martha Hernández D’Silvestre (who handles labour matters) and associate Andrea Delgado-Perdomo, a former administrative judge.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Espíndola

Testimonials

I have been witness to Carlos Espindola-Scarpetta’s very sharp critical sense, his profound knowledge of law, his ease of exposition and his analytic capacity, not to mention his undoubted leadership and the sense of responsibility he shows in undertaking the work with which he is entrusted.

We have used the services of the office of Doctor Espíndola since the beginning of 2019, initially focused on a strategic property purchase-sale operation where we have installed our new distribution centre and main offices, through a mixed local and foreign investment operation, achieving negotiation and support that led us to successfully complete the closing of this operation, which was so important to us. In addition to legal advice in the aforementioned case, we have counted on the services of Doctor Espíndola’s office in different areas of the company, from analysis of particular private contracting cases and our day to day matters, up to robust cases of customs and tax order before the tax authority and Colombia’s National Customs authority, with very satisfactory results for us.

Dr Carlos Espíndola is a highly respected professional with a high tradition in the country and especially in the Valle del Cauca region, and whom I know personally in his work as a lawyer and academic and of whom I have only the best references for his work in these areas.

Key clients

TM Médicas

Importadora Cali

Imecol

Auto Trucks

Tridimensionar

RTA Desing

Colombina

Macoser

Peñarroyo

ADM (Bolivia )

Tensoactivos

Ingenio Pichichí

Refrastrabe

Medicore Pharma

Energizar

International Trade Imports / The Ricky Joy Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Auto Trucks on the structuring of the strategy and legal vehicle necessary to develop the exclusive distribution in Colombia of state-of-the-art heavy machinery and trucks from Europe.
  • Advised TM Medicas on a strategic legal consideration regarding complex customs issues related to the importation of medical devices into Colombia.
  • Advised Imecol on customs issues regarding the temporary import into Colombia of heavy agriculture equipment that will have structural and strategic impacts to the core business of the company.

Franco Murgueitio & Asociados

With its 30 year trajectory in the market Franco Murgueitio & Asociados is ‘a gateway to local knowledge of Cali and the southwestern region of Colombia‘, The 19-strong firm (split more or less evenly between its legal and accountancy practices), is centred firmly on tax and corporate matters – although it also handles labour and social security, and foreign exchange matters. Key focus areas include tax consultancy, tax planning, administrative and judicial tax litigation, and wealth/estate planning, along with all tax aspects of M&A and business reorganisations Accustomed to working with significant multinationals -such as Pernod Ricard, Brenntag and Danfoss, among others- as well as with local clients, it is particularly active in the commercial and service sectors, and -to a slightly lesser degree- the manufacturing industries and education. Head of both the tax and corporate practices at the firm, Santiago Meza Mafla (a former head of tax and legal services at PwC for over a decade) is a deeply experienced figure with more than 25 years’ experience in tax structuring and tax planning matters, as well as wealth management for both individuals and businesses. Meza is flanked by associate legal director David Ernesto Martinez, who handles matters across the administrative, corporate, litigious and tax legal sectors for both local and international clients; and associate accountancy and tax director Juan Camilo Acosta, who is both a lawyer and a qualified accountant. The entire operation is overseen by founding partner Luis Hernando Franco Murgueitio, an estate planning specialist with additional expertise regarding international contracting, corporate law, and tax planning, strategy and structuring. Since publication the firm has experienced a significant spin off with Meza leading the departure of much of the tax team -both lawyers and accountants- to establish Santiago Meza Abogados & Asesores, as of December 2021.

Practice head(s):

Santiago Meza Mafla

Testimonials

Very good local tax practice in Cali. They know the context and local authorities well, offering a very good service.

The firm is definitely a gateway to local knowledge of Cali and the southwestern region of Colombia.’

Key clients

Centro Comercial Único

Almacenes Si

Danfoss

Pernod Ricard Colombia

Comfandi

Comestibles Aldor

Eka Corporación

Enertotal

Refinadora Nacional de Aceites y Grasas

Metalicas e Ingenieria

Rexico,  (Franquicia Frisby)

Andina de Seguridad Ltda.

Seguridad de Occidente Ltda.

Colegio Bolivar

Agecoldex nivel 1

Nutrición de Plantas

Cementos Cauca

MM packaging

Brenntag Colombia

Dacar

Work highlights

  • Legal and tax advice to Centros Comerciales de la Costa regarding a business reorganisation strategy throughout the commercial division company, for which comprehensive accompaniment was provideded, from the evaluation of the operation to the tax analysis of the same; approximate value $70.8m.
  • Legal and tax advice to Unitres on a business reorganisation strategy through the merger-by-absorption of commercial companies, for which comprehensive support was provided, from the evaluation of the economic merger of the operation to the tax analysis of the same; approximate values $73.9m.
  • Legal and tax advice to Operadora de Comercio on a business reorganisation strategy through the merger-by-absorption of commercial companies, providing comprehensive support from the evaluation of the economic merger to tax analysis of the same; approxixmate vales $174m.

Hurtado & Gandini

Founded in 2000, today Hurtado & Gandini is a medium-size, 18-strong player in the Cali / Valle del Cauca regional market. The firm undertakes both advisory work – principally regarding corporate, contractual, labour, real estate, technology and tax matters – and contentious work, with the litigation team handling primarily commercial, company law, labour and social security, insurance and administrative disputes. Managing partner Francisco José Hurtado directs the litigation practice and maintains a broad contentious practice handling civil, commercial, administrative, criminal and insolvency matters; he has a particular niche expertise in insurance-related disputes. Fellow name-partner Fernando Gandini (‘great qualities of efficiency and effectiveness‘), is head of the firm’s corporate and commercial department and has experience across a broad range of commercial and industrial sectors; he is particularly adept at the planning and structuring of corporate vehicles. Well-known labour specialist Julián Dávalos is director of the labour and social security team, handling both advisory and contentious matters with key support from associate Leidy Johana Chica. Ana María Olave‘s dual practice covers real estate and tax – primarily wealth and estate planning; while Gloria Inés Hurtado  is a ports and maritime specialist with related experience in the public sector. Associate support is led by senior Christián Camilo Vallecilla, who focuses on civil and insurance litigation; and intermediates Orlando Arango, María Camila Velasco and Paula Andrea Duenas.

Testimonials

Hurtado & Gandini’s team of lawyers has a strong knowledge of corporate matters, they serve their clients with the importance they deserve, and they dedicate time to understand their clients’ business.

Fernando Gandini, partner of the firm, has great qualities of efficiency and effectiveness.’

The diversity and strategy of addressing the issues stand out from other firms.’

This work team is exceptional, with knowledge that allows confidence and peace of mind to make decisions in the company. They are strategic allies of our organisation. Immediate attention directly with the directors, always very timely, that is why they stand out over any other office that we have had in the past.

All very appropriate to Colombian regulations.

Easy and agile procedures.’

Key clients

Grupo Cargill

Laboratorios Baxter

Grupo Carvajal

Fortox

Cementos San Marcos

Siderúrgica de Occidente

Inversiones Construandes

Empresas Municipales de Cali (EMCALI)

Vatia

Niponautos

Danaro

Cat Group

Fundación Bennett

Cabal Vásquez & Cia

Farah Mozo & Cia

Aquila Pacífico

RTS

Clínica San Fernando

Pangea Natural Products

Blanco y Negro Masivo

Inversiones Guilcemar

Riopaila Castilla

Disproquin

Unión Temporal Recaudo y Tecnología (UT R&T)

Comercializadora Giraldo y Gómez

Hamburgo Capital

Greendipity

Wolthers & Associates Colombia

Agrícola Comercial Industrial – Agricominsa

Plaspet

Manchola Asociados

Regency Service de Colombia

Allers

Productora Maquilco S.A.S.

Option

MCH

Gases de Occidente

COM Automotriz

Agrored

Constructora de Obras de Ingeniería Civil

Bio-Stevia

Instituto Aquila de Gestao

Malca Gómez Janeth

Comercial Eximpo

Diasol

Fondo Privado

Quinta Sur S.A.S.

Absolute Management

Ammi Bienes

Chubb Seguros Colombia

Construcciones y Manutenciones Electromecánicas

Empresa Global de Proyectos de Ingeniería

Payanes Asociados

Quimpac de Colombia

Castañeda Vaca

Dulram

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Carvajal Pulpa y Papel in six claims for reinstatement in which the junion claimed jurisdiction even though the individuals involved wer contractors and not employees.
  • Strucutured a $40m acquisition of shares (and associated fiscal impact of the operation) issued by Cementos San Marcos, on behalf of Siderúigica de Occidente.
  • Judicial representation of Quinta Sur in arbitration proceedings, before the sole arbitrator Antonio Pabón Santander, brought against Quinta Sur by the Fiduciaria Bancolombia; estimated value: $1m.

Ignacio Sanín Bernal y Cía Abogados

The Cali office of the Medellín-headquartered Ignacio Sanín Bernal y Cía Abogados [see City Focus: Medellín] handles tax matters (the firm also has in-house accountants and auditors), general business law (corporate and company law), and litigation, along with labour and exchange matters, although the latter two are not standalone practices. Office head and tax-practice co-director Carlos Alberto Lemos is a tax specialist with a strong commercial aspect to his practice; formerly a legal manager at KPMG, where he spent five years, he joined the firm in December 2019. The corporate practice is led (from Medellin) by director Ángela Patricia Hoyos Espinoza. Recent growth has seen the firm bring in three associates during the course of 2021. Since publication, the firm has merged in to global audit, accounting and consulting group, Mazars, with effect from February 2022.

Testimonials

Its a prestigous name; I highlight their research and knowledge of legal issues.

Key clients

HBFuller

CI Iblu

Dyval

YKK Colombia

Ingenio La Cabaña

Torrecafé Aguila Roja

Groupe Seb (IMUSA)

Valores Industriales

Radiólogos Asociados

INVENSA

Casacol

Protécnica

1,2 Tree

PilyQ

Jaramillo Pets

Willow Pharma

Seti

Primos

Conix

Industria Agromecánica (Inagromecánica) – in liquidation

Work highlights

  • Restructuring of a real estate conglomerate composed of approximately 6 operational companies, through the contribution in kind of a of their shares to a Colombian Holding Company, which will serve as parent company to the conglomerate.
  • Restructured -by means of the incorporation and in-kind contribution to a subsidiary- the way certain strategic shares were held in a publicly listed company -Valores Industriales- in order to reinforce its political rights in a related company.

Kärner, Botero, Segura & Valdivieso Abogados

Founded in 2017 and warmly praised by clients for its 'quality of care' and 'dedication to each process', Kärner, Botero, Segura & Valdivieso Abogados is a dynamic young presence in the Cali market and focuses primarily on corporate and M&A, labour and real estate matters, with the notable differentiator of an international trade and customs offering. Highlighted for his 'ease in communicating legal recommendations', the depth of his responses and cordiality, senior partner Julián Andrés Segura leads both the corporate and M&A department (which also handles company law matters), and the above-noted IT&C offering. Key support in the former area comes from managing partner Eduardo José Botero, who 'stands out for his dedication, kindness and knowledge' (he also has finance expertise); and Juan Antonio Martínez Kärner, who also co-leads on labour matters with commercial/finance specialist Pedro Jose Valdivieso. The line-up is completed by Felipe Valencia Serrano, highlighted for his 'commitment and professionalism', 'clarity', 'agility' and 'responsiveness', who is the firm's real estate and urban planning specialist, and also handles consumer matters. Despite the difficult legal scenario during 2020, the firm expanded with the addition of a legal assistant, Caroline Duque C, in September 2020.

Testimonials

Their quality of care makes them unique. Their dedication to each process. And above all their availability for work regardless of the time. Eduardo Botero stands out for his dedication, kindness and knowledge.

Technology is the main novelty of the firm, and especially its availability at all times.

We appreciate the commitment and professionalism, their professional updating, the clarity with which they explain the advisory issues to the clients, their  agility and responsiveness. I highight the partners Felipe Valencia and Eduardo Jose Botero.

Great attention and management of technologies and communication and the rapid response to advisory issues.

They are a young team of committed professionals, they have always attended us in a very formal way, but are also very close; there is always a special person in charge for us who is the one with whom we communicate the most, but we know that this person on the team is in constant contact with his partners and collaborators to advise us,  and that gives strength and support.

Our primary relationship is with partner Eduardo Botero, since he is in charge of our company account; he is a focused and down-to-earth person, purposeful in most cases and very open to talk, which gives security and confidence.

We know that when it is necessary, he communicates with his partners to ask about specific issues that he does not handle in depth and once he has clarified and discussed with them, he meets once again with us – but we have not had much direct contact with the others.

The handling of cases, processes, and topics to be discussed is very flexible, they are very adaptable to situations, we can communicate both formally and on emergency occasions and they are available to us either in person or virtually. They advise us being very clear and explaining very well the pros and cons depending on the situation we are in. This gives us a sense of security and back-up.

They apply technology and digital tools very well to maintain communication, order and records.’

The strengths and abilities of the team are: 1. Comprehensive legal advice. 2. Effectiveness in attending to inquiries. 3. Specialised and personalised service, as other botique firms do. 4. Professionalism and excellent customer service.It definitely compares favourably to teams from other firms.

The plus that makes them stand out from other law firms is the promptness of response to requests and inquiries that were made, ensuring that the questions raised are fully resolved.

The most relevant qualities of the partner Julián Andrés Segura Restrepo are: 1. Legal investigation.2. Ease in communicating legal recommendations. 3. Depth in the answers to the questions.4. Cordiality in counseling. 5. Excellent writing techniques

I learned that the law firm is expanding its group of advisers, for which reason a new member named Carolina Duque was hired.

Having jointly built between the KBSV firm and a local Foundation that works for the family, a social responsibility program that provides free legal guidance and support (legal office) to low-income families in the city of Cali -Colombia This care within the framework of this program does not discriminate by gender, social, economic, cultural, racial, religious or ethnic status. Most of these families see their life projects cut short because they lack the financial resources to access a lawyer to help them solve their multiple legal problems. With the program they access this service at no cost.

Both certified lawyers and students in professional practice must first of all have a high social sensitivity that allows them to  “connect” with their clients – in this case,  people who are part of families in communities living in poverty conditions. The Foundation guides and sensitizes these professionals so that they understand the “logic” and ways of life of these communities and provides tools for approaching them.

Its high social sensitivity and sense of solidarity service to people and families living in conditions of economic and social marginality in the city. The awareness that allows them to understand that it is necessary to contribute, from their discipline, with a process that facilitates the development of families with a positive effect on social development.

Key clients

Soluciones y Tecnología

Etigraf

Bautista-Ochoa asociados

Le asesoramos

Simotos

Reusapp de Colombia

El Madero Carpinteria

Féminas Contigo

Group Selection

Servitractores Berbo

Juan Antonio Taborda Peluquería

Fundación Plan de Apoyo Familiar

Global Service Food.co

Ochoa Hermanos Asociados

Work highlights

  • Advised Soluciones y Tecnología (SOLYTEC) on real estate matters, related to the acquisition of residential and commercial properties.
  • Advised and represented Etiquetas e Impresos Gráficos (ETIGRAF) in a litigious corproate and commercial dispute
  • Advised Féminas Contigo on intellectual property matters such as trade mark and patents, as well as on other company-law issues.

Saavedra Becerra Abogados

Although its sole office is now in Bogota, Saavedra Becerra Abogados nevertheless has a long-established profile in Cali, an orientation reflected in its caseload and client roster. Indeed, warmly endorsed by clients for its 'highly prepared', 'multidisciplinary' and 'very professional' team, the five-strong boutique is regarded as the southwest region’s ‘go-to’ firm for public law issues - especially in relation to projects and state contracting; it is best known for concessions, private-public-partnership (PPP) matters and tort law. A former president of Colombia’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, Ramiro Becerra is a senior market figure with regard to administrative law, public procurement, torts and state liabilities; he is also a listed arbitrator of the Chambers of Commerce of both Cali and Bogotá. Managing partner and key contact Carlos Saavedra can draw on past experience at both the Institute for Urban Development (IDU) and the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), as well as extensive private practice experience; his practice too stretches across the full range of infrastructure and PPP matters, as well as covering corporate and commercial law. A certified legal project manager as of 2020, Saavedra has implemented legal project management techniques that have proved a hit with clients: 'methodologies, divided into stages, that allow us to achieve the objectives accurately, adjusted to the requirements that we have', and which are '-without doubt- a great differential strength'. Key support comes from senior associate Ana Marcela Albarracín, a specialist in liability, damages and compensation, state contracting and administrative law; and associate Luisa Fernanda Zorro.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Saavedra

Testimonials

The team of lawyers is very professional, fully aware of the laws, provides excellent advice and works as a team with the client.’

In-depth knowledge of the regulations, commitment to the client, constant and exhaustive support in obtaining the pertinent information to the case. Many thanks to Carlos Francisco Saavedra Roa and Ana Marcela Albarracín.

Use of technology to carry out legal support tasks: virtual meetings, access to electronic files, permanent information exchange.

The Saavedra firm provides a comprehensive legal service and its partners are the ones who directly give this legal advice, unlike other large firms where junior lawyers often end up advising clients. They have an interdisciplinary team that makes them competitive in the market and actually have a firm that covers most disciplines in the legal and public spheres. I have felt widely supported when I have asked for their advice.

They undoubtedly have a highly prepared team that is at the forefront of issues. I think they have a lot of credibility in the market since they have handled many successful cases and also since Dr Ramiro Saavedra, a former state council magistrate and author of several books on liability and damage issues, is a legal professor.

They have expanded the portfolio of services and are very up-to-date in courses, studies, newsletters and permanently inform one as a client of the news and main failures of the sector to which I am linked, which is the infrastructure sector.’

For our company, which is immersed in state contracting, it was very satisfying to discover that the team of the Saavedra Becerra Abogados firm is made up of multidisciplinary lawyers. This aspect allowed a fluid concatenation of the needs that we had, therefore, allowing the law firm to issue concepts and punctual and precise advice.

Our company values ​​the Saavedra Becerra Abogados firm in a different way compared to other firms. This firm implements methodologies divided into stages that allow us to achieve the objectives accurately, adjusted to the requirements that we have, this is -without doubt- a great differential strength.

Basically the relevant differential aspects of the lawyers of Becerra Saavedra Abogados, who the differences with respect to other firms are:1. Punctuality2. Layout3. Conceptual domain4. Solid expertise5. Multidisciplinary work team6. Timely response capacity7. Implementation of technologies8. Integration of agile project methodologies’

Our company highly values ​​the following lawyers who accompanied us in the various consultancies in which we incurred: Carlos Francisco Saavedra, Ana Marcela Albarracín and Luisa Fernanda Zorro.

‘Clearly differential aspects are such as:1. technological implementation in virtual meetings2. support of the concepts and advice based on the point of view of your work team3. Integration of agile methodologies that allow fruitful iterations, allowing us to refine our requirements as clients.4. The relational aspect of the firm with our company allowing the establishment of ties that demonstrate an important value on the part of the law firm for its clients.5. The behavior and treatment is always conducive to achieving the objectives established by our company.

Key clients

Metro Cali

Expreso Bolivariano

Consorcio PST

Cognos Online

Consorcio Ciclo Rutas

Seppca ESP

Quinta Generación

Impadoc

Centromin

EMAPA ESP

EMRENOVAL ESP

Compas

CI de Azucares y Mieles (CIAMSA)

GNB Sudameris

Stephane Decluseau

Niels Diekmann

Work highlights

  • Advised and accompanied the Mayor’s Office of Cali regarding the termination of a contract the objective of which was the modernisation and optimisation of tax management by the municipal administration of Santiago de Cali, which was signed with the Temporary Union Tax Services of Cali (SI Cali).
  • Represented Metro Cali in three arbitrations regarding the construction, operation and collection contracts of the BRT in the city of Cali – Colombia, as well as advising the public entity on the renegotiation of the contract with operator Blanco y Negro.
  • Advised Consorcio PST, a Government services and logistics operator, on all its needs related to public law as well as its relationship with government agencies.

Seguridad Legal

Housing a specialist team including a systems-engineer and an economist with finance-sector and blockchain experience, four-strong micro-boutique SL Seguridad Legal Colombia S.A.S. was founded in 2014 and is sharply focused on matters related to privacy, data protection, cyber-risk and digital business, undertaking data protection programmes and compliance evaluation, cyber-risk and data loss matters, information security and technology contracting, along with advice and defence before data authorities and training on such matters. Legal director Andrés Felipe Ángel holds a Masters’ degree in telecommunications and information technology, and can draw on experience both at the Spanish telecommunications ministry and as a consultant on Spanish data privacy regulations (LOPD) and online commerce (LSSI). Moreover, he is an information privacy fellow (FIP) of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) -one of only two figures so qualified in Colombia, currently- as well as also being CIPP/E, CIPM, and CSX-F qualified. The firm has undertaken data protection and information technology projects for companies including Goodyear (Colombia and Peru), Banco W, Emcali, Grupo Price Travel (Colombia and Mexico), Sociedad Portuaria de Buenaventura, and Copidrogas, among others. It also has a cooperation agreement with local corporate firm Caicedos Holguines Abogados so as to undertake the privacy, data compliance and tech aspects of larger corporate projects.

Practice head(s):

Andres Felipe Angel Posada

Testimonials

They are highly prepared people with experience in personal data. They are very friendly, prepared and willing to assist you. I like how Andrés Angel organizes the information to know if a rule is being met or not.

They have shown great knowledge and experience on data protection advice, the project carried out with us was executed in an excellent way, complying with all the steps that compose it; the training provided to our staff has also been presented with great skill aand they showed great dexterity in consolidating our corporate policies with local legislation.

‘With respect to other firms, their performance has been quite favourable.’

‘The experience of the professionals who have provided us the service, among their qualities are good communication, flexibility to adapt to the requirements of our organization, assertiveness at the time of offer training using clear language and examples that apply to what we do.’

‘We highlight Andres Felipe Angel’

They have shown great versatility in advising us on data protection in a transversal way in each of our lines of work, which have different characteristics that require different solutions in most cases.

The firm SL Seguridad Legal has specialised knowledge in the protection of personal data that differentiates it from other law firms; They have acquired an expertise that gives us confidence not only in Colombia but also in the other countries of the region.

I highlight its specialised knowledge -national and international- in the protection of personal data, and in addition, the firm’s use of technological tools for the provision of services.

We are certain that the lawyer Andres Angel is one of the people with the greatest knowledge and expertise in matters of personal data protection in Colombia.

They have designed audit systems in terms of data protection using technological tools that optimize the company’s time and facilitates communication between the parties.

A highly specialised firm able to guide and legally advise on processes of change driven by the need for digital transformation with legal guarantees in governments and their service providers.

High trust builders. Interdisciplinary and innovative.

Their strengths are evident in issues related to data protection, privacy, cyber risk, and information technology law. The foregoing differentiates them to a great extent from the internal legal team and from other firms.’

The difference is that they have extensive knowledge of national regulations, as well as international regulations, good market practices and verifiable international certifications. In addition, they have a compact approach to achieve the implementation of standards contributing to business development.

Adequate articulation in regulatory, technological and process management matters, with the ability to contribute at a strategic, tactical and operational level, contributing to the generation of value for the company. The above is a great differentiator that sets it apart from its competitors.

Key clients

Comfandi (Caja De Compensación Familiar Del Valle)

Gases De Occidente

Clínica Imbanaco, Grupo Quirón Salud

Programa De Servicios De Tránsito De Cali

Fenalco Valle

Finesa

Logicalis Colombia

Norgas

British Council

Sainc Constructora

Skema Promotora

Coofipopular

Dollarcity Colombia

Fanalca

Cosmitet