Medellín in Colombia

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. In this first year covering these markets, 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.

Much has been said regarding the specificity of the Medellín market, the ‘Antioquian idiosyncrasy’, as one partner termed it; certainly a key characteristic would appear to be that ‘local businessmen want to look their lawyer in the eye’. Which is to say that personalised partner-contact and relations remain the bedrock of service provision in both the city and the wider department. The region’s famed entrepreneurial spirit has ensured a volume of work sufficient to facilitate the emergence of more sizeable firms than is the case in Cali – Contexto Legal Abogados, Enfoque Legal S.A.S., Estudio Siete Legal Abogados and Suma Legal, and more recently Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados and perhaps UH Abogados (formerly Uribe Henao), are all cases in point. Concurrently, this concentration of business activity has arguably made it more of a target for significant Bogota-based firms. The former Parra Rodriguez & Cavalier previously had an office in the city, for example, leaving its mark on the local market in the form of a number of notable aviation law practitioners, and today both Gómez-Pinzón Abogados and Posse Herrera Ruiz have rep-offices in the city, as do a number of mid-sized firms, notably Cavelier Abogados and Goh (formerly Godoy Hoyos). At the same time, there are number of key market heavyweights in their respective areas of practice who operate out of very small studios or virtually as sole practitioners: administrative and constitutional specialist Luis Fernando Alvarez Jaramillo (at Alvarez Zuluaga Consultores Legales), for example, or labour specialist Humberto Jairo Jaramillo Vallejo (at Humberto Jairo Jaramillo Abogados), or litigant and civil liability and insurance expert Juan Carlos Gaviria Gomez (now at Bogotá-based Jesús Yepes Abogados). This latter specialism points to another aspect of the distinctive character of Medellín’s legal market: its leadership in the legal area of civil and state liability and insurance law. The city is not only home to multinational insurance giant Suramericana, but also to the formerly regional (ie Antioquian), today national, Instituto Colombiano de Responsabilidad Civil y del Estado (IARCE), founded in 1993. Under its influence all four of the region’s universities – the EUFIT, Boliviana, Autonoma and the Universidad de Medellín – offer qualifications in this specialization. Unsurprisingly, nationally relevant firms such as Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados and Londoño & Arango Abogados are both Medellín-based. The city is also home to a noteworthy technology hub with Antioquia’s regional government funding initiatives such as Ruta N (which currently houses Chinese tech companies Huawei and Tuya Smart, among others) and Parque del Emprendimiento, both start-up accelerators located in central Medellin. This and other initiatives, part of the municipality’s push to further the city’s regeneration, have helped seed a significant tech start-up ecosystem; indeed, despite Bogotá’s leadership in the sector, it remains notable that Colombia’s national association of tech entrepreneurs, Intersoftware, remains headquartered in Medellín. In addition to the more sizeable firms above, the city’s legal market reflects a relatively rich mix of market offerings and firm formats. The specialist boutique segment of the market is also highly competitive. At one end, major national firms such as the IP-dedicated OlarteMoure maintains a significant local presence handling trade marks, patents, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy, and litigation (it also has offices in Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Cali); while at the other, smaller local players such as Velasco & Calle D’Aleman Abogados in the tech sector, or Alfara in the environmental segment – have also established themselves successfully; there is also the steady emergence of new young firms, a current case in point being Reserva Legal.

Alvarez Zuluaga Consultores Legales

Founded in 1976, Alvarez Zuluaga Consultores Legales is a two-partner, 14-strong firm that focuses on dispute resolution matters - both arbitral and litigious - particularly in relation to insurance and civil/state liability, state-contracting, construction and infrastructure. Key figure and senior partner Luis Fernando Álvarez Jaramillo is a renowned public law specialist (both administrative and constitutional), with a prestigious public-sector career (including as both Magistrate and President of the Consejo del Estado), in addition to an impressive and lengthy advisory curriculum, particularly in relation to projects matters. The team’s past mandates include a COP$5bn demand against Corantioquia on behalf of power producer Gen+; while Álvarez' recent arbitral appointments include as party-appointed arbitrator in Zandor Capital v Consorcio Pozos de Colombia (mining) and Castell Camel and Pórticos Ingenieros Cíviles v el Distrito Capital (construction). Luisa Fernanda Álvarez Zuluaga has an LLM in international dispute resolution with a specialisation in fintech-related arbitration and is leading the firm’s push into international law, on the one hand, and - in conjunction with associate Alejandro Álvarez - IA, IT and data protection, on the other. This engagement with technology issues also has a certain crossover with the firm’s ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ program which facilitates affordable legal advice to start-ups.

Practice head(s):

Luis Fernando Álvarez Jaramillo

Key clients

Integral

Devimed

ROR ingeniería XM

GEN+

Procopal

EPM

EPS SURA

UPB

INSERCO

Cámara de Comercio de Medellín

Palacio Consultores

Distracom

Termocandelaria

Publik

Concesión Túnel Medellín-Aeropuerto

Ariza & Marin

Very strong in the state-contracting niche‘, according to peers, Ariza & Marin is a highly specialised, eight-strong disputes firm, that is increasingly breaking out of its regional niche – indeed the firm, enters our national ranking for both projects and public law this year. Founded in 2009, it is particularly prominent in the projects segment related to highway concessions and, increasingly, energy projects; it is also active in relation to insurance, civil/state liability, and consumer law. With an LLM in public law and specialisations in tax and civil liability, Carolina Ariza has 13 years’ disputes experience; primarily focused on complex negotiations and high-impact legislation, she is currently preparing a case addressed to ANI seeking recognition of the damages incurred by the concessionaire for over-runs in the development of the 493km Transversal de Américas road project. Fellow founding-partner Camilo Marín focuses on insurance, civil responsibility, and public and private contracting; with 13 years’ disputes experience (primarily arbitration), he is currently representing Obras Civiles e Inmobiliarias (OCEISA) in a COP$13.4bn case brought by EPM seeking damages in relation to the cancelled Parques del Río Project in Medellín.. Marín also has niche expertise in crisis management. Also noted is key senior associate Nicolás López Ochoa, a public and private contracting specialist who handles administrative, consumer and commercial matters ranging from class actions to contractual disputes. And while Laura Castaño, who had joined the firm in January 2020, subsequently returned to Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados as a partner, the firm has since hired Luis Felipe Estrada as associate-head of the insurance practice (and co-head of public law), from Sura Seguros; effective as of February 2021.

Practice head(s):

Carolina Ariza; Camilo Marín

Testimonials

They are excellent because they feel like co-workers, in terms of billing they are very timely and correct and in terms of technology the software they have for reviewing processes is excellent.

‘The interest and commitment of the team makes them unique: Dr Nicolas Lopez and Camilo Marín, are very studious of the norms, have a full knowledge of the company’s business and have the facility of being an integral part of our company.

It is a team of high efficiency and clarity in its advice. It can be compared favourably with high performance teams at other firms.

The closeness, clarity and kindness of the lawyer Carolina Ariza, makes the difference compared to other firms. She is a warm person and at the same time clear and concrete.

The information provided by this firm exceeds the expectations of other firms.

It is a very homogeneous team, since they all support each other to respond to the different problems that arise. They are complemented in the different specialties and the best solution to the problems raised is obtained among all.

They know the specialty each one has and when it is something outside their area, they communicate and support each other to arrive at the best solution and, if necessary, they turn to the people they consider to be suitable.’

Among their qualities is that when it is required they are willing to assist us in a friendly and professional way When they commit to a date to review or to have a response, they are very up to date on their commitments.

Being a very young team, they are up to date on the different technological innovations.

They have exceptional knowledge about legislation and everything that has to do, in our case, with public procurement, which allows them to approach each problem from various points of view, analysing similar cases and always trying to develop the best strategy that benefits us, as customers.

In my personal case, I have had the excellent support of the lawyer Nicolás López in the public bidding processes in which our company participates, in all stages of the bidding process until the award, making sure that our proposals are enabled and resolving any situation with the contracting entities. Likewise, the permanent accompaniment during the execution of our public works contracts, satisfactorily resolving all kinds of conflicts with the contracting entities, demands, claims, defenses, resolution of legal conflicts of all kinds, etc. The knowledge that the firm has about all these issues is exceptional and allows them to visualize different strategies for each problem and thus choose the best one from all points of view.

Services in legal, commercial, leasing, negotiation and strong on labour issues. They have a suitable team and have done an excellent job in their permanent legal advice.

Excellent support and collaboration and theoretical and technical foundation of Miguel Lozano, additionally his response is timely and fast. In addition, the lawyers Monica Restrepo and Carolina Ariza excellent support and foundation.’

Excellent team in terms of collaboration, they are always attentive to solve the inconveniences or doubts that we have in a creative and timely way.

They are all informed of the case and can contribute with knowledge. Familiarity, trust, tenacity, knowledge.

Agility, accompaniment, instruction.

Key clients

Acciona Agua

Hyundai Engineering Co

Cedimed

Almacenes Éxito

Estudios Técnicos

Procopal

Vías de las Américas

Concesión Ruta al Mar

Atalaya de la Mota

Comercializadora S&E

Work highlights

  • Represented the contractor, HHA Consortium (Hyundai y Acciona), in the liquidation of the contract for the construction of the largest wastewater treatment plant of its kind in Colombia – Aguas Claras; final value: S63.7m.
  • Represented the interests of Atalaya de la Mota PH , a co-ownership consisting of 248 homes evacuated due to the risk of building collapse, throughout the structural stabilisation procedure and the return of its inhabitants.
  • Ongoing representation of the Gaico-Hycsa Consortium in a lawsuit and counterclaim for COP$12.9bn regarding the execution of contract No. 61 of 2016, to build part 2A of the Public Transit System of the Aburrá Valley.

Arrubla Devis Asociados

'Highly responsive and adaptable', Arrubla Devis Asociados is a 13-strong disputes boutique with a national reputation thanks, primarily, to the standing of founding partner Jaime Alberto Arrubla Paucar, a former President of the Supreme Court of Justice and one of the leading authorities on commercial law in Colombia. The team acts for clients across all industries, both in and out of court, regarding commercial, civil, tax, labour and public law disputes, frequently in cases of national or public interest. The firm has also sought to ensure that its disputes practice is as technologically facilitated as possible. Nevertheless, Arrubla works as required from the firm’s offices in Bogotá and Medellín, with a practice co-head – senior associates Rafael McCausland and Sebastián Montoya, respectively – in each city; 'all have impressive talents and bring substance to the issues they work on'. Client favourite McCausland has a growing reputation for both arbitral and litigious matters, and also handles contractual and corporate advisory work; Montoya, who arrived at the firm in 2018, has specialisations in procedural law and insurance and civil liability, and focuses on corporate, contractual and litigious matters. The firm’s strong 'second line' also comprises Jaime Esteban Arrubla Devis (public contracting, contracts, litigation and arbitration); and senior associates Elizabeth Jiménez Villegas (corporate, contracts, labour and employment) and Lorena Vargas Sánchez (IP, real estate, regulatory matters and litigation), while the partner line-up is completed by Gustavo Amaya Yepes, a 30-year veteran of the firm who handles litigation, arbitration and contractual matters. The growing team was further strengthened, recently, with the 2021-hire of Jorge Contreras Calderón, a former clerk at the Antioquia regional tribunal, as a senior associate.

Testimonials

It is as good as any team of lawyers in the country. Dr. Arrubla’s experience, combined with the talents of the other attorneys at the firm, make up an extraordinary team. They perfectly understand the client’s need and meet delivery deadlines like no firm I have ever worked with.

Rafael McCausland, Jaime Esteban and Cristina Arrubla all have impressive talents and bring substance to the issues they work on.’

The team is led by one of the most recognised jurists in the country, which is evidenced in the quality and legal precision of his work. Excellent customer service, as well as a willingness to deliver results in short periods (tight deadlines). I would say that although it is a small team, it exceeds expectations.’

Founding partner Jaime Arrubla honours his recognition at the academy. His presence is not only intimidating to counterparts, who know about his achievements, but also supports his actions. He is brilliant at solving complex legal problems.’

Associate Rafael McCausland is efficient, successful and perfectly complements Jaime Arrubla. Total availability to satisfy the client’s needs.

Arrubla Devis’s team is quite complete and highly qualified to attend to the issues handled by the firm. All team members have significant experience in their area, and that is reflected in their case management.’

Arrubla Devis has adapted through the use of technology to meet the needs of customers and respond to their requirements in the optimal way. All the firm’s lawyers stand out for their expertise in the area they handle, for their excellent handling with clients and for their extraordinary ability to respond to unforeseen events that may appear in their professional practice.

Key clients

Ecopetrol

Avianca

Isagen

Agencia Nacional de Defensa Jurídica del Estado (ANDJE)

Fábrica de Especias y Productos El Rey

Smurfit Kappa – Cartón de Colombia

Autogermaco

Earthrights International

Frubana

Portal Calicanto

Salud Vida (in liqidation)

Work highlights

  • Represented Portal Calicanto, constructor of Cartagena’s integrated public transport system,  against Transcaribe, the governmental entity in charge of the operation, in a dispute regarding the annulment of a $5.2m arbitral award against Transcaribe and in favour of Portal Calicanto.
  • Representing Marina Park in all legal actions filed by the company against the Colombian State due to the illegal revocation of a maritime concession for the construction of what is intended to be the main marina in the Cartagena bay.
  • Successful judicial representation of Salud Vida in 10 collective labour actions brought by workers’ unions.

B&O Abogados

Founded in 2009, B&O Abogados is a nine-strong boutique with a close focus on corporate and tax matters, where it focuses particularly on the reorganisation of assets, national and international fiscal planning, the implementation of asset management vehicles, commercial agreements and general business development. The firm also has a small IP practice and niche expertise in entertainment matters. Founding partners Maria Mercedes Bermúdez and Juan David Ocampo have 18- and 16-years' experience in tax and corporate/commercial matters, respectively. Bermúdez' practice is primarily focused on tax structuring matters, with recent matters including advising Drim on the presentation of its ‘orange economy’ project to the Ministry of Culture, successfully obtaining tax exempt status. Ocampo's work centres on contractual and transactional corporate matters but is also informed by specialisations in tax, foreign trade, foreign exchange and arbitration; his recent mandates include advising on the corporate, commercial and real estate aspect of Medellín’s iconic mixed-use WAKE project. Young partner Andrés Isaza Olarte, has a broad background in commercial, corporate and labour matters as well as additional specialisations in real estate and tax.

Practice head(s):

Maria Mercedes Bermúdez Tamayo; Juan David Ocampo Barrera; Andrés Isaza Olarte

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of an important clinical and pharmaceutical management company to an international investment fund, specificially in relation to the tax planning of the sellers.
  • Advised on the structuration of the WAKE project, involving legal planning through a fiduciary scheme, as well as advice on contractual and regulation matters; WAKE is an iconic project in Medellín for living and commerce, developed by leading companies in real estate projects (such as: Drim, AV Group, Inquietudes Inmobiliarias).
  • Tax advice in Celcom’s arbitral proceeding against Comcel.

CMC Abogados

First and foremost a transactional boutique, the 'proactive, purposeful' CMC Abogados was founded in 2011 when the Medellín office of the then Parra Rodríguez & Cavelier spun off to become an independent firm. That imprimatur is most clearly visible in the centrality of aviation and aeronautical law to the firm's practice offering, along with new tech and investment funds, although these are augmented by capability in competition, labour and real estate. Co-founding partner, head of the tax practice and co-director of the corporate area Marcela Palacio Botero ('enviable training in M&A, corporate and tax') has 15 years' experience and a specialisation in international business law; focused primarily on investment processes, she handles much of the firm's structuring work for international clients. Domestically her mandates include work with Ruta N, Viva Colombia and Aeropuerto El Dorado II, and she has also worked on projects including Metroplús and Parque Explora. 'Rigorous and disciplined', Mónica Arango Espinal is director of the foreign exchange and consumer rights practices and also has a specialisation in company law; her multifaceted practice sees her handling diverse matters ranging from international capitalization and profit sharing to handling customer complaints against the firm's major clients before various administrative entities. Like his colleagues, managing partner Camilo Trujillo Millán has 'a great disposition to understand the needs of business'; he also handles corporate, contractual, competition and aviation matters. The firm's Bogotá office - a necessity for handling the administrative aspects of its aviation clientele - is staffed by three further associates and led by corporate-practice co-head Alfonso Plana Boden. Noted for his 'global knowledge', Plana is a finance lawyer with over 15 years' experience and a specialisation in aviation and space law. Also in Bogotá, senior associate Jairo Fierro Garzón handles corporate, contractual and aviation matters. Founding partner Catalina Arbeláez has retired but remains a consultant of the firm. Other developments saw the firm strengthen its real estate practice with the hire of mid-level associate Daniel Rueda from Ampara Abogados in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Marcela Palacio Botero; Mónica Arango Espinal; Alfonso Plana Bodén

Testimonials

It is a boutique firm whose partners have had extensive experience in corporate law and M&A both in Colombia and abroad. The fact that it is a small firm implies closeness to clients, personal meetings and ease of relationship. The fact that they have a track record in their practice guarantees the quality of their products.

Marcela Palacio Botero has enviable training in M&A, corporate and tax; at the same time, she has an understanding of business. Consequently, her advice is usually practical, from a business perspective, and correct due to its technical foundation in law.

Mónica Arango Espinal, in addition to having a desirable background, is rigorous and disciplined, which makes her work and that of her team unbeatable.’

Camilo Trujillo Millán complements the team with support in labour matters that may have an impact on the corporate and M&A experience.’

It is a team of partners that is responsible for all the work of the firm and, therefore, they implement internal product control measures that guarantee the quality of work and customer satisfaction.’

Lawyers require excellent knowledge in obligations compliance before the regulator and the ability to extract from the rules of other legal areas the obligations applicable to a client’s company. The willingness of this firm to understand the context and the needs of our organisation helped a lot for this work.

Marcela Palacio, Monica Arango, Camilo Trujillo – are all individuals with a great disposition to understand the needs of business.

‘They’re highly disposed to understand the business in order to identify the organisation’s obligations and list them in a simple way for implementation in each of the processes.

CMC has a highly prepared and expert team in each of the areas in which they provide support. When a specialist is needed in a certain subject, they are always available.’

They have great knowledge of the regulations, both nationally and internationally.

They put themselves in the role of their clients to understand the different situations and thus be able to provide comprehensive advice.’

Their availability to meet the needs we have as clients is immediate. We can consult them at any time.’

CMC Abogados is a proactive, purposeful firm, fully aware of all the legal aspects that may intervene in advising private companies in Colombia. Thanks to its size, its attention is fundamentally through the partners and it is knowledgeable about the topics in greater depth.

Marcela Palacio has a comprehensive knowledge of the law in Colombia that is ideally complemented by the global knowledge added by the training of Alfonso Plana. The two partners of the company who work as a team.’

The biggest novelty is the transversality of their advice, which gives the company total peace of mind in that all aspects are being covered.

Key clients

Aeroméxico

Viva Air

Atlas Air

Química Orión

Genius Sports Services

Reciclados Industriales

Jala Group

ADK Group

MyWorld

Mineros

Sura Asset Management

Aura Airlines

Work highlights

  • Labour advice regarding schedules, salaries, non-salary benefits and internal policies, as well as Covid-19 related salary reductions, non-salaried leave, anticipated vacations and the implications of working-from-home policies to tech groups Genius Sports Services, Tecnologías Arista, Landing AI, Aqua and Terra and ML School, among others.
  • Adivsed Aura Airlines on obtaing flight authoisations to begin operating to Colombia via ACMI.
  • Advised Paz Med on the negotiation of a construction contract.

Contexto Legal S.A.

Standing at the forefront of Medellín’s legal market, the 35-strong, full-service Contexto Legal S.A. has increasingly developed a national reach over the last 15 years, particularly as regards both corporate and labour matters where it enters our national rankings this year. Five multifaceted partners oversee the firm’s broad offering: managing partner Guillermo Villegas Ortega leads the corporate and transactional practices and also leads on labour matters; Andrés Márquez heads up the intellectual property and competition and EU areas; while Juan Luis Escobar leads the restructuring and insolvency practice. Former associate director of the labour practice Melissa Echeverri was raised to the partnership in January 2021; she focuses on individual and collective employment matters and related administrative proceedings, and can also draw on former experience at the Labour Circuit Court. Federico Escobar, in turn, leads the firm’s tax practice and also heads up the estate planning and customs and foreign trade areas. Clients speak of the partners ‘dedication, professionalism and experience’. The firm also retains a consultant partner, Gustavo Cruz, who has a lengthy in-house trajectory and advises on compliance M&A, private equity and corporate affairs, as well as both litigation and arbitration. Arguably part of the firm’s success has been its institutional solidity and this is reflected by a strong second tier across the breadth of its practices. Marcela García C (company law, commercial law, real estate and tax) and Felipe Restrepo (corporate and commercial law, foreign exchange and real estate) were promoted to associate directors, in January and July 2021, respectively. Senior associates Ana María Marín Higuita (labour, social security and immigration); Sara Marcela Aldana (corporate, M&A and restructuring); Laura Moreno (IP, entertainment law, antitrust / unfair competition, data protection and consumer law), and Maria Carolina Vieira R (industrial property, unfair competition and market law), are all also noted. However, in May 2020, Carlos Andrés González M, formerly the head of the insurance and securities and capital markets practices, and co-head of the administrative and public procurement and tax and foreign-exchange regulations practices, announced his departure for EY (Medellín), taking three members of the team with him. Clara Uribe (commercial law matters, real estate and dispute resolution) has also left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Guillermo Villegas Ortega; Andrés Márquez; Juan Luis Escobar; Melissa Echeverri; Frederico Escobar

Testimonials

The accompaniment and the closeness of his team, ended up feeling like an extension in favour of the interest of the process. Clear execution schedules with defined scopes and constant monitoring.’

‘What makes them unique? They work as a team, they stand in for each other and everyone knows the aspects of the consultancy that are important.’

What makes them excel? They know their client very well” (Contexto Legal knows us very well); they’re clear about the scope of their advice; and they respect the decisions of the [client’s] administration.

Contexto Legal has extensive knowledge of M&A transactions. In this particular case, they coordinated a transaction between Singapore, Colombia and Ecuador with a high level of detail, professionalism and quality of work.’

Both partners and associates form a very dynamic team that can serve their clients effectively.

The availability to solve the legal challenges that we face in the company, in a professional and clear way.’

Friendliness, knowledge and availability.

They are unique because they work as a team, they stand in for each other as necessary and always support each other in the search for/provision of answers.

‘The pluses of Contexto Legal include: timely responses; knowledge and mastery of the subject; respect for the client’s decisions; and advice on risks vs benefits.

What makes this practice unique is the trust and opportunity it has with each of the firm’s professionals. Strengths: clarity, trust, opportunity, closeness to the client.

Ana Maria Marin is an excellent professional with legal knowledge, she is always up-to-date, is opportune, trustworthy and, credible. Melissa is also timely and trustworthy.

Highlights: the relationship with the client, the internal knowledge of the organization, and 360-degree analysis of cases.

The human team is made up of a multidisciplinary work group that covers labour, commercial and corporate areas, providng a timely response to our needs and adequate support.

Personalised attention and furthermore, they analyse each situation in their human and technical contexts, helping to find the best institutional decision.

Key clients

Mérieux NutriSciences

Compañía de Créditos Rápidos-Rapicredit

Proyectos Agropecuarios de Colombia

Grupo Biopapel (Scribe Colombia)

OneLink

Compañía Colombia de Cacao

Avícola Nacional

Laboratorio Médico Echavarría

Finaholding

Colorquimica

Florandina

Clinica Somer

Avon Colombia

Natura Cosméticos

Lubrival

Vicunha Colombia

Abrasivos de Colombia

Clinica del Campestre

Mantos Andinos (Grupo Edil)

Universidad el CES

Crown Colombiana

Farmfolio

Chopucair Cardenas Testing

Manufacturas Muñoz (Muma)

The Forest Company

Grupo Eds Autogas

Work highlights

  • Assisted the shareholders of Eurocerámica, in the sale of 100% of its shares in favor of Grupo Lamosa, a conglomerate of Mexican companies; the sale process included, among other things, the completion of the reorganisation process in which Eurocerámica was involved more than 10 years ago.
  • Advised Agaval on e-commerce operations and operations under financing systems, as well as response to consumer warranty and personal data protection claims, and defence in consumer litigation and administrative proceedings before the SIC.
  • Successfully advised Duratex on the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement with union SINTRATABLEMAC.

Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados

Following the January 2020 merger of the former Correa Merino and Agudelo Pelaez law firms, the four-partner, 29-strong Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados has gone from strength-to-strength, with its broad service offering across the corporate, labour, real estate and tax sectors seeing the firm enter our national rankings for the first time. The addition of a recognised and solid real estate practice has further cemented the firm’s position at the forefront of the local market; and, as suggested, it is increasingly offering services across the country (albeit with the exception of Bogotá). Firm co-founder and head of the tax and private clients/wealth management practices, Sebastián Correa Ruíz focuses on national and international tax planning. His ongoing caseload includes permanent advice to multinational Solenis Colombia, healthcare provider Vihonco and Matec Logistia (as regards the structuring of efficient operational models). Managing partner and fellow firm co-founder Camilo Merino is a corporate/M&A and contractual specialist and heads a six-strong corporate team that is particularly active in relation to the venture capital and PE segments. 2020-matters include advising Spanish parent company, FLUVIP on an M&A negotiation process with an international buyer; medical sales and distribution company Ronelly on its sale to a subsidiary of Brazilian private equity fund Patria Investments; and InQulab regarding corporate affairs, including matters related to its investments, under different mechanisms (equity, convertible notes and SAFE). With almost two decades' experience, practice director for labour and social security matters Darío Ramírez Montoya joined the firm in 2016. His recent mandates include assisting Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico with the establishment of efficient alternatives for hiring and remunerating the personnel required for its operations; Grupo Sura on the implementation of strategic measures in labour matters and the exchange of knowledge within the business group; and Ultraserfinco on the labour aspects of its integration with Credicorp. Real estate partner Juan Esteban Agudelo handles a full range of urban, residential industrial and hospitality matters. Recent mandates include advising Almacenes Exito on a complex matter regarding the reform of the horizontal property regulations of the Puerta del Norte Shopping Center; Acierto Inmobiliario regarding a large housing real estate development in Medellín called “Country Life” (which will be composed by 3 projects, Primavera, Verano and Otoño); and assisting Cryogas (Air Products Group) with analysis aimed at determining the most favourable urban regulation regarding its property located in the Municipality of Sabaneta, for its subsequent sale. Key senior associates include ‘corporate right-hand’ and ‘genuine up-and-comer’ Juanita Betancur and, on the real estate team, Maria Camila Maya, who focuses on real estate development and urban projects.

Testimonials

The tax team is exceptional. 1) Extensive knowledge and experience in practice. 2) They are technically rigorous, and at the same time practical in their deliverable proposals. 3) They are compliant, agile and purposeful.

Camilo Merino – a high willingness to listen, understanding the spirit of the requirements and resolving them in a timely manner. He is practical and his extensive experience is very valuable in venture capital, which allows shortening paths in discussions. Juanita Betancourt – her technical knowledge is exceptional. Executes all ones proposals fast and with high quality deliverables. Her accompaniment in negotiations is always timely and assertive. María Paula Valencia – a junior lawyer – high capacity for execution and understanding of problems. Technically very skilled in corporate matters.

The team is diverse between women and men. Operational flows are transparent and agile. The deliverables are always of high quality without the need for reprocessing. All the people I have interacted with at CMA stand out for delivering the extra mile on request.

‘Deep research, search for solutions, clarity in the results; concrete, efficient and give a lot of confidence to the client that they know what they are talking about after undertaking their studies and investigations of the cases: Sebastian Correa, Camilo Merino, Andres Arbelaez, Sergio Arias, Yesenia Ortega.’

‘Electronic billing from very early, clarity in the detail of the billed works, very good coordination between them on the handling of matters to be presented to the client, very good presentation of topics, very clear. In times of pandemic there were no problems with communication and meetings.’

Labour and employment -I highlight their willingness to serve us, always ready to help us and with the best attitude from their professionals. Another important factor is the rigour they show when dealing with our queries. We are attended by Darío Ramirez Montoya. My opinions about the team come from my relationship with him. He is a very responsible person and I insist on legal rigour. In addition to his always close and respectful treatment.

Strong points: They explain the normative support but its value is added when at the end they always send their own interpretation along with a position or recommendation on the subject.

Complete disposition for calls, friendly and close treatment. I liked that when there is any regulatory change they go ahead and send the news, they do not wait to be consulted on the subject.

It is a highly articulate team, made up of professionals of a very high academic and professional level. Very good communication and handling of cases and projects. Highly human and committed to the client.’

I have had the opportunity to work directly with Dario Ramirez for several years now. Dario is highly professional with vast knowledge in his areas of expertise. This allows them to propose strategies in the processes that are highly effective. Extremely methodical but at the same time agile. Oriented to establish constructive relationships in legal processes. He has excellent communication skills.’

They are a group that is different in terms of managing cases or projects. They are very methodical but at the same time very efficient. Excellent billing management with transparency towards the client, which is not usual in the medium. For this they use specialised software. Excellent support network in topics or specialties required in particular cases that are not available internally, achieving a third party integration in a transparent way and without additional complexity.

The most important thing that the firm is its closeness to the client, the impeccable fulfillment of its commitments. They are also characterised by their deep legal analysis and their correct and timely recommendation.

Flawless in meeting their commitments.

In this pandemic situation, I highlight all its virtual tools, which did not make us miss the face-to-face meetings.

They differ from other law firms in their timely clear concepts explained in an easy and simple way that helps the manager to easily understand the legal situation consulted.

They are very clear and concrete, they give confidence about the knowledge of the issues, it is a young but experienced team that delves into the issues no matter how complicated they may be.

Excellent customer service, very diligent, clear, concrete, they give a lot of confidence when looking for solutions for the customer, they are investigative and deep. Camilo Merino, Sebastian Correa, Andres Arbelaes, Sergio Arias, Yesenia Ortega.

I have had the opportunity to work directly and principally with Camilo Merino and Sebastián Correa for several years now. Both partners are highly professional and have vast knowledge in their areas of expertise. This allows them to propose strategies in the processes that are highly effective. Extremely methodical but at the same time agile. Very oriented to establish constructive relationships in legal processes. They have excellent communication skills.

They are a committed and passionate team! They have a comprehensive view of legal problems that point to comprehensive solutions. They have strong discipline and achievement orientation. Also a strong social sense. Of course, they compare very favourably with teams from other firms.

Juan Esteban Agudelo is an upright lawyer. He has the ability to understand problems with a multidisciplinary approach, not only from his area of ​​expertise. Definitely, his expertise in real estate matters is outstanding and I think he makes a difference in the firm compared to other similar ones.’

Virtuality has been a challenge and I think CMA has taken advantage of it. As a customer, I have felt that the quality and timeliness of the service has been maintained, even improved.

Key clients

Grupo Sura

Comfama

Fluvip

Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico

Ronelly

Materiales EMO

Sempli

ComparaOnline

La Haus

Project HOPE

Promotora de Proyectos

Compañía de Financiamiento Tuya

Matec Logística

Solenis

Streamer Electric

Ciudad de Mascotas

Astound Commerce

Glasst

Work highlights

  • Counsel to Comfama (a leading compensation fund in the coffee region) on its strategic corporate venture capital programme, specifically advising on a convertible debt investment in a local company.
  • Labour counsel to Grupo Sura on the implementation of strategic measures regarding employment matters and the exchange of knowledge within the business group.
  • Advised Acierto Inmobiliario on a large housing real estate development in the city of Medellín called “Country Life”, which will be composed by three projects, Primavera, Verano and Otoño.
  • Permanent tax advice to multinational Solenis Colombia on its strengthening and growth process in Colombia, we have advised the accounting department on day-to-day management and long-term tax planning strategies.

Estudio Siete Legal Abogados

Established in 2006-7, in part as a response to renewed attempts by Bogotá head-quartered firms to penetrate the Medellín market, Estudio Siete Legal Abogados is today an 18-strong firm with a broad offering built primarily upon the corporate/commercial and labour practices, along with aviation, dispute resolution, insurance (and civil liability), and tax. Firm co-founder and managing partner Carlos Alejandro Duque Restrepo's practice focuses on corporate and commercial matters, dispute resolution (both litigation and arbitration), and insurance and civil liability; he also has a niche practice in technology matters, acting as external counsel to national tech association Intersoftware. Duque co-leads the corporate practice - which also handles competition, consumer law and compliance matters - in conjunction with Liliana Velásquez Escobar and Juan Pablo Molina Álvarez, who are aviation and tax specialists, respectively. Velásquez has some 20 years' experience in aviation matters, particularly aircraft financing and leasing and regulatory matters, and can also draw on in-house experience in the industry; Molina and his team focus on transactional tax matters, fiscal planning and structures, and tax-related regulatory and contentious issues, along with wealth management and asset planning. Maria Clara Saldarriaga Bustamante is also active in the firm's corporate/commercial area but is primarily dedicated to labour matters, where she co-leads the practice alongside Hernán Montoya Montoya Echeverri and firm co-founder Luis Carlos Jaramillo. Saldarriaga specializes in labour due diligence, individual labour law and employment matters (compensation, hiring and termination, outplacement, etc.); Montoya focuses on labour law, social security, employer responsibility and collective bargaining; and Jaramillo, who has an outstanding reputation as both an academic and a practitioner in the sector, manages collective bargaining matters with the sole industrial sub-sector permitted collective negotiations: the 22,000-strong banana-grower's union, SINTRAINAGRO - a matter he has handled for over 20 years. The dispute resolution practice is co-led by Duque (who focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration) in conjunction with Sergio Yepes Restrepo, whose practice centres on civil liability and insurance – particularly in the medical sector. Key senior associates include Alejandra Cuartas Morales (aviation); Juliana Santamaria Rendón (corporate, company law and disputes); Simon Correa Pérez (corporate and tax); and Yovanny Valenzuela Herrera (labour).

Key clients

Banafrut

Tropical

Uniban

Grupo Bios

Organización Corona

Tuyomotor

Metaligas

Inversiones Agrolorica

Grupo Agrosiete

Keshi

Industrías Haceb

San Vicente Fundación

Sanimax

Anglogold Ashanti

EGM Ingeniería Sin Fronteras

Clínica del Prado

Clínica CES

Ceiba Software House

Vixo

Valoriza

INDAER

Industrias Jaboneras la Jirafa

Estrumetal

Electroquimica West

Centro Aceros

Everfit

Landers

Tuscanis

Simelca

Andina de Materiales Industriales

Complementos Humanos

Ferbienes

Giraldo Angel Asociados

Founded in 2008,  and with an office in Bogotá as well as in Medellín, the nine-strong Giraldo Angel Asociados stands upon four key practices: corporate, dispute resolution, labour and tax, although its capabilities also reach into IP, environmental matters, real estate and administrative law. An arbitrator at the Medellín Chamber of Commerce, firm founder and senior partner Maria Isabel Giraldo Ángel has over 25 years' experience in corporate advisory matters. Indeed, the practice focuses on internal corporate, commercial and contractual matters rather than on transactional work. Key support comes from Diana White, whose practice takes in commercial, civil and real estate matters; litigator Enrique Botero, who focuses on contentious civil, commercial and tax issues; along with Juliana Montoya Santa in the tax sector, and labour and social security practitioner Carolina Villa. Client requirements have driven the development of the litigation capability; the team remains active in relation to construction-related matters, and the tax capability is increasingly developing into family wealth planning and succession management - again driven by clients. The firm maintains an association with Concepto Contable so as to offer its clients accountancy services as necessary.

Practice head(s):

Maria Isabel Giraldo Angel; Juliana Montoya Santa ; Carolina Villa; Diana White

Key clients

Alpharma

Seguridad Integral Alarmar

Estudio Cano Jiménez

Instituto Gastro-clínico

Coordinadora de Tanques

Tronex

Codiscos

Flormorado

Juki

Oceisa

Marrocar

Consorcio día

Nippon Koei Lac

Agaval

Rover Alcisa

Promobily

Unosesentaiuno

Constructora Origen

IGB

EUNO

Solufibras

Vastercor

Laboratorios Bioreferencia

Work highlights

  • Advising family businesses on the structuring of family protocols that facilitate governance and increase good working relationships.
  • Mergers and business transformations, optimising resources and facilitating business transition.
  • Comprehensive tax consultancy, optimising the implementation of internal policies that enable business and personal management.

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados

A prestigious local client roster demonstrates the degree to which Gómez-Pinzón Abogados has achieved impressive penetration of the Antioquian market since opening its office in the city back in 2003. The now 12-strong team is led by corporate and finance specialist Adriana Moreno Márquez, who splits her time between Medellín and Bogotá. With over 20 years’ experience, Moreno is accustomed to the most sophisticated mandates and recently led advice to Almacenes Éxito on the negotiation of working capital credit agreements totalling more than COP$1bn; as well as Constructora Conconcreto, as borrower, on the modification of a secured syndicated loan, granted by the nine main banks in Colombia; she is also involved in the ongoing financing process related to the development of the Puerto Antioquía project near Turbo on the Gulf of Urabá. Senior associate and office IP-practice head Catalina Arango‘s recent matters include assisting Almacenes Éxito on the development of its online market place; especially in relation to potential legal risk from an IP perspective. Other experienced associates include María Clara Estrada, who returned to the firm in June 2019 after a period both in house and in the public sector; and María Clara Palacio, who transferred to the Medellín office in January 2020; they are corporate/commercial and corporate/transactional specialists, respectively; and the IP-focused Santiago Torres García.

Practice head(s):

Adriana Moreno Márquez

Testimonials

The firm has a m ultiplicity of lawyers on different topics.

They stand out for their knowledge and experience, and quality of care.

Their strengths: deep knowledge of the client and its needs, a multidisciplinary team that allows the client to attend to all its needs at the same firm.

Knowledge, proximity, solution seeking and putting the customer at the center. It is a close relationship.

Agile and permanent communication.

Key clients

Almacenes Éxito

Constructora Conconcreto

CI Unión De Bananeros De Urabá (Uniban)

Fondo de Capital Privado Pactia

Agrícola Santamaria

Art Mode – Maaji

Fondo Inmobiliario Colombia

Procesadora De Cales Procecal

Porcelanite Lamosa

ISA Interconexión Eléctrica

MGM Sustainable Energy

MGM Energy Efficiency Colombia

Guggenheim Credit Service

Colombiana De Comercio (Corbeta)

Bancolombia

Sura Asset Management

HMV Ingenieros

Productora De Alimentos Concentrados Para Animales (Contegral)

Orpea/ Sis Group

Viviendas & Proyectos

Procter & Gamble

Onelink

Comercial Alpa

Grupo Argos

Work highlights

  • Provided legal advice to Constructora Conconcreto, as borrower, in the modification of a secured syndicated loan, granted by the nine main Banks in Colombia.
  • Legal advice to CI Uniban and Agrícola Santamaria (sponsors of the Puerto Antioquia Project) on the negotiation of (i) their participation in the project and (ii) the mezzanine and senior financing of the project with foreign and local banks and foreign infrastructure funds, including the financing granted by Global Infrastructure Partners.
  • Legal advice to Almacenes Éxito on matters including finance, corporate, intellectual property, tax, and exchange law; particularly as regards: (i) the implementation of the first online “marketplace” in Colombia before it went live to mitigate any legal and operative risk that may impact its operations and reputation; and (ii) the negotiation and signing of credit agreements for working capital for an amount exceeding COP$1Bn.

Ignacio Sanín Bernal y Cía Abogados

Founded in 1970, and with offices in both Cali and Medellín, Ignacio Sanín Bernal y Cía Abogados is primarily dedicated to tax matters but its service offering also reaches into corporate and transactional, labour and litigation matters. Currently comprised of a five-strong legal team plus accountants, the firm handles tax compliance, planning and litigation and has a notable focus on corporate and corporate-transactional (M&A) related work. The commercial practice also covers contracts, reorganisations and recapitalisations, the establishment of new branches and subsidiaries, and dissolutions and liquidations. The firm’s broad labour offering includes social security matters, executive compensation, policies and work regulations, labour contracts, immigration, and disciplinary and termination procedures, among other matters. Managing partner Juan Esteban Sanín Gómez is a noted corporate tax expert with a sub-specialty in corporate reorganisations. Key support comes from (Medellín-based) tax director (accountant) Gina Ortiz, and Ángela Patricia Hoyos Espinoza, director of the corporate and reorganizations practice. September-2019 hire Manuela Herrera Estrada leads the labour practice; but former litigation director, Manuel Castro Noreña, moved in house at Sura Asset Management in March 2020.

Practice head(s):

Juan Esteban Sanín; Angela Hoyos Espinoza

Key clients

HB Fuller

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 (in liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Advised a family on the sale of a major estate (approximately 460 hectares) in the southwestern region of Antioquia; the sale was preceded by a reorganisation of the corporate owners and an internal reallocation and redistribution of the assets – the size of the transaction makes it a landmark operation in this region.
  • Handled the restructuring of a real estate conglomerate composed of six operational companies, through the contribution-in-kind of their shares to a Colombian holding company, which will serve as parent company to the conglomerate.
  • Advised a branch of a large family on the reorganisation and cross-border merger of various vehicles of their corporate structure, prior to the sale of their shares in a listed company.

Londoño & Arango Abogados

Boutique firm Londoño & Arango Abogados enjoys a nationwide reputation after only a decade in the market with its tightly-focused offering centred on insurance and associated dispute resolution, particularly related to civil and state liability. Over recent years -since the inception of the 3 and 4G infrastructure programs- this focus has seen the firm develop particular expertise in the projects sector and today projects-related advisory matters account for a full 50% of its activity. The Covid-19 pandemic has also seen the firm involved in bankruptcy matters. Founding partners Daniel Arango and Maximiliano Londoño are both specialists in insurance and civil responsibility; the 'highly regarded' Arango is also an arbitrator at the Chambers for arbitration and conciliation of the Chambers of Commerce of both Cali and Medellín; while Londoño -whose private-practice experience includes six years at Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados- also works as an arbitrator as well as having specialisations in commercial and company law. Completing the partner line-up, Agustín Londoño too, is insurance and civil responsibility-focused. At associate level, Mauricio Moreno is the key senior and Cristina Aristizabal J -formerly a senior associate at Ariza & Marin- a significant August 2021 hire.

Key clients

Seguros Generales Suramericana

Grupo Argos

Interconexión Eléctrica

Cementos Argos

Promigas

Carvajal

XM Compañía de Expertos en Mercados

Comfama

Celsia

Nutresa

Work highlights

  • Acting as part of the CCC Ituango defence team in relation to the multibillion-dollar arbitration brought by EPM in relation to a 2018 tunnel collapse that derailed the Ituango hydroelectric project.

Medellín Legal Partners

Demonstrating ‘impressive professionalism‘, ‘MLP’ – Medellín Legal Partners – is a seven-strong corporate boutique focused on banking and finance, transactional matters, real estate, IP, tax and immigration for both local companies and foreign investors. Founding partner Andrés Orlando Durango is an economist as well as a lawyer and can also draw on experience in Asia (notably Shanghai and Singapore); his broad practice primarily encompasses banking and finance, real estate, and tax matters. In this latter area, key support comes from Nubia Stella Ocampo, who is both an accountant and a tax-specialised lawyer. Legal director Dora Cristina Restrepo is another key figure, and focuses on foreign investment matters. Increasingly consolidated in its core areas of corporate structuring, tax, real estate and finance – recent matters, include project structuring and finance in the hospitality sector – the firm is increasingly engaging in new areas including communications, cryptocurrencies, capital markets and mining. Personnel moves saw the departure of former senior associate, Juliana Agudelo, to establish her own practice and the subsequent arrival of young associate Samuel José Pardo (‘a brilliant young man‘) in early 2020; the firm has since added another junior, Antonia Vélez in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Andrés Orlando Durango; Samuel José Pardo; Nubia Stella Ocampo

Testimonials

They have amazing communication skills, everything they put on the table is transparent and easy to understand. Overall I value proper attention, not being a huge client sometimes it is easy to be overlooked, Samuel (my legal advisor) did not let that happen at any point.

My experience was very favourable. Impressive professionalism and availability of time to answer any questions. My relationship was with the lawyer Samuel Pardo. Brilliant young man available whenever it was necessary to consult him. I was surprised that billing was done after services. As a general rule, other offices ask for an advance.’

This outstanding team provided remarkable flexibility and professionalism. They helped me through two very challenging real estate purchases. This was during the pandemic when I could not travel to the country. They always found a way to get things done and helped me with each step on they way. They seemed far more professional and diligent than the sellers attorneys.

MLP was very adept at working with apostille, electronic communication and signature options. Exceptional level of services provided in support of a wide range of legal needs during the sale and continuing after the sale was complete. Concierge level of services were provided to get me to and through important meetings when I am in town.

MLP partners have a high degree of “likeability”. They are very professional at all times in appearance and behaviour. They have provided me with exceptional access and a wide range of services. I’ve worked with several other law firms in my life but nobody else comes close to MLP in access, promptness, range and quality of services.

Our company was fortunate to find and hire MLP-Medellin Legal Partners to help us with contractual agreements for financing and building our first project in Colombia.

Their experience in dealing with foreign companies interested in doing business in Colombia and their thorough understanding of our legal needs were critical to our success.

Andres Durango and Samuel Pardo from MLP led the negotiations in-country and provided strong leadership and guidance throughout the entire process. Their professionalism, expertise and diligence were key to uncover and minimize potential risks and to reach reasonable milestones in the negotiations.

We were in the middle of the pandemic during our negotiations, so their ability to use different ways to communicate with our attorneys in the United States and our customers’ attorneys in Colombia, both in English and Spanish, was critical to keep everyone engaged and moving forward.

First they were all fluent in English. Second they were very knowledgeable in assisting me, as a foreigner in this country, with assisting in purchasing a property. They explained the process throughly before hand and also discussed all options available to me specific to the services they offered. The number one thing was that I was able to communicate in English. Each partner was patient when working with me.

Andres Durango worked very well with me, but more specifically Samuel Pardo worked very closely with me and was patient and clearly had my best interest at hand. I congratulate both of them with their professionalism.

The company also acted as a an escrow account holder which was important when purchasing my property. They made the process seamless and also they provided services so that I could become a resident here. Everything they communicated to me at the beginning of the process and it all worked in the way that they communicated. The billing and invoice process was clear to me and very transparent as to what I was paying for and when it was due.

Key clients

Thermal Technologies

Seva Holidays

Infinite Laundry

Osprey Metals

Netland Solutions

Blue Sky Properties

Solar Solution

Chateau de Noir Holdings

Doctor Jabal Uffelman

Doctor Quintin Orvile Law

Gringo – Paisa Beverage & Restaurant

Max Wealth Group

Grupo Tres Rios

Coru App Latinoamérica

Work highlights

  • Advised Thermal Technologies Inc on funding a $1.8m credit with a compliance/title search on the assets set as securities.
  • Advised Serena Realty and/or Grupo Tres Rios on the structuring in a hotel management contract that one company will provide the other for the management and operation of their various hotels.
  • Advised Coru App Latinoamerica on corporate structuring to take advantage of possible tax benefits for technology start-ups in Colombia and the legal implications on labour/employment, tax and corporate governance that might apply.

Posse Herrera Ruiz

The Medellín office of national, full-service powerhouse Posse Herrera Ruiz is staffed by three key senior associates: Natalia Tobón, who focuses on dispute resolution; corporate practitioner Julián Aguirre (who is also active in pro bono affairs); and Juan Pablo García, whose real estate practice encompasses both urbanism and agribusiness. Medellín-born -but Bogota-based- partner, tax specialist Juan Camilo De Bedout visits the office on a weekly basis and the firm has proved at ease transferring entire teams from the capital as required. The office has experienced a steady growth in sophisticated tax controversy work, and more recently, an increasing demand for arbitration; Bogotá-based disputes partner Carolina Posada has been actively supporting Tobón in boosting the office’s contentious caseload and the firm is currently handling two major arbitrations at the Medellín Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration centre. This growth has been further supported by the arrival of October-2020 hire, Cristina Vásquez, who will direct the firm’s infrastructure and public law areas from the office. The team is also particularly active in contentious finance, insurance and real estate-related matters, with key clients such as Alianza Fiduciaria and Seguros Comerciales Bolívar. Recent matters include assisting tech client Gorilla Logic on the establishment of its business in Medellin; the operation started with less than five employees and has since hired more than 50 employees in its first year, requiring significant labour advisory support. Since publication, Vásquez has been raised to the partnership (effective January 2022), giving the office a permanent partner-level presence.

Key clients

Alianza Fiduciaria

Compañía  Administradora de Seguros y Servicios Coassist

Seguros Comerciales Bolívar

NAF Colombia

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlyle Group, through Coney Park Peru and its subsidiary Divertronica Medellin on the negotiations of modifications to a loan granted to them under Peruvian law; these modifications were of critical importance as they allowed our client to continue the operation of its parks even though multiple temporary closures were enforced due to the Covid pandemic.
  • Representing Millicom subsidiary, UNE, in a dispute initiated before the Arbitration centre of the Chamber of Commerce of Medellín by America Movil subsidiary, Comcel, for claims of breach of the Interconnection Agreement between the parties; the outcome of the proceeding is important for UNE not only for the value of the claims (COP$39bn), but also for the implications it could have over its Interconnection Agreements with other operators.
  • Acting on behalf of Consorcio CCC Ituango in an international arbitration proceeding administered by the Medellin Chamber of Commerce in a counterclaim against state company Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EMP); the latter claims the consortia was responsible for a tunnel collapse that derailed the Ituango Hydroelectic Project in 2018, at the cost of billions of dollars.

Suma Legal

Founded in 2006, the 'excellent' Suma Legal is a 14-lawyer-strong firm focused principally on corporate and transactional matters, dispute resolution, insurance and labour. It also has a number of additional offerings including medical law, real estate and trusts, data protection and tech, and an underlying strength in administrative law. The latter team is led by managing partner Mauricio Ortega J ('stands out for his ability to understand business and help us with strategic approaches'), who also co-heads the corporate, contractual and M&A, and tax and foreign exchange practices, in conjunction with fellow-founding partner Carmela Rodríguez J ('excellent in the execution of contracts'). Handling primarily day-to-day matters (shareholder disputes, negotiations, contracts and operational matters), transactional due diligence and the structuring of investment projects (acquisitions, sales, etc.), the corporate departments is particularly involved in M&A deals related to inbound investment, as well as in corporate projects with a public aspect such as the Corporación Ruta N Medellín tech platform the firm has worked with since its inception in 2008, or the novel private-public association developed for the Biosuroeste agro-park. The firm's third co-founder Mateo Peláez García ('an extremely efficient, timely, diligent and competent lawyer') heads up the insurance and civil liability and dispute resolution practices, and also has a growing participation in the trusts sub-sector, particularly in relation to distressed real estate trusts. Completing the partner line up, Clara Patricia Correa ('management, knowledge, experience and service') joined the firm in 2008; she leads a labour and social security practice that covers the full range of employment matters. Associates Melissa Jones Martinez, Marcela Flórez Sierra, Alejandro Gómez Zapata and José Daniel Porras are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mauricio Ortega; Carmela Rodríguez; Mateo Peláez García

Testimonials

The team is very good, solid in its arguments and very willing to find a solution. That they show a genuine interest in your case, regardless of whether it is the largest or the most important and that is fundamental, so they implement the best possible defence strategy.

It is a diverse team, which has all the technological tools to make things work normally, especially in this period of pandemic when we have not had a single face-to-face meeting.

Efficiency and total legal security in the service! Dedication, commitment and above all reliability.

It is a firm which is fully involved with the client, with the group’s needs and finds the best solution of all, always with well-defined ethical principles.

‘I highlight their closeness, kindness, good treatment and excellent knowledge. There is a direct relationship with the person I want to take care of my affairs. Carmela Rodríguez and Mauricio Ortega are outstanding.

The relationship is very close with the client, the cost-benefit relationship is perfect, it has all the required practices, they are always available.

The Suma Legal team adapted to our sustainability and study business to be able to support us in all matters and contracts. Being a new sector they became experts with full comprehensiion of the carbon market so as to help us.’

Mauricio Ortega stands out for his ability to understand business and help us with strategic approaches.

Carmela Rodriguez is excellent in the execution of our contracts.

Their honesty, knowledge and experience.

Suma Legal provides us with all contracts and business strategy. They are excellent at structuring partnerships which makes our work easier.

There is a relationship of trust between the people who work there, allowing greater fluidity in solving challenges. Technological aids are implemented that allow us to be more efficient.’

The professional staff are characterised by having incorporated an operating culture aligned with service and agility; the accompaniment always stands out for being comprehensive, always delivering more than expected.’

Among the professionals who stand out and with whom we permanently interact, are: i. Mauricio Ortega Jaramillo (who serves as Secretary General); ii. José Daniel Porras Nicholls (who acts as a public procurement advisor); iii. Clara Correa Jaramillo (a labour consultant); and, iv. Marcela Flórez Sierra (a corporate advisor). On a scale of 1 to 10, all are 10 for their management, knowledge, experience and service.

Suma Legal, has a staff of professional specialists in the different branches of the legal discipline, as well as a group of transversal advisers. They have recently incorporated elements of digital transformation that allow agility in the accompaniment, marking a difference in relation to other firms.’

The knowledge and experience that the firm has are not improvised, especially in a sector as complex as healthcare.

The Suma Legal team is excellent, they have the necessary skills to accompany us, the clients, in all the matters that are required to be legally protected and, to accompany the judicial processes that are presented to us. They compare favorably with other firms, due to their competence, dedication and service. Mateo Pelaez is an extremely efficient, timely, diligent and competent lawyer for the legal practices in which he accompanies us, he is an outstanding partner.’

Suma Legal is an expert in dispute resolution and litigation before the courts of justice, also in the defense of conflict situations, always looking for the best possible scenarios for clients. In the environment they stand out in relation to other groups of lawyers and have a highly favorable reputation.’

The practice of the Suma Legal litigation area is distinguished by high quality teamwork.

They have a human quality and closeness to the client. Dealing with each of the lawyers is easy and fluid. There is always a willingness to respond to suggestions and this shows interest in the continuous development of the company’s staff.’

A novelty that stands out at Suma Legal is its interest in preparing academic concepts on different topics, not just litigation issues, which they share with us and which are highly rigorous.

Key clients

Cristalería Peldar

OI Latam

Cristar

Forjas Bolívar

Cipreses de Colombia

Corporación Creame Incubadora de Empresas

WMC Films (Mowies)

Fundación Proantioquia

Medipiel

Valores Simesa

Cercarbono

Agrícola Cerro Prieto

Conconcreto

Fruty Green

Melonn

Avanto Tech

Corporación Biosuroeste

Fiduciaria Corficolombiana

Cementos Argos

Seguros Generales Suramericana

EPS Suramericana

Seguros de Vida Suramericana

La Previsora Compañia de Seguros

Marketing Personal

Grupo EMI

Centro Comercial Los Molinos

Clínica Universitaria Bolivariana

Angiosur

Colmédica Medicina Prepagada

Aliansalud EPS

Viviendas y Proyectos

Casa de Sabaneta

Work highlights

  • Accompaniment in the design and operation of the Biosoeste Corporation as the first Agropark framed in science, technology and public-private innovation in Colombia.
  • Legal support to Peruvian export company Agrícola Cerro Prieto on the consolidation of its operation in Colombia.
  • Legal advice on the structuring and implementation of the project called Innspiramed, aimed at linking the public and private sectors in the identification of innovative solutions for the attention of the Covid-19 crisis.

Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados

Medellín-based but with a Bogotá office and a national reputation, 14-strong insurance specialist firm Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados has a 25-year trajectory handling the full range of insurance and underwriting matters, along with related disputes and contentious work. It also handles transport law. Particularly known for its litigation practice where it handles major claims, accidents, environmental pollution, product liability, medical malpractice, machinery failure and constructor liability, among other matters, the disputes team represents clients in the civil, labour and administrative courts and before state entities such as the SIC; it also handles class actions suits and arbitration. Firm founder, former Supreme Court judge and co-founder of IARCE (today the Instituto Colombiano de Responsibilidad Civil y del Estado), Javier Tamayo Jaramillo has over 40 years' experience in insurance and is one of the foremost jurists in his field. Fluent in English and German as well as Spanish, insurance and risk analysis specialist Laura Restrepo Madrid has over 20 years at the firm (and its predecessor, Tamayo & Moreno). Beyond senior partner level, however, the firm has undergone a major restructuring. Following the February 2020 departure of Ana Catalina Restrepo (to DAC Beachcroft Colombia), and the subsequent June 2020 departures of Laura Restrepo and Ana Isabel Villa to establish their own firm, former senior associates Carlos Andres Gonzales Galvís (risk analysis, insurance, liability, litigation and  procedural law), Luis Miguel Gómez (litigation) and Margarita Rosa Jaramillo (liability and insurance law ) were all made partners after more than a decade as associates, as were Daniel Ossa Gómez, who returned to the firm after a year as head of legal processes and reclamations at EPM; and Laura Castaño Echeverri (litigation and consulting in civil liability, insurance, and contract law) who returned from Ariza & Marin. In the wake of the above, insurance specialist Juliana Gómez Londoño is the key associate.

Key clients

Chubb Seguros Colombia

Seguros Generales Suramericana

Seguros de Vida Suramericana

HDI Seguros / HDI Seguros de Vida

Compañía Aseguradora de Fianzas – Confianza

SBS Seguros

Bancolombia

Industrial Concretodo

Aeronáutica Civil de olombia

Consorcio HHA

Arquitectura y Concreto

Inhabitants of Space and Asensi Buildings

Promigas

Celsia

Constructora Monserrate de Colombia / Constructora Monteparaíso

Aluminio Nacional (Alumina)

Electricaribe

Fenoco

Eduardo Botero Soto

Work highlights

  • Representing Seguros Generales Suramericana in a pension-fund insurance claim by Electrolima following several costly judicial decisions issued against the company that resulted from investigations by the Contraloría into aspects of the company’s pension system payments
  • Representing Promigas, as a co-defendant alongside the Ministry of Energy and Mining, in a $1.75m class action law suit relating to injuries caused by the explosion of a pipeline sabotaged by FARC guerrillas
  • Representing Arquitectura & Concreto in a $10.5m case for alleged breach of contract brought by Enterprise Urban Development (EDU).

UH Abogados

Best known for the real estate capabilities which have won the firm a national reputation, the fast growing UH Abogados is now 27 lawyers strong. Its practice offering is nevertheless far broader and includes commercial and company law, competition, consumer rights, labour and employment, litigation and dispute resolution, IP and data privacy, financing, insurance and risk management. The firm was founded in 2015 by name partners Carolina Uribe and Carlos Henao, who co-lead the core real-estate practice. Nevertheless - in part as a result of their respective in-house experience - they also offer expertise in company, commercial and finance law, along with consumer rights, transactions (M&A), commercial and partnership law, respectively; both also undertake conflict resolution and crisis management. Juan Bernardo Tascón joined the firm (as partner) in 2016 and heads up the litigation and conflict resolution and insurance/civil responsibility practices. However, the firm has endured a number of departures with real estate seniors Katherin Jiménez and Carolina Saldarriaga moving in house (at Fondo Inmobiliario Colombia and developer Londoño Gómez, respectively) and the additional departure of Daniela Acevedo. Nevertheless, the firm hired senior associate Maria Adelaida Zapata from Posse Herrera Ruiz in March 2020 and has also brought in a number of juniors. Further key support on the corporate/commercial side is provided by Daniela Vélez Bayter.

Practice head(s):

Carolina Uribe; Carlos Henao; Juan Bernardo Tascón

Testimonials

Extensive knowledge regarding the necessary validations to investigate the history of the property, its provenance, its owners up to 20 years ago and to ensure that said property is free from possible lawsuits and disputes.

Great attention to details. recommendations based on facts and data clearly setting out any risks that may arise.

We have worked directly with Carolina Uribe Arango. Apart from obtaining peace of mind regarding the origin of the property, they work with teams that also undertake this for banks that can be used to finance said properties.

Daniela Vélez, a great lawyer, with a service disposition, a very critical vision and a very high capacity for analysis.

It is a team that cares about understanding the business of its clients, this means that the accompaniment is very successful, it is first class legal advice, very focused on the business. It is a group of lawyers with sufficient technical solvency, knowledge, disposition and availability to accompany and advise the companies of the business group that I represent.’

‘Excellent technical solvency and knowledge in the different areas of law. Excellent relationship with its customers. Correct and pertinent answers to each of the requests made of them. The electronic billing process and compliance with legal requirements.’

UH offers a high number of services in different areas of law, which allows it to provide a comprehensive service. They use technological means to send information and communicate with their clients.

Lawyers of the firm that stand out:Carlos Henao, Juan Bernardo Tascón, Luisa Carmona Escobar, Maria Jose Romero, David Lopera Noguera, Amalia Escobar, Lina Marcela Hoyos’.

Carlos Henao: high flexibility, a focus on results and finds satisfactory solutions for the parties.

Key clients

Renault Sofasa

Avofruit

Puntos Colombia

Auralac

Viliv

Ecosistemas Digitales

RCI Colombia

Almacenes Flamingo

Haceb Whirlpool Industrial

Greiffenstein Arango

Greiffenstein Mejía & Cía

Hydrocare

Cinco Sólidos

Dirección de Productos Tecnológicos

Gonzalo Aristizábal Mondragón Sucesores y Cía

Home Capital

Grupo Bios

Pintuco

Tienda Registrada

Doblamos

Mineros

Grúas y Equipos

Work highlights

  • Advised Greiffenstein Arango and Greiffenstein Mejía & Cia on the sale of their shareholding capital in Arquitectura y Construcciones, Arconsa Inmobiliaria and Contratos Inmobiliarios.
  • Ongoing and permanent advice to Constructora Contex on the structuring a Kúo mega-housing project located in Sabaneta, Antioquia, with over 550 apartments.
  • Advised Promedan on the incorporation of a company, the drafting and negotiation of a shareholder’s agreement, and the drafting of the agreement for transfer of personal and sensitive data.

VM Legal

Founded in 2012, VM Legal is an eight-strong corporate/transactional tax boutique that also handles commercial issues and matters relating to exchange, foreign investment and foreign debt. While the team handles a little estate planning work, it primarily acts for a corporate - rather than family office - client base, and demonstrates particular expertise in the fiduciary schemes accompanying real estate and public works projects from the contractual and tax perspectives. The firm also ensures personalised partner involvement in all the matters it handles. Founding partners Adriana Melo and Beatriz Villegas have postgraduate and masters’ qualifications in tax law and 20 years' practice experience; both cover the full spectrum of corporate tax matters although Melo undertakes slightly more day-to-day planning and structuring work, while Villegas handles more concessions-related matters and consultancy regarding transfer pricing. Currently, consultancy (primarily on a permanent basis) comprises approximately half of the firm’s workload; with tax litigation and - increasingly - tax reorganisations and restructuring matters constituting the other half. The firm’s contentious corporate tax capability is a differentiator from other boutiques, with the disputes practice director, senior associate Sergio Duque, also handling administrative litigation. A transactional and commercial tax specialist (and head of the firm’s M&A practice), Laura Sanin returned to the firm from Gómez-Pinzón Abogados in June 2019 and is also a key senior. Sebastián Zapata Rincón, who specialises in tax legislation, and Daniela Álvarez Arango, who has a postgraduate qualification in international tax management, are also integral fisgures in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Adriana Melo; Beatriz Villegas

Key clients

Grupo Argos

Cementos Argos

Construcciones El Cóndor

Sp Ingenieros

Auteco

Acierto Inmobiliario

Invesa

Grupo Bios

Odinsa

Espumas Plasticas

Grupo Nutresa

Mineros

Ticsa Colombia

Exito