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. Specialist boutiques - such as Velasco & Calle D’Aleman Abogados in the tech sector, or Terranova Consultoria and Alfara, both in the environmental area - have all successfully established themselves, and 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 current 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. The firm also employs other teams as required - notably that of Hito Consultoría Jurídica with which the firm recently undertook the co-representation of consulting engineers Ingeniería Estructural in a $3.5m case before administrative courts.

Testimonials

Dr Luis Fernando Alvarez is a lawyer recognised for his academic trajectory as a private practitioner (advising and representing diverse companes) and for his role in the judiciary. He stands out from other lawyers as a result of this multiple career path and all the contacts that this has given him.

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

Work highlights

  • Representing power-producer Gen+ in a COP5bn suit against Corantioquia resulting from the denial of an environmental licence; the case is currently suspended due to the Covid pandemic.
  • Representing infrastructure-construction consortium Devimed in a COP$3bn extracontractual liability suit brought by the inhabitants of Cantera Las Nieves in relation to a landslide on the Medellín-Bogotá highway.
  • Representing Devimed in a COP$18n case brought by the Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (INA) on economic grounds; the matter was resolved in conciliation.
  • Representing Termocandelaria in a COP$35bn nullity and restoration procedure brought against the Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos (case handled in conjunction with Gómez Pinzón Abogados with Dr Álvarez as lead lawyer).  
  • Advice to and representation of advertising company Publik, in a COP$3bn demand against the municipality of Medellín arising from an order that the company withdraw its public screens from around the city.

Ariza & Marin

'Very strong in the state-contracting niche', according to peers, Ariza & Marin is a highly specialised, eight-strong disputes firm. Founded in 2009, it is particularly prominent in the projects sector - particularly in relation to highway concessions and, increasingly, energy projects - and is also active in relation to insurance, civil/state liability, and consumer law. With an LLM in public law and specializations in tax and civil liability, Carolina Ariza has 12 years’ disputes experience; primarily focused on complex negotiations and high-impact legislation, her current mandates include acting as counsel to the concessionaire for the Antioquia-Bolivar highway PPP project and advising Hyundai and Acciona, as contractors, regarding the construction of the Aguas Claras wastewater treatment plant. Fellow founding-partner Camilo Marín focuses on insurance, civil responsibility, and public and private contracting; with 12 years' disputes experience (primarily arbitration), he is currently representing the Gaico-Hycsa consortium in a COP$13bn suit and counter-claim with Metroplus regarding the Aburrá Valley public transit system. Marín also has niche expertise in crisis management. Also noted is key senior associate Nicolás López Ochoa, who handles administrative, consumer and commercial matters ranging from class actions to contractual disputes. Team developments in early 2020 saw the departure of senior associate Cristina Aristizabal Johnson, who joined Reserva Legal Abogados, and her replacement by Laura Castaño, formerly of Tamayo Jaramillo & Asociados. The highly experienced Castaño is likely to further bolster the firm’s insurance practice.

Testimonials

They manage the client-advisor relationship very well and we’ve had excellent professional results with the firm.

It’s a great team: they help us with all our high-end commercial matters, contracts with clients, suppliers and leases. The lawyers – Juanita Arbeláez, Miguel Lozano, Laura Castaño and Carolina Ariza – are disposed to hear what the client wants and take it into account, they seek the form of undertaking matters that best aligns with our aims and necessities. In addition, they seek to undertake matters as rapidly as possibly when urgent – this is very important: their efficiency and response times are very good, especially in pressing matters.

The practice group is accomplished and differentiates itself through its degree of engagement and investigatory capabilities. Moreover, they are rigorous in terms of keeping to agreed time-frames and the coherency and commitment to services is far better than that of other firms with which we have worked. Partner Carolina Ariza is always very involved in the development of the strategy required to resolve the issue in hand.

It’s a very solid team and each of its lawyers has considerable autonomy and a firm grasp of their respective areas of practice. It’s great to be able to count on a firm in which it is not only the principal partners but also the associates who are more than ideal when it comes to offering legal services.

The lawyer Carolina Ariza has a profound knowledge of administrative law, not only from a practical perspective but also academically. This guarantees that the service provided is in accord with the most recent legal knowledge and thinking.’

Their strong points include very high prestige in the sector built upon a legal team that is very complete and I would highlight their efficiency and rapid attention to our concerns. The team stands out in terms of its friendliness and disposition to work at any moment. These are winning points in comparison with other law firms.’

Lead partners Camilo Marín and Carolina Ariza, and the associates at the firm, stand out strongly from other firms as a result of their excellent attitude and delivery regarding all the matters we send them on a weekly basis, which the company has found highly satisfactory. These outstanding results are obtained on the basis of excellent strategizing and case management in each of the conflicts or necessities presented in the legal and commercial areas.’

It is a team with skill in all fields and one that is able to relate closely with its clients and that engages fully with the matter to be resolved. They really become part of our business and take on our problems as if their own. I’ve known them for many years and was finally able to make them my legal advisors.

It is a young group and their knowledge is fresh and constantly updated – they are curious and have a work desk where they share and analyse the cases handled by each one, in a manner that ensures they complement and advise each other among themselves. They are particular since they interiorise our problems as if their own. Among their greatest qualities are their permanent availability, their commitment and capabilities, and their professional knowledge – here I would particularly mention Dr Camilo Marín and Nicolas López.’

The partners personally take on the matters sent to them; the timeliness of their management of cases is outstanding. Specifically, I’d mention partner Camilo Marín. He is the best advisor that I’ve had the opportunity to know in Medellín as regards administrative law.

Ariza & Marín is an excellent law firm whose principal characteristic is its excellent team work; one’s case is handled in this manner, assuring sufficient support and excellent knowledge.’

Partner Camilo Marín and associate Juanita Arbeláez are professionals who involve themselves deeply, ensuring that the follow-up of processes is undertaken in a clear and ordered manner. They always take the necessary steps to ensure a positive conclusion to each case. Attention is very personalised, which results in the needs of each client being handled in a unique manner.

The law firm Ariza & Marín has been essential in the definitive resolution of the manner entrusted to it. The matter presented very complex judicial problems and the firm has been diligent, highly ethical, agile, prudent and efficient in obtaining a favourable resolution of the matters. It’s worth stating that the firm and its lawyers have been with us at every step of the negotiation, providing us with their support and professional advice. Additionally, they explained the different possible alternatives regarding the case and its possible resolution with honesty and clarity. Their counsel was fundamental and the final result very favourable to our interests. We have very high regard for Ariza & Marín and I would strongly recommend their juridical intervention to whoever may need it.’

Ariza & Marín has proven professional capability. The most noteworthy and valuable aspect of the firm is the human qualities of its members, which clearly differentiates them from other firms. The matter being handled involved personal and affective factors that made it still more complex. Nevertheless, the lawyers responsible for the case – Cristina Aristizabal, Esteban Ospina and particularly principal partner Carolina Ariza – knew how to interpret this factor, supporting us at each step, making us see the pros and cons of the negotiation but also assuring us of their unconditional support at each stage and giving us all the elements necessary so as to be able to choose the option we regarded as the most suitable with complete freedom. Ariza & Marín is a marvellous example of the symbiosis between great professionalism and essential human values. Each and every member of the firm is an example of the exercise of law as a discipline that acts in favour of justice and undertaken with complete honesty, respect and efficiency.’

Key clients

Consortium Gaico-Hycsa

Obras Subterráneas

ICPB Consortium

ANSA

Consortium Redes Continente

Consortium Acueducto Redes

San Nicolás Ingeniería y Contratos

Paecia

Hyundai Engineering and Construction

Acciona Agua

Ménsula

Asfalto y Hormigón

Conjunto Residencial Atavanza

Obras Civiles e Inmobiiarias

Consorcio Vías del Centro

Carboantioquia

Comercializadora S&E y Cía

ENECON

Work highlights

  • Representing Ménsula consortium (as guarantor) in the COP3bn suit filed by Mineros in relation to the construction of the Providencia III hydroelectric plant.
  • Representing OCEISA in a COP19.7bn suit (and countersuit) against Empresas Públicas de Medellín in relation to the aborted Parques del Río project.
  • Contractual counsel to Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Acciona Agua and others, in relation to the $63.5m Bello waste-water treatment plant (PTAR Aguas Claras), the largest of its type in the country.
  • Contractual counsel to the Loma Alta consortium in relation to the development of drinking water supplies to Buenaventura as part of the Plan Todos Somos PAZcífico social program.
  • Representing special purpose vehicle Corumar as an interested third party (and concessionaire of a COP2,753bn 4G PPP project for the improvement of roads between Antioquia, Córdoba, Sucre and Bolivar), in an ongoing class action brought in the administrative court of Córdoba.

Arrubla Devis Asociados

'Highly responsive and adaptable', Arrubla Devis Asociados is a ten-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. 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), 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 firm also maintains an association with Cali-based Espíndola International Consultants.

Testimonials

They combine deep knowledge of Colombian law with understanding of international business law. The quality and response times of the service they provide are the best I know – by far.

It strikes me as a firm that is well positioned for the new reality that we are living in – highly responsive and adaptable.

Our impression is very favourable in comparison with other firms since it is a professional team. They are always well informed regarding the issues to be dealt with and have a strategy.

The key, to my understanding, is the leadership of Rafael McCausland. I honestly believe that he’d do well in anything he touches. He has an enormous orientation towards client service and business and transmits tranquillity and security with every step.’

Dr Jaime Alberto Arrubla is one of the most important jurists in the country and combines his experience as a judge with many years working as a party lawyer, which gives him great professional versatility.’

Jaime Esteban Arrubla and Rafael McCausland are excellent lawyers, completely bilingual, with solid judicial criteria and outstanding analytical capacity.

Doctors Jaime Arrubla and Rafael McCausland are legal professionals of considerable trajectory and responsibility, ever ready to ensure their clients are well informed as regards strategy and each stage to be developed.

The team that assists us is Jaime Arrubla and Rafael McCausland who always ensure their clients are kept informed as to the strategy to be followed and each of the events that will occur and how to meet them. They always maintain very professional and cordial relations both with the clients and before the authorities with whom they interact.

I would reiterate my praise of Rafael McCausland as the leader of the team that attends our needs. He is a 10-out-of-10 professional, above all for commercial questions. His virtues: he always fulfils his commitments; he is very client and business oriented, and transmits tranquillity and security.

Key clients

Portal Calicanto

ANDJE – Agencia Nacional de Defensa Jurídica del Estado

ISAGEN

Argos

Fábric de Especias y Productos El Rey

Triguisar de Colombia

Smurfit Kappa – Cartón de Colombia

Autogermaco

Crystal

Earthrights International

Work highlights

  • Representing XM Compañía de Expertos en Mercado with regard to a $25m suit brought by the company responsible for the construction of the TERMOCOL thermo-generation project in relation to the construction and execution guarantees.
  • Representing construction company Portal Calicanto in a $5.2m arbitration brought by governmental entity Transcaribe regarding cost over-runs in the development of Cartagena’s integrated public transport system.
  • Representing the National State Agency for Judicial Defence (ANDJE) in a $300m arbitration against the Colombian State brought by concession-holder UTMVVCC and regarding an alleged breach of a concession contract by the National Infrastructure Agency, ANI.
  • Represented the land owners in a successful $2m breach-of-contract case brought against the Colombian subsidiary of Turkish coal multinational Yildrin.

B&O Abogados

Founded in 2009, B&O Abogados is a ten-strong boutique with a close focus on corporate and tax matters. Founding partners Maria Mercedes Bermúdez and Juan David Ocampo have 17- and 15-years' experience in tax and corporate/commercial matters, respectively. Bermúdez' practice is primarily focused on tax structuring matters where she also has particular niche expertise in the entertainment sector. Ocampo's work centres on contractual and transactional corporate matters but is also informed by specializations in tax, foreign trade, foreign exchange and arbitration; his recent notable mandates include acting as co-counsel to Un Solo Proveedor on its sale to Pivot Capital. The firm's commitment to ensuring partner-participation in all matters saw the firm make up a third partner, Andrés Isaza Olarte, who acts on both corporate and tax matters. Additional movement saw the February 2020 arrival of senior associate Catalina Moreno from CELT Consultores, to replace Susana Londoño who moved in-house at start-up business-incubator No Name in March 2020.

Work highlights

  • Advised Inversiones RMB, as vendors, on the tax planning implications of its $24.2m sale of LASA Sociedad de Apoyo Aeronáutico to Talma Servicios Aeroportuarios (Peru).  
  • Advised on the tax planning and structuring of projects such Hotel El Cielo and the Acalis Senior Center (Medellín), and associated contractual matters.  
  • Represented Vibras Lab in administrative proceedings before the Colombian tax authority (DIAN), concerning the calculation of income tax and resulting in the equivalent of a $3m saving for the client.  
  • Presented various ‘Orange Economy’ projects to the Ministry of Culture so as to apply for a tax benefit (tax exempt income for a seven year period); all the proposals presented were approved by the Ministry.

Cavelier Abogados

Intellectual property has long been the core practice at veteran firm Cavelier Abogados, which has used this strength to penetrate the Antioquian market since opening in Medellín back in 2012. The firm is active in the Intellectual Property Program for Colombia, sponsored by the Medellín Chamber of Commerce (CCMA) and IDB, as a result of which it has provided consultancy services to over 30 companies; it has also been involved in local innovation projects with Colombian business chamber ANDI and tech-incubator Ruta N. Medellín-office coordinator and senior associate John Romero is an IP specialist with a strong commercial aspect to his practice; he leads a four-strong team of associates that attends to a client roster including both household names and the micro-businesses and start-ups so prevalent in the city, primarily from sectors such as technology, manufacturing, education and product distribution. The team also acts for the Universidad de Antioquia and regional family compensation fund COMFAMA regarding the protection of intangible assets of all types.

Testimonials

The Cavelier team is truly amazing. They have always collaborated with us in everything we have needed and proactively have sent us a lot of useful information. Cavelier’s service has really stood out above the others.

We have worked with John Romero and Patricia Guzmán since 2016, always with excellent treatment, making us feel accompanied in a country that is not ours, with an above-average commitment and quality of service. In particular Patricia has been on top of the details that we have needed, always ready and focused on our needs. Lately we are working with Juliana Munera and she has also shown and demonstrated a warmth and dedication to service that shows that Cavelier cares about selecting members with particular characteristics for its team and maintains a remarkable organizational culture.

Their knowledge of the business continues to make a huge difference in ensuring we have an excellent commercial-legal relationship with Cavelier. The team’s understanding of the corporate culture of the parent company makes the relationship more dynamic. The personal relationship and stability of the Cavelier team with my work team builds trust and credibility.

John Romero, Patricia Guzmán, Juliana Munera and Laura Salazar make up a multidisciplinary team that contributes to each of the queries that arise from day to day and in special cases that require different attention to, among others, responses to control entities or suppliers with whom the company has a relationship.’

Key clients

Red Bull

Ermenegildo Zegna

Atlético Nacional

Universidad de Antioquia

Comfama

Stihl

Inteinsa

Pyxis

San José Inversiones

Alico

Clever Moda

Tri Couunty Furniture Service

Endava

Tropical Group

Healthphy

CMC Abogados

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 has 15 years' experience and a specialization 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. Mónica Arango Espinal is director of the foreign exchange and consumer rights practices and also has a specialization 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. Managing partner Camilo Trujillo Millán 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; a finance lawyer with a specialisation in aviation and space law, he has over ten years' experience. 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 recent developments saw the firm strengthen its real estate practice with the hire of mid-level associate Daniel Rueda from Ampara Abogados in February 2020.

Key clients

Aeroméxico

Viva Air

Atlas Air

Química Orión

Genius Sports Services

Reciclados Industriales

Jala Group

ADK Group

MyWorld

Coopetraban

Acumen

Work highlights

  • Advised multipe companies – including Lyconet and MyWorld – on the incorporation of their Colombian branches, including the structuring of the operations.
  • Advised the Química Orión group on its structural reorganisation, corporate governance policies and a shareholders’ agreement.
  • Advised Los Aples de Aguagace on a 20-year joint venture agreement in the food production and export sector.
  • Advised social-business builders Acumen and Acceso/Clinton Foundation on the establishment of share plans for key employees and service providers of the organizations’ respective company portfolios.
  • Advised Fast Colombia on the Colombian aspects of a multi-jurisdictional  tax assessment and potential efficiencies analysis, as well as on aircraft interchange and lease contracts.

Contexto Legal Abogados

Standing at the forefront of Medellín’s legal market, the 30-strong, full-service Contexto Legal Abogados has developed a national reach over the last 15 years - and earned a healthy domestic reputation in the process. 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. Clara Uribe’s broad practice includes leading on commercial law matters, real estate and dispute resolution (litigation, arbitration and ADR), and co-leading the administrative law and public procurement areas. 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’. 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. Associate director of the labour practice Melissa Echeverri focuses on individual and collective employment matters and related administrative proceedings; she can also draw on former experience at the Labour Circuit Court. Competition and IP director Laura Moreno has over 15 years’ experience; her practice covers intellectual property (and associated litigation), competition, antitrust and consumer law. Fellow senior associates Sara Aldana and Felipe Restrepo (both corporate/M&A) and Eliana Garcés (tax) are 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.

Testimonials

Clara Uribe is very dedicated and experienced: business orientated, great negotiation skills and very service orientated.

The tax team of Contexto Legal has been very useful for our foundation. Their team attended us in various issues during our legal year. The law in Colombia changes all the time and they are always aware of developments. They have different levels in their team and we always get answer from one of the members and everything is revised by a senior member. We feel really confident with their advice. They have worked with us since we started our foundation, their team is very solid and we have never had tax legal problems.

We have contact with partners and associates and they are all really high-quality professionals – up-to-date lawyers with excellent professional relationships and on-time answers. We are pro-bono clients and are treated as a regular client.

Key clients

Factor Dinero

Libera Suply Chain Finance

BTG Pactual Comisionista de Bolsa

Compañía de Créditos Rápidos

Compañía Colombiana de Cacao

Compañía de Créditos Rápidos-Rapicredit

Proyectos Agropecuarios de Colombia

Grupo Biopapel

Avícola Nacional

Laboratorio Médico Echavarría

Grupo Bios

Sampedro

Fenalco

Ecoflora

Gonvarri

telemetrik

Industria Grecoromana

Inversiones Tinkko

Corporacion Caribe TIC

Moldes Medellín

Gitrans

Mane Sucursal Colombia

Compañía Colombiana de Alimentos CALCO

El Colombiano

Grupo Argos

Eurocerámica

HMV Ingenieros

Metro de Medellín

Work highlights

  • Advising Aquila Global Group on the design and legal structuring of the entry of a foreign investor into the company, including the transfer of financial and technological resources.  
  • Advising BTG Pactual on the design and legal structuring of a collective investment fund for the acquisition of money orders.
  • Advising Mérieux NutriSciences on the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding equity in Tecnimicro Laboratorio de Análisis, marking the client’s entry into the Colombian market.
  • Advising Austrian company Tannpapier on the corporate restructuring of its Colombian holdings, involving advice on corporate, real estate, and tax and foreign exchange matters.
  • Advising local Phillip Morris International subsidiary Coltabaco on all the labour issues arising from its closure in Medellin, involving a dismissal of the entire workforce and associated negotiations with union SINTRAINTOBACO.

Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados

Following the January 2020 merger of the former Correa Merino and Agudelo Pelaez law firms, the newly constituted Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados is a four-partner, 29-strong firm with a broad service offering across the corporate, labour, real estate and tax sectors. The addition of a recognised and solid real estate practice has further cemented the firm’s position at the forefront of the local market; moreover, 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 recent mandates have centred on the development of tax efficient structures for a range of clients including a logistics business with operations in six jurisdictions, and a crypto-currency company. 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. 2019-matters include advising major client and leading compensation fund Comfama on both an investment in the agricultural sector and a convertible-debt investment – the latter as part of its corporate VC program; other matters include assisting clients such as Sempli, La Haus, FLUVIP and Glasst with multimillion-dollar financing rounds. The corporate team’s capabilities also stretch into compliance (where clients include the likes of Grupo Sura) and data privacy. With almost two decades of experience, practice director for labour and social security matters Darío Ramírez Montoya joined the firm in 2016. His recent matters include assisting Ultraserfinco with various labour aspects of its acquisition by Credicorp and advising Grupo Sura on strategic labour matters including knowledge exchange within the business group; the team is also active advising clients on relations with the Unidad de Gestión de Pensiones y Parafiscales (UGPP), the state entity that oversees the country’s social security system. The recent arrival of Juan Esteban Agudelo and his team has brought the firm a notable real estate practice which handles transactions, the structuring of real estate projects, construction litigation, urban law and advisory regarding land use, and investment trusts related to the development and sale of housing, commercial property and hospitality projects, among other work. Current engagements include acting as counsel to Conaltura Construcción y Vivienda on the COP$250m Verde Vivo housing project; Constructora CNV – Innobilia on the development of Barranquilla’s COP$140m mixed-use Core Trade project; and Cementos Argos in the COP$60m sale of all its real estate holdings to Grupo Luz y Fuerza (GLF) Colombia. 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.

Key clients

Comfama – Caja De Compensación Familiar De Antioquia

Conaltura Construcción y Vivienda

Grupo Roble

Grupo Luz y Fuerza Colombia

Acierto Inmobiliario

Corporación Interactuar

CNV Construcciones

Pulso Promotora Temática

Lonja de Propiedad Raíz de Medellín

La Receta

Solenis Colombia

Matec Logística

ABC Leder

Casio Tiendas Oficiales

Vihonco

Savia Grupo Tecnológico

Idom Ingeniería

Agua Bendita

Compañía de Financiamiento Tuya

The Project HOPE

Astound Commerce

Tranquifinanzas

Promotora de Proyectos

Viajala

Matec Logística

Streamer Electric

Ciudad de Mascotas

Ultraserfinco

Grupo Phoenix

Grupo Sura

BTG Pactual

Auteco

Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico

Astound Commerce

Celerix

Umbral

IDOM

Work highlights

  • Advising Pulso Promotora Temática on the urbanistic, real estate and trust aspects of the COP$260m development of its Medieval Parque Residencial y Commercial project
  • Advsing Grupo Roble on all real estate matters of the construction, development and operation of the Marriott hotel in Medellín.
  • Advised FLUVIP on a corporate restructure as a prerequisite to a $5m financing round involving companies in locations across Europe and the Americas.
  • Advised Sempli on its $10m financing round with various international PE funds and the IDB Lab.
  • Advising Matec Logística on an ongoing basis regarding tax efficient operational models and structures for its operations across six jurisdictions.
  • Advised Grupo Sura in the implementation of strategic measures for labour related matters and knowledge exchange within the business group.
  • Advisng Comfama (Caja De Compensación Familiar De Antioquia) on various investments as part of the organization’s corporate venture capital program.

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 'stand out figure' Yovanny Valenzuela Herrera (labour).

Testimonials

Their major strength is that their advice is opportune and complete; they’ve accompanied our business for 15 years and more than a service provider, I regard them as business partners and permanent consultants.

Carlos Duque: knowledge, counsel and timely orientation.

It is a team that is focused on solutions and is committed to achieving them. I’d also highlight their industry knowledge, business vision and ability to work as a team.

Their professionalism and knowledge of the norms and regulations is outstanding. In my opinion, the firm compares favourably with those at other firms with which we’ve worked.’

Juan Pablo Molina Alvarez & Simón Correa Pérez: I’d highlight their availability and agility in providing advice regarding the different matters on which we consult them. They both have a great personal manner and in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulatory norms.’

Siete Legal accompanies us in matters ranging from making an administrative decision to representation in the few labour processes (administrative or judicial) that we have. It is an integral accompaniment in our internal labour strategy and in the development of any eventual judicial process. The highlight is the strategic thinking of the leader Luis Carlos Jaramillo. At the second level is the flexibility for internal labour management that Yovanny Alexis Valenzuela Herrera gives us.

The firm has broad knowledge and experience in all those areas where it offers services. The availability of the partners to attend to matters is permanent and the speed of their responses leaves no room for improvement; it is really possible to form a genuine and effective working team in conjunction with our internal lawyers. Regarding Carlos Duque and Liliana Velásquez, I would highlight their considerable knowledge and experience in their respective areas of practice, but above all their availability and permanent communication with the client; the agility of their responses to our requirements; and their respect, honesty and excellent manner – both with the client and the counterparty.

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

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders regarding the sale of Clínica del Prado and Laboratorio Clínico Marcela Hoyos to a subsidiary of Quirón Salud and Synlab Colombia, respectively.
  • Advised the shareholders regarding the sale of EGM Ingeniería Sin Fronteras to Evertec Costa Rica.
  • Advised the shareholders of Panelmet Comercial on the sale of part of their holding to Kingspan Group, as well as on the tax structuring of the business and regarding the shareholders’ agreement.
  • Advised major agricultural aviation operator ACCISA on the finance structure of its fleet renewal, involving representation of the client before the Colombian aviation authority, relevant banks and US aircraft manufacturers.
  • Acted as Colombian counsel to the lenders and the lessor on the finance and operation of two aircraft for a scheduled Colombian air carrier.
  • Representation of Banafrut, Tropical and Uniban (and their subsidiaries) in the collective bargaining with the 22,000-strong banana sub-sector (the only collective wage negotiation undertaken for an industry sub-sector in the country).
  • Representation of Agricola Mayorca in a Supreme Court Appeal seeking the declaration of the illegality of a strike undertaken by Sintracol.

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 nine-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 COP$600bn and COP$290bn credit agreements with Banco Davivienda and Banco de Bogotá, respectively, as well as advising COMFAMA on the acquisition of Medellín-based educational-sector companies Cesde and Avancrédito; 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 the design of copyright management strategies for companies such as Interconexión Eléctrica and foundations including Fundación Celsia and Fundación de Acción Urgente para America Latina. 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. Estrada has particular expertise in administrative and governmental matters.

Key clients

Art Mode – Maaji

BTG Pactual

Cementos Argos

Colombia Móvil

Comfama

ConConcreto

Corbeta (Dba Alkosto, Ktronix)

Almacenes Éxito

Exponencial Confirming

Fondo Inmobiliario Colombia

HMV Ingenieros

Nutresa

Grupo Orbis

Riocal

Work highlights

  • Advised Caja de Compensación Familiar de Antioquia (COMFAMA) on the acquisition of 100% of the shrares of higher-education instititution Cesde; and educational-credit entity, Avancrédito, both located in Medellín  
  • Permanent advice to clients including Cementos Argos, Conconcreto and Riocal on matters including foreign trade operations and free-trade zone compliance; banking and finance, corporate, and transactional matters; and corporate affairs.  
  • Acted as local counsel to ISAGEN, as borrower, on an $75m financing granted by Export Development Canada (EDC).  
  • dvising CI Unión de Bananeros de Urabá (“Uniban”) regarding its participation as the major Colombian sponsor of a new $600m multi-purpose port terminal, Puerto Antioquia, which will constitute one of the largest port facilities in the Andean region.  
  • Advice to Almacenes Éxito on credit agreements totalling COP$890bn with Banco Davivienda and Banco de Bogotá; the firm also advises the client on day-to-day corporate matters.

Giraldo Angel Asociados

Founded in 2009,  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 Maria Isabel Giraldo Angel has over 25 years' experience in corporate advisory matters. Indeed, the practice focuses on internal corporate, commercial and contractual matters rather than on transactional matters. 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 has also seen an up-tick in construction-related matters, and the tax capability is increasingly developing into family wealth planning and succession management - again driven by clients. The firm also maintains an association with Concepto Contable so as to offer its clients accountancy services.

Key clients

Alpharma

Seguridad Integral Alarmar

Cano Jiménez Estudio

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

Work highlights

  • Advised various notable Colombian family businesses on the elaboration of family protocols with respect to the organization and operation of their companies.
  • Advised various notable Colombian families on the analysis of their patrimony and holdings so as to optimise and protect their resources.
  • Permanent legal advisory to both national and international businesses – including well-known construction companies, pharmaceutical laboratories and retailers, etc. – regarding their ongoing project development in the country.
  • Permanent advisory to both businesses and private individuals regarding their tax matters and treatment.
  • Advises companies and individuals on the sale, purchase and transfer of shareholdings.

Hito Consultoría Jurídica

Founded in 2015, Hito Consultoría Jurídica is a young boutique that focuses primarily on dispute resolution and real estate/construction matters. Founding partners Santiago Sierra Ospina and Mateo Posada are both litigation and arbitration focused (with specializations in public law and damages, respectively), handling primarily disputes concerning civil, commercial and construction contracts, public contracting, liability, and real estate and infrastructure projects. Their recent instructions include advising FEDSALUD in a successful arbitration against a local hospital for underpayment related to services provided, leading to an award of approximately $500,000. Fellow partner Mariana Castano Diez is a tax specialist focused primarily on project structuring, construction and real estate, and associated corporate matters. Her recent mandates include developing the legal framework and structuring of Centro Comercial Nuestro Bogotá, Centro Comercial Plaza Malambo and City 'O' shopping centre in Medellín. Associate and administrative law specialist Paulina Mejía Londoño is also noted. In a slight variation on the local market's network of alliances, the firm both brings in specialist consultants -such as sole practitioner Guillermo Cárdenas Gómez, with whom the firm works frequently- as required; but also acts as a team in conjunction with other firms on more sizeable cases, notably a $1.17bn fiscal liability case on behalf of Integral led by Alvarez Zuluaga Consultores Legales' Luis Fernando Álvarez Jaramillo. The team has also worked with firms such as UH Abogados and Estudio Siete Legal Abogados.

Key clients

Interconexión Eléctrica

XM

CSS Constructores

Constructora Conconcreo

Esyma

Ingetierras de Colombia

Megaproyectos

Publik

Igeniería Estructural

FEDSALUD

Colombia Movil

Ingema

Conasfaltos

Consorcio Antioquia al Mar

Fundación Clínica del Norte

Coltejer

Procopal

Jaguar Capital

Consultorías y Emprendimientos

Predium

LJN

Monkey Business

Pento

Ápice Desarrollos

Acrecer

MAGMA

Work highlights

  • Advised Empresa de Transporte Masivo del Valle De Aburrá on an administrative process seeking the annulment of an instruction to pay costs arising from civil works imposed by the Municipality of Medellín; a resolution favourable to the client was obtained.  
  • Advising Conasfaltos in relation to a $4m arbitral claim concerning the termination of the construction contract for a section of Medellín’s BRT transport system.  
  • Advising Megaproyectos in an administrative case against the Contraloría General de la República (Controller General of the Republic), seeking the annulment of a $3m fine.  
  • Advising Megaproyectos in an $8m compensation case before the administrative courts arising from a breach of obligations by a financial entity.  
  • Representing Ingetierras de Colombia in a $4m arbitration against Airplan relating to contractual claims arising from the expansion of José María Cordova International Airport.

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) tax director (accountant) Gina Ortiz, and Ángela Patricia Hoyos Espinoza, director of the corporate and reorganizations practice. The September 2019 arrival of Manuela Herrera Estrada from Enfoque Jurídico has allowed the firm to open a labour practice, but March 2020 saw the departure of litigiation director, Manuel Castro Noreña, who moved in house at Sura Asset Management.

Key clients

HBFuller

CI Iblu

Dyval

YKK Colombia

Ingenio La Cabaña

Torrecafé Aguila Roja

Groupe Seb (formerly IMUSA)

Valores Industriales

Radiólogos Asociados

INVENSA

PRIMOS

Seti

Zeillock

1, 2 Tree

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. Key senior associate Mauricio Moreno has just completed his LLM in Chicago.

Testimonials

Maximiliano Londoño and Daniel Arango are very rounded lawyers who integrate well, they know their clients’ businesses perfectly, are effective and practical in the achieving of objectives. They keep themselves in the vanguard concerning best practices and display such absolute availability that it feels as if they were part of my internal team.’

They stand out above the services of other firms and the cost/benefit relation is very good.

Maximiliano Londoño is an intelligent person – a good counsel, prudent and sincere – who always puts the benefit of the company above all other interests. In difficult moments we have always been able to count on him.

Key clients

Seguros Generales Suramericana

Grupo Argos

Interconexión Eléctrica

Cementos Argos

Promigas

Carvajal

XM Compañía de Expertos en Mercados

Comfama

Celsia

Nutresa

Work highlights

  • Representing Suramericana in an arbitration related to the absence of coverage in a BBB policy before a $300m claim brought by Banco de la República.
  • Representing majority state-owned Interconexión Eléctrica in a class action seeking compensation for a share issue undertaken by the company; the case -one of the largest in terms of claim-size against a state entity- was won at the first instance and is now on appeal.
  • Representing a major infrastructure holding company and one of its subsidiaries in an ‘acción popular’ by which one of Colombia’s administrative Departments is seeking recompense for damages to public patrimony and administrative morale.
  • Representing Unión Temporal, a body made up of companies specialised in the construction, development and operation of electrical and telecommunications infrastructure, in contracts-related administrative-sanctioning procedures (with  possible fines of up to COP$6bn) brought by the Ministries of Information Technology and Communications.

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; 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 as a result of Covid-driven court closures. 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 advisng Chilean investor NAF Colombia -headquartered in Medellín- on due diligence, transaction structures and documentation in regard to rural real estate acquisitions with an aggregate value of COP4bn.

Key clients

Alianza Fiduciaria

Compañía  Administradora de Seguros y Servicios Coassist

Seguros Comerciales Bolívar

NAF Colombia

Work highlights

  • Representation of Alianza Fiduciaria in declaratory proceedings against clients claiming the non-existence of a trust agreement and associated compensation.  
  • Representation of Alianza Fiduciaria in declaratory proceedings against claimants requesting the breach of a trust agreeement, the reversal of its effects, the return of properties and compensation totalling approximately COP$1bn.  
  • Representation of Alianza Fiduciaria, as an interested third party, in a breach of civil works contract and associated compensation claim amounting to COP$19.5bn    
  • Representation of Compañía Administradora de Seguros y Servicios Coassist in a collective ‘acción popular’ that seeks to prohibit the defendants ability to engage in matters with pubic entities on alleged conflict-of-interest grounds.
  • Representation of Seguros Comerciales Bolívar in various declaratory proceedings.  

Suma Legal

Founded in 2006, Suma Legal is a sizeable, 19-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, 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. 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 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 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 and Marcela Flórez Sierra are also noted.

Testimonials

They’re very human lawyers who develop close relations and don’t try and get us caught up with complex issues. They know how to communicate with their agile and creative teams and they do so in an honest and transparent manner, something I’ve not felt at other firms. For me, the primary qualities are their humanity, their agility, their transparency and their closeness.

Mauricio Ortega and Carmela Rodríguez have accompanied us not only at this business, but also at others in distinct markets and sectors in different parts of the world; we have always considered them as part of the family.

‘It is a team that is not only prepared for the usual challenges of a business, but rather one that knows how to adapt to the rapidity with which the landscape can change. They reinvent themselves according to our -the client’s- necessities and then take the time to get to know us, to understand us (not only in operational terms but also our necessities and our dreams). Their team is part of our team; we consider them an integral part of our expansion and functioning.

Key clients

Cristalería Peldar

Corporación Ruta N Medellín

Forjas Bolívar

Cipreses de Colombia

Corporación Creame Incubadora de Empresas

WMC Films

Fundación Proantioquia

Digital Americas Pipeline Initiative (DAPI)

Medipiel

Valores Simesa

Flying Squirrel Sports

Cercarbono

Agrícola Cerro Prieto

Fiduciaria Corficolombiana

Suramericana

EPS Suramericana

La Previsora

Cementos Argos

Grupo Emi

Colmédica

Viviendas y Proyectos

Work highlights

  • Advising Ruta N on the design and implementation of projects in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, notably Proyecto InnspiraMed, which aims to develop a cheap artificial respirator.  
  • Advised Digital Americas Pipeline Initiative (DAPI), on the design and operation of the Centro para la Cuarta Revolución Industrial Colombia, Medellín.  
  • Assisting Fundación Proantioquia with the design and initiation of the Proyecto Taparales, a private-sector initiative to assist with post-conflict social reintegration in Antioquia.  
  • Advice on the design and operation of Corporación Biosuroeste, the first public-private science, technology and innovation-dedicated agro-park.  
  • Assisting with the design and operational initiation of the Digital Americas Pipeline Initiative, Colombia’s first mixed-economy company focused on robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.

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 Institituo 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). Ana Isabel Villa and Carlos Andres Gonzales Galvís each have over ten years at the firm: Villa specializes in insurance and liability; while González, in addition to his risk analysis and insurance practice, specializes in procedural law, liability and dispute resolution in general. Senior associates Margarita Rosa Jaramillo and Luis Miguel Gómez are also noted. However, the team has endured departures with Laura Castaño leaving in December 2019 to move to Ariza & Marin and litigator Ana Catalina Restrepo, formerly the director of the firm's Bogotá office, moving to DAC Beachcroft Colombia in February 2020.

Testimonials

Internal lawyers, rather than knowing they have the backing of a firm, are interested in knowing who the person is who will take charge of the matter. They also evaluate the rotation of lawyers at a firm, high-rotation -which does not occur at Tamayo Jaramillo Abogados- generates losses of continuity in the knowledge of a matter. When it comes to making comparisons with other firms, this team comes out on top for its knowledge, decisiveness and proximity.’

Laura Restrepo, Carlos Andrés Gonzalez, Ana Isabel Villa – all these lawyers generate close relations and confidence; they’re decisive and demonstrate full knowledge of the matters entrusted to them.’

Key clients

Bancolombia

Fenoco

Promigas

Celsia

Emgesa

Alianza Fiduciaria

Coltejer

Lafrancol

Arquitectura & Concreto

Solla

Bienes & Bienes

Coomeva Medicina Prepagada

Eduardo Botero Soto

Sociedad Portuaria El Cayao – SPEC

Consortium HHA

Aeronáutica Civil de Colombia

Parque Comercial El Tesoro

Chubb Seguros Colombia

Seguros Generales Suramericana

HDI Seguros

Seguros Confianza

SBS Seguros

Crawford Colombia

Seguros Bolivar

Istmo Compañía de Reaseguros

Work highlights

  • Representing Celsia in ongoing administrative litigation against the municipalities of San Carlos and San Luis, Antioquia, regarding their establishment of protected areas that prejudice the company’s hydroelectric projects.
  • Representing Arquitectura & Concreto in a $10.5m case for alleged breach of contract brought by Enterprise Urban Development (EDU).
  • 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 Seguros Generales Suramericana in a $7m liability case brought by Exotika Leather against insured party Cementos Argos and Canteras de Colombia.
  • Representing Seguros Generales Suramericana in a $21.9m class-action case brought against ISAGEN et al for damages relating to the construction of a hydroelectric plant on the Sogamoso River.
  • Representing Chubb de Colombia regarding the Colombian Ministry of Defence’s unilateral declaration of a breach of contract (undertaken without judicial process) and associated $1.69m compensation claim against insured party Ferretería Industrial (FISA).
  • Representing Seguros Confianza in a $16.4m breach of contract claim brought against Consorci Iterriego by the Colombian Institute of Rural Development (INCODER), in relation to a mass-irrigation system in the department of Hula.
  • Representing Seguros Confianza in a $21.6m breach of contract claim brought by Transoriente against Consortium Cosacol Confurca regarding the construction of the Gibraltar-Bucamaranga pipeline.

UH Abogados

Best known for the real estate capabilities which have won the firm a national reputation, the 15-strong UH Abogados’ practice offering is in fact 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. Also noted are senior associates Katherin Jiménez, who focuses on real estate and planning, civil and commercial law, and litigation; and Carolina Saldarriaga, who joined the firm in May 2019 after a decade in-house at Almacenes Éxito as legal head of the company's property management department - her practice focuses on commercial and real estate matters.

Testimonials

They become very close to their clients and are very practical in their advisory. Objective driven and pro-transaction, their engagement is great and the quality of the partners is outstanding.

Partner Carlos Henao is outstanding in his contribution to reach transactional goals. This is due to his practicality and deep understanding of the M&A environment.

In those areas they do not cover they obtain specialists to undertake the work or study required

‘Carlos Henao has aided us with government and business contacts, according to the matter in hand.’

They have an interdisciplinary team which means they have a better vision from which to advise any business.

Language, experience, clarity and a great interdisciplinary team.     

The work of UH Abogados represents the commitment and service-oriented attitude they have in the face of our company’s different projects. The working group has excellent knowledge of the different corporate and transactional aspects that facilitate the success of our future expansion projects in the agricultural sector. Compared with other firms, it has a young and energetic team when it comes to working on different projects.

‘The strongest suit of the firm’s lawyers is their facility in the management of any and all corporate matters, along with their rapid responses across different projects.

They are very able when it comes to negotiation. By their nature, legal issues lend themselves to discussion and impasses between the parties, nevertheless, this firm has the skill of acting as a great mediator without having to give excessive concessions to the counterparties.

Great negotiating capabilities and market recognition, which ensures that processes flow smoothly.

Carlos Henao – negotiating ability and knowledge of all the issues as regards commercial law.

Carolina Uribe – a great negotiator.

‘A very professional team with a good level of experience. Very close to the client, proactive, creative and pro-business.

Carlos Henao is an outstanding partner. His high-level experience allows him to approach the critical issues of a transaction with innovative proposals.

Key clients

Renault Sofasa

Mineros

OndadeMar

Avofruit (Grupo Cartama)

Auralac

Clínica Medellín

Almacenes Flamingo

Haceb Whirlpool Industrial

Puntos Colombia

Avon Colombia

RCI Colombia

Work highlights

  • Advising Fondo Inmobiliario Colombia (FIC), Constructora Colpatria and Ménsula on the legal structuring and development of the multimillion-dollar “Distrito Vera” mega-project in Medellín
  • Advising construction group Londoño Gómez on the legal structuring and development of the multimillion-dollar “Ciudad Fabricato” macro-project in Bello, Antioquia
  • Advising agroindustry client Grupo Cartama on the acquisition of approximately 1,000 hectares of land for the commercialization of avocados.
  • Representing the sponsors of the $600m Puerto Antioquia Project with regard to the shareholders’ and investment agreements between the parties, along with terminal services’ agreement, among other contractual matters.
  • Represented Clínica Medellín and its shareholders on the $56.7m sale of a majority shareholding participation to Quironsalud Group.

Velasco & Calle D’Aleman Abogados

Founded in 2002, three-strong specialist boutique Velasco & Calle D’Aleman Abogados has a close focus on technology law, including data protection and security, IT procurement negotiation and contracting, computer crime, digital transformation, electronic commerce and online reputational matters, along with tech-related disputes, litigation, and competition and consumer law. With a doctorate in IP & IT law, and over 20 years' in practice, Sol Beatriz Calle D’Aleman has expertise across the entire technology sector, particularly in data protection and privacy matters. Fellow founding partner Arean Velasco has a similarly strong formation in IP and technology law; his practice displays a notable orientation towards disputes and litigation in the sector. With an extensive trajectory in the public sector - including in the competition and IP department of the commerce and industry regulatory agency (SIC), the Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos Domiciliarios and as director of judicial and administrative processes for the Government of Cundinamarca - Leonardo Ramírez Patinyo brings competition and administrative law expertise to the firm's offering.

Key clients

EPM

Orbis

Cadenal

Gases del Caribe

Constructora Capital

Procaps

FCV

Olimpica

Serfinansa

Éxito

Inveromiles

Combaranquilla

Camara de Comercio de Baranquilla

Camara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia

Confama

Caribe Motor

Gran Colombia Gold

San Vicente Fundación

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 - who returned to the firm from Gómez-Pinzón Abogados in June 2019 - is also a key senior. Other associate-level moves saw the arrival of Ana María Tobón from Contexto Legal Abogados, and the departures of Felipe Arias and Carlos Múnera to pursue further studies in the United States.

Testimonials

It is a team that attends to all the legal fronts that the companies require, always seeking the best route to explain risky or questionable positions to their clients.

They are warm and respectful individuals who listen patiently and always look to orient the client towards the best option.

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

Work highlights

  • Advised Construcciones El Condor on a collaborative agreement with Interconexión Eléctrica (ISA) to carry out projects in Colombia and Peru; the team has previously assisted the clients with more than 25 highway-concession M&As, as well as three separate project financings.  
  • Advised Acierto Inmobiliario on its $40m buy-back of the 51% shareholding in its projects held by Avenida Capital.
  • Assisted Incopack on the acquisition of a 75% stake in chemicals company Solteq.  
  • Advised Autopistas del Café on the tax aspects of the refinancing of its debt.