'The most recognised firm for international arbitration and public law' according to peers, Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S is one of the most prestigious and specialist arbitral offerings not just in Colombia but regionally. Client highlight the multidisciplinary five-partner, 19-strong team for its 'sophistication', 'cohesion and professionalism', 'excellent communication and ever-present sense of urgency'. Its impressive track record demonstrates unequalled strength in international arbitration, (both investment and commercial cases), under all the most common sets of arbitral rules (ICSID, ICC, ICDR, LCIA, etc.), and the firm has also developed a specialization in international public law (and increasingly, human rights) that is unique in the local market. Founding partner and practice head Eduardo Zuleta ('outstanding', 'spectacular', 'a fantastic lawyer and arbitrator') is a point of reference in the sector - a listed arbitrator for ICSID and the ICDR, not to mention local Chambers of Commerce in Bogota, Quito and Lima among others. In a key highlight, Zuleta teamed up with fellow co-head Rafael Rincón (noted for his 'attention to detail', risk anticipation and practical problem solving), to counsel Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia in three multimillion-dollar national and international arbitrations arising from transport contracts and a joint-investment agreement; recently -November 2020- obtaining a favourable settlement (pending Colombian regulatory, Comptroller General's Office and the local Cundinamarca administrative tribunal's approval). Additional bench-depth - and sectorial breadth - is provided by 30-year oil-and-gas veteran Gustavo Suárez, who acts as both arbitrator and expert witness on hydrocarbons' matters; the 'outstanding' Rafael Bernal, a former president, vice-president and deputy director of the Inter-America Commercial Arbitration Commission who has over a 40 years' experience in domestic and international arbitral matters; and former justice of Colombia's Council of State and Constitutional Court, Antonio Aljure, an expert in both public and private international law. Key associate support comes from Juan Ignacio Guerra, Sebastián Briceño, Maria Camila Rincón and Santiago Zuleta. However, Daniela Páez Cala left for Baker McKenzie S.A.S. in May 2021. Having already brought in Luis Guillermo Rosero from Garrigues in January, the firm has since hired Rodrigo Sánchez Pineda, who arrived from Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados in July 2021.
Arbitration in Colombia
‘There is no firm in Colombia that knows as much about arbitration as Zuleta Abogados; Eduardo Zuleta has a very good view of the cases.‘
‘They are truly experts in arbitration. They keep very up to date.‘
‘The Zuleta Abogados team is exceptional. They care about knowing the business in depth and providing comprehensive and practical solutions to situations. They always anticipate and plan appropriately, mitigating possible risks. The Zuleta Abogados team is unique and special.‘
‘I would like to highlight Rafael Rincón. He is an ever-present partner, who knows and cares about attention to detail, anticipating risks and solving problems in a very practical, agile and simple way.’
‘Likewise, I highlight the work of Juan Ignacio Guerra, an associate of the firm, who together with Rafael Rincón make a great work team. Sr. Guerra is very precise, in detail and always attentive to solve and support the client.’
‘Eduardo Zuleta is a fantastic lawyer and a top class arbitrator.‘
‘The cohesion and professionalism of the team. Excellent communication and an ever-present sense of urgency. ‘The level of sophistication; Eduardo Zuleta is spectacular.‘
‘Eduardo Zuleta, Rafael Bernal and Daniela Paez are all outstanding.‘
Drummond / Drummond Coal Mining
Grupo Energía de Bogotá
Aleatica (formerly OHL Concesiones)
Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia
Superior Energy Services
Santo Domingo Motors Company
Fondo Latinoamericana de Reservas (FLAR)
Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Barranquilla
- Co-counsel to two US mining companies (the main defendants in the case as one of the majority shareholders) in a complex, multi-party, $1bn international arbitration under ICC Rules regarding right-of-access to railway facilities in Colombia; in 2020 the tribunal issued a final award full favourable to the firm’s clients.
- Lead coundel to a concessionaire in an international arbitration against a State entity, conducted under ICDR Rules and seated in Bogotá; the claims arose from a public-private partnership agreement for a major infrastructure project in the northern region of Colombia and a settlement was reached with the State entity which was fully favorable to our client’s interests.
- Counsel to a US based company in an international arbitration seated in Santiago, Chile; following the issuance of a final award, the firm commenced recognition proceedings in Colombia, gaining Supreme Court recognition of the foreign arbitral award (the recognition also addressing various issues such as the application of the IBA rules on Conflict of Interests, the New York Convention, and the notion of Colombia’s international public policy), in what constitutes a landmark decision on the recognition of foreign arbitral awards in the country.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S. is undoubtedly maturing as a heavyweight player in arbitral matters, with local practice head (concurrently the firm's Dispute Resolution Group global chair) Claudia Benavides overseeing the arrival of a number of significant hires in the last few years. The resulting group -which demonstrates 'remarkable balance, coupling and maturity as a team- is 14-strong, has top-notch arbitration expertise and a growing track record, particularly regarding post-transactional conflicts and construction and concession disputes. A 'highly recognised lawyer in the field of national, international and transnational arbitration', Benavides leads on the majority of arbitral mandates but fellow partner Cristina Mejia (an 'outstanding academic and professional career, with experience in the field of arbitration'), is increasingly active, notably in the areas of finance, infrastructure, real estate and pharmaceuticals. Current arbitral matters -primarily under ICC rules- include representing both state-owned entities and private companies in international proceedings concerning the transport infrastructure, ports, power generation and construction sectors (among others); representing an international investment fund in proceedings related to the acquisition of shares in a Colombian company; domestic arbitration under Bogota Chamber of Commerce (BCC) rules and ongoing advice to China United Engineering Corporation concerning possible constitutional actions following the Council of State's setting aside of a $200m award. A powerful second line is composed primarily of senior associates María Angélica Burgos and Daniela Páez Cala. Burgos -formerly a partner at Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S- has experience of institutional and ad hoc international arbitrations (under ICSID, UNCITRAL and ICC rules), as well as local proceedings administered by the BCC's Arbitration Centre, primarily representing clients in relation to construction projects, distribution and commercial agency relationships, corporate disputes and claims arising from share purchase agreements. A July 2021-hire, Páez Cala also arrived from the Zuleta firm; dual qualified (Colombia New York), she too has extensive international and local experience, and also undertakes ADR and conciliation. Fellow disputes senior, Sebastian Quintero, also has ample arbitration experience but is currently more oriented towards litigation.
‘They are: (i) a team of lawyers fully skilled in dispute resolution, (ii) with a remarkable balance, coupling and maturity as a team, and (iii) with the ability to use specialised knowledge in a strategic way in the judicial arena.‘
‘Claudia Benavides is a highly recognised lawyer in the field of national, international and transnational arbitration. In the litigation during which I have met her, she has acted with great solvency in the direction and strategic design of the litigation, while concurrently involved in the specific development of the lawsuits.‘
‘Cristina Mejia: she is another lawyer with an outstanding academic and professional career, with experience in the field of arbitration litigation. In this case, she together with her team, worked intensively in the drafting and structuring of a complex lawsuit.‘
‘Sebastian Quintero: he is also another brilliant member of the firm with academic training and experience in arbitration litigation.‘
‘The partner Cristina Mejía has demonstrated different skills and strategies that make this practice unique, which is demonstrated not only in her knowledge but also in the excellent results that her support has provided.’
‘The team we worked with was technically solid, professional, energetic and intelligent. More importantly, they served our best interests all the time, even if it occasionally meant less chargeability for them! I have not met another law firm or operating company in Colombia, except for this group from Baker McKenzie, that matches this level of true service with the client’s best interests being paramount!‘
‘The practice employs a collaborative work scheme: (i) starting from a preliminary but also a deep understanding of the case, (ii) they develop a basic matrix, which is the subject of a systematic development by the team members. this allows: (i) an efficient and rational division of labour, (ii) as well as the easy subsequent integration of the different advances.’
‘We have several years of experience with companies in our organisation working with different divisions of Baker McKenzie and there are many cases in which we have hired their advisory services and also in legal defences before authorities in Colombia and they really are the best. We have also had the opportunity to work with other teams from other law firms.‘
With an 'unmatched ability to formulate strong legal strategies', the 'consolidated, experienced and coherent' team at Posse Herrera Ruiz renders advice on a steady stream of domestic and international arbitration, as well as remedial advice and the enforcement of awards, for clients from diverse sectors. Disputes practice head Daniel Posse has a 35-year trajectory in contentious work, and -while best known for litigation- has considerable arbitral experience, including as a registered arbitrator at both the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce and the Superintendencia de Sociedades. Lauded for the effectiveness of her strategies, fellow co-head Carolina Posada also has extensive arbitral experience at the Bogotá, Cali and Medellín Chambers of Commerce. Recent domestic arbitration work includes representing Trafigura subsidiary, Impala Terminals Colombia, in proceedings against a shipyard; and Unicentro Ciudadela Comercial against CONVEL and AIA for infringements of design and construction agreements. The team is also currently handling ICC arbitrations in the mining, energy and hydrocarbons transportation segments, and acting for a claimant in an ICSID case against Colombia. Key associate support on arbitral matters comes from senior associate Estefanía Ponce. A former partner at Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S who returned to Baker's in 2019, Ponce's practice is centred on international arbitration and public international law; triple-qualified (Colombia, New York, Paris), she has extensive experience in commercial and investment arbitration as well as acting as an administrative secretary in arbitral tribunals under ICC and UNCITRAL rules. Further associate support comes from fellow disputes senior María Isabel Osorio; Daniela Corchuelo ('very good, young but excellent') and Alejandro Casas, who were both promoted to senior in January 2021; and intermediates Juan David Fiallo and Laura Vengoechea (the latter a notable May-2020 hire). However, former head of the public law team, María Lucía Posada , who was also active in arbitral matters, left the firm as of July 2020.
Daniel Posse; Carolina Posada
‘It is an experienced and practical team which understands the needs of clients, work ethics, constant availability, pre-litigation and litigation strategy planning and prior support in order to prevent litigation by correcting contractual relationships.‘
‘Inclusion of new excellent team members, innovative strategies, along with a complete knowledge of the rules, procedures and focused on business.‘
‘A large and experienced team. Active participation of partners in all matters. Great availability to address concerns. Excellent service attitude. Extensive knowledge and experience.‘
‘Comprehensiveness with which they handle all issues. Active participation of the partner in matters.‘
‘Accessibility and permanent and constant communication.‘
‘The team is terrific. They have a very large team, I don’t know how many lawyers but they are more than 15, at least. There are lawyers with a lot of experience. The partners are very experienced. They know the different industries and approach cases from a comprehensive perspective. I work with Carolina Posada.’
‘Carolina has an extraordinary mind. I don’t know a lawyer like her. She knows deeply about laws, understands the client’s needs and offers a very wide range of solutions, highlighting the risks related to each one of them. The decisions she makes are always informed and correct. She is deep, analytical and at the same time very practical and creative. She does not like to wear down the client in unnecessary litigation and if the stakes are high, she prefers to compromise on our behalf, rather than expose us to larger sentences. In her hands I feel absolute tranquility. I always recommend her. Her work is brilliant.‘
‘Definitely Posse Herrera Ruiz’s team is substantially better than many other teams, they are very professional and do their job very well.‘
‘The firm’s lawyers have respect and recognition both in the sector and before the judicial and administrative authorities.’
‘The work team is excellent, they are people with a high level of commitment, experience and dedication. They are always attentive to the requirements and needs that we have on the part of the company in legal processes.‘
‘The plus is that they have highly trained and committed people to attend to the assigned legal processes in a timely manner. They are people who always present a cordial, respectful treatment and are always attentive to our requirements. The people I have contact with at PHR are Pablo Sierra and Camilo Canal. They are excellent professionals.‘
‘The lawyers, although they have enough autonomy, work with the stamp that the leader of the area, Daniel Posse, imprints.‘
‘They are sensible, attentive, the feeling is that you are working with people who are part of your own team.‘
‘We work with other firms, in which we find very bright people, but not the consolidated, experienced and coherent team of Posse Herrera Ruiz.‘
‘I highight their style. Good manners and good treatment towards judges and counterparts are noted, without this detracting from their actions and arguments.‘
‘Daniel Posse, Juan Pablo Bonilla, Pedro Alvarez and Carolina Posada are the key names.‘
‘It is the best litigation team for highly complex cases and borderline situations. They have the ability to put in favour of the client, situations that seem insurmountable. They have a strong ability to understand in depth cases of great complexity in their technical and commercial foundation, and to turn that into a solid and forceful legal strategy.‘
‘Unmatched ability to formulate strong legal strategies. Great availability of customer service. A team that works by combining very well the strengths of all its members.‘
‘It is a team with first-rate customer service, with great skill in understanding the needs of its customers. In terms of billing, they are undoubtedly the “best value ” on the market. Although their hours are nominally more expensive than those of other competitors, their use is the most efficient and is reflected in superior quality deliverables.‘
Consorcio CCC Ituango
Equion Energia Limited
Santiago Oil Company
Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá
Acción Sociedad Fiduciaria
Naturgy Distribucion Latinoamerica
Industria Nacional de Gaseosas
Une EPM Telecomunicaciones
Impala Terminals Colombia
Cemex Latam Holdings
- Advising Consorcio CCC Ituango (comprising Camargo Corrêa Infra Projetos, Constructora Conconcreto and Coninsa Ramón H) in a $2.8bn international arbtiral poceeding at the Medellín Chamber of Commerce against pubic entity Empresas Públicas de Medellín; teh case concerns repsonsibility for the collapse of a tunnel, consequent flooding and overall delays to the project.
- Representing state entity INDUMIL in a $104m international arbitration at the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce against Orica Norway and Orica Colombia regarding the performance, termination and liquidation of an agreement for the co-production of explosives for mining clients in Colombia.
- Representing Millicom subsidiary UNE in a dispute initiated before the Arbitration centre of the Chamber of Commerce of Medellín by America Movil subsidiary Comcel claiming breaches of their Interconnection Agreement on the basis of alleged inconsistencies in UNE’s internal proceedings for the assignation and installation of landlines, and seeking damages of $11.3m.
Specialist boutique Suescún Abogados is dedicated to arbitration (national and international), and to the elaboration and structuring of complex commercial contracts. Known for the sophistication of its practice, international experience and academic depth, while only four-strong, the firm is a customary presence in major disputes, such as its role as local counsel to Refinería de Cartagena in an international ICC arbitration regarded as the largest construction dispute in the world. Presently acting as sole arbitrator in a $350m domestic arbitration (under Bogotá Chamber of Commerce rules) concerning a shareholder dispute between Grupo de Energía de Bogota and Enel, firm-founder Jorge Suescún has acted as party counsel, panel-member, sole arbitrator or chairman in more than 130 arbitration processes; he 'not only provides [a] systematic and deep knowledge of the applicable law, but also a lot of creativity and a critical sense'. A member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a sometime foreign associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP 's international arbitration practice, practice co-head Felipe Suescún is highlighted for his technical and procedural knowledge and demonstrates 'practical and precise knowledge of arbitration procedure'; he recently led successful advice to Stork and Vepica in a $10m international commercial arbitration against Siemena. The firm handles disputes conducted under the rules of all the major arbitral institutions, in relation to a broad array of sectors, including construction, energy, engineering, and oil and gas, among others. Recently it has been particularly active in the ports sector, advising Sociedad Portuaria de Buenaventura on a range of disputes matters; and Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta in relation to negotiations with Carbosan regarding a major, complex lease agreements. Key associate support, particularly in relation to mining, construction and infrastructure cases, comes from Felipe González Arrieta; with over ten years' experience, he was recently listed as an arbitrator for both the Cali and Medellín Chambers' of Commerce. The firm is also the Colombian member of ACLA, an association of disputes firms currently covering the four countries of the Pacific Alliance.
Jorge Suescún; Felipe Suescún
‘The service provided corresponded to corporate-dispute advisory and we consider that the handling given to the issues under consultation was favorable, with concrete, clear explanations that allowed us to achieve the objectives for which the firm was hired. We are satisfied with the services provided.‘
‘Their best qualities are handling and mastery of the subject and great negotiation abilities.‘
‘Despite being a family office, the relatively small team is extraordinary. Both Felipe and Jorge Suescún are legal scholars, have international experience and are great academics’.
‘The plus of this firm is its specialisation in national and international commercial arbitration and the highest knowledge of private law applicable to disputes regulated by Colombian law. I especially highlight the expertise that Jorge Suescún demonstrates in each of his interventions and responses. As an aspect to be highlighted, Jorge Suescún not only provides a systematic and deep knowledge of the applicable law, but also a lot of creativity and a critical sense. This allows the client to identify weaknesses in established positions, while proposing innovative solutions to regain the strongest position in the litigation‘.
‘We recommend Felipe Suescún for his technical knowledge in law and practical and precise knowledge of arbitration procedure. Likewise, he has excellent management in the relationship with the client’.
Refinería de Cartagena
Sociedad Portuaria de Buenaventura
Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta
- Representing Ecopetrol-subsidiary Refinería de Cartagena in ICC international commercial arbitration seated in New York, against EPC contractor Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, concerning costs and delays in construction of the refinery; the casee is currently the largest construction dispute in the world.
- Advised major mining company Cerrejón (involving Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore) in domestic arbitration (under Bogota Chamber of Commerce rules), with Spanish construction group OHL arising from a construction contract; the dispute was settled in Cerrejon’s favour.
- Acting as legal expert in Colombian law on behalf of White & Case LLP and the USAV secured lenders group with regard to Avianca’s Chapter 11 proceedings before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Infrastructure firm Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados acts in complex and frequently highly-value arbitration cases, not only in relation to infrastructure and oil, gas and mining projects, but also representing technology and defence companies, and financial institutions – notably trusts. Led by three experienced partners, the practice primarily handles disputes in relation to government contracts, public procurement and concessions. Of late, it has been most active representing concessionaires in relation to contract implementation disputes, particularly in the roads sector. Senior partner Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla is experienced acting as an arbitrator and has served as Colombia's representative before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). An expert in international commercial arbitration, Paula Andrea Ramos has represented government clients, multinational corporations and banks, and also has expertise regarding infrastructure and hydrocarbons; while fellow co-head and senior partner Álvaro Mantilla also leads on relevant arbitration cases. All are praised by clients, as is Carlos Alberto Manzano who -with almost 10 years at the firm- was raised to the partnership in January 2021; his arbitral practice centres on contract disputes related to the construction, infrastructure and hydrocarbons sectors. However, associates Rodrigo Sánchez Pineda and Ricardo Acosta Salas left the firm in July 2021 (to Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S and Gobernación del Tolima, respectively).
Alvaro Mantilla; Carlos Gustavo Arrieta; Paula Andrea Ramos
‘The “plus” is their ability to understand the case from every point of view.‘
‘They take the time necessary to prepare the cases, counting on the work team of Carlos Alberto Manzano, Paula Andrea Ramos and Alvaro Mantilla Padilla,‘
‘The practice is made unique by its partner, Dr Carlos Gustavo Arrieta, for his knowledge and intellectual and practical ability.‘
‘The qualities of this firm is the expertise in litigation in matters of administrative law; partners: Carlos Gustavo Arrieta and Paula Ramos.‘
‘The team handles the legal strategy in accordance with the technical component; I’d highlight their handling of the issues, the way they face the lawsuit and the strategy used.‘
‘The team is favourable and highly trained.‘
‘Outstanding: Dr Carlos Manzano, good management of infrastructure issues, excellent human and professional qualities.’
‘Very committed, very good treatment with the client, excellent arrangement for meetings.‘
‘Carlos Manzano, Paula Ramos and Rodrigo Sanchez: excellent professionals and very committed to the work.‘
‘A very good team; a firm that despite having independent sub-teams according to the issues, blends well with its internal areas and provides comprehensive support to our company.‘
‘Human Warmth, capacity and broad knowledge of the topics on which they are consulted; detailed knowledge of the company and its businesses.‘
‘They generate a dynamic with the company that satisfies our requirements both technical-legal and routine support in our activities, integrating in such a way that they seem to be internal lawyers in relation to the issues on which they are involved, which makes their way of working unique.‘
‘They have a consolidated team with knowledgeable specialist attorneys and experience in litigation and infrastructure. They are expert lawyers in infrastructure litigation. The names to highlight, apart from Dr. Ãlvaro Mantilla, are Carlos Manzano and Paula Ramos.‘
‘They submit process reports on a monthly basis, which we greatly appreciate.‘
Estudios y Proyectos del Sol (EPISOL) Concesionaria Ruta del Cacao
Concesionaria Vial de los Andes
Consorcio Vía al Mar
Constructora de Infraestructura Vial
Cerrejón Zona Norte
Concesionaria Vial Andina (Coviandina)
Concesionaria Vial del Pacífico (Estudios y Proyectos del Sol – EPISOL)
Proyectos y Desarrollos Viales Del Pacífico (Prodepacífico)
Consorcio Constructor Pacífico 1 – ConPacífico)
Concesionaria Vial Del Oriente (Covioriente)
Grupo Aeroportuario del Caribe
Comunicación Celular (Comcel)
Solarte Nacional de Construcciones (SONACOL)
- Successful representation of Consorcio Express in a $10m arbitration againsst Bogotá’s city authorities due to economic imbalances and contractual breaches related to the operation of the client’s transportation services.
- Successfully represented CONINVIAL in cross arbitration with GISAICO, each suing the other with regard to responsibility for the collapse of the Chirajara bridge; the tribunal found GISAICO responsible for the failure due to design and construction failures; value: $17.6m.
- Successful representation of gas-and-energy trader and transportation company, VP Ingenergia, in a $13.3m arbitration against Turgas for compensation and damges due to the breach of their joint venture agreement.
Brigard Urrutia fields a sizeable 21-strong litigation, arbitration and insolvency team that is 'always ready to attend to the requests and concerns of the client [with] very good disposition and excellent service'. While working transversally with all other areas of the firm as required by the case, it is most prominent -certainly on the arbitral side- in relation to the oil and gas, energy infrastructure and public services / utilities sectors. Practice head Irma Rivera has extensive experience both as party counsel in arbitration proceedings and derived from her numerous appointments as both a domestic and international arbitrator. With over 25 years' experience, Rivera is an accredited arbitrator at the Chambers of Commerce of Bogotá, Cali and Medellín, as well as at AmCham Perú (among other seats). Key support comes from associate practice director Felipe Mutis who 'cares about understanding, studying and knowing the matters that are delivered to him in depth'. With a Master’s degree in international dispute resolution and management, Mutis has experience of cases under ICC, UNCITRAL and Bogotá Chamber of Commerce rules, particularly in disputes related to infrastructure, energy, M&A, and mining, oil and gas. The practice group's current caseload includes major, multi-hundred-million-dollar international arbitrations in the energy and energy transportation segments; domestic construction arbitrations under the auspices of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce; and annulment actions, among other matters. Further key associate-level support comes from senior associates María Victoria Munevar (dubbed 'outstanding' by clients); and notable late-2019 hire Ana Carolina Abreo, a former assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
‘The opportunity and efficiency with which they respond to the needs or requirements of our company that is part of a very dynamic sector; the responsiveness and a service attitude that ensures they are always available to answer questions or queries; and the initiative and proposed solutions to the various cases for which they are required, stands out.‘
‘I highlight Felipe Mutis, who always has an answer and availability to assist us and cares about understanding, studying and knowing the matters that are delivered to him in depth.‘
‘In my opinion, the strength of the team lies in that they prepare cases very well, reviewing every detail, and are aware of all procedural moments. As a company, we always feel very well accompanied and we know that no procedural stage will be missed. Additionally, in our case, they have a very good knowledge of our company and our history, which helps us to prepare cases very completely.‘
‘Preparation, command of English, knowledge of the process.‘
‘Outstanding work by María Victoria Munevar and Carlos Cerrato.‘
‘A team always ready to attend to the requests and concerns of the client, very good disposition and excellent service. They have a technological tool to carry out judicial surveillance and alert the client.‘
‘Felipe Mutis is outstanding for his disposition and knowledge of the issues related to the litigation. He is always ready to attend to the client and to give different options to the problems that arise.‘
General Electric Company / General Electric International (GE)
Oleoducto de los Llanos Orientales
Tending to a few, very high-profile clients in transportation, telecommunications, energy and public-services infrastructure projects has proved a winning formula for boutique firm Chemás & Asociados. The practice is highly sought after for its capabilities representing major private companies in arbitrations arising from public-service concession contracts and infrastructure project disputes, particularly in relation to the energy, roads-and-highways, and telecoms sectors. Founding partner Jorge Eduardo Chemás ('great experience, solid knowledge') and Ingrid Soraya Ortiz ('very, very rigorous') co-lead the nine-strong team and generate productive synergies from combining their respective specialisms in administrative and public procurement law, and commercial and antitrust law, so as to best handle complex contractual disputes. Recent headline matters include representing road construction consortium UTDVVCC in a dispute concerning one of the contracts' amendment settlements. Furthermore, the practice has niche expertise in the enforcement of arbitral awards, recently presenting a claim (for $15m plus default interest from 2007 to the present) on behalf of Telefónica Móviles, related to what the arbitral tribunal found to be the difference between the tariff (for international connection) established by the telecoms regulator and what the client received during the course of its concession.
Jorge Eduardo Chemás; Ingrid Soraya Ortíz; Sergio Alejandro Chemás
‘Deep and thorough construction industry expertise. Vast experience. Attention to detail. Good response times.‘
‘Jorge Eduardo Chemás has great experience, solid knowledge, and knows the procedural subtleties – all of which make him successful.‘
‘Chemás & Asociados includes a diverse team with a solid educational background.‘
‘Enormous experience and knowledge in construction litigation. Attention to detail and the procedural requirements required to be successful in a process.‘
Autopistas de Santander
Grodco Ingenieros Civiles
Centro de Gerenciamiento Doña Juana
Compañia de Desarrollo Aeropuerto El Dorado (CODAD)
Concesión Santa Marta Paraguachón
Coninsa Ramón H
Constructora Andrade Gutiérrez
Ingenieros Constructores Gayco
Ingenieros Consultores Civiles y Eléctricos (INGETEC)
Unión Temporal Desarrollo Vial del Valle del Cauca y Cauca (UTDVVCC)
Pavimentos Colombia (PavCol)
Inverlink Estructuras Inmobiliarias
- Successfully represented Unión Temporal Desarrollo Vial del Valle del Cauca y Cauca (UTDVVCC) in arbitration proceedings related to one of the concession contracts’ amendment settlements, obtaining an award of $250m in September 2020; however, the Procuraduría General de la Nación has since lodged an annulment action before the Consejo de Estado whose final ruling remains pending.
- Representing Autopistas de Santander in a $170m Bogotá Chamber of Commerce arbitral tribunal seeking the annulment and non-enforceability of a conciliatory agreement signed with the Agencia Nacional de Infraestrucutra which modifies the liquidation agreement contained in the concession contract.
- Counsel to Consorcio Sedes Educativas in local arbitration proceedings initiated against Consorcio FFIE Alianza BBVA, which seek to recover cost overruns and lost income due to the defendant’s breach of contract during the execution of the National Plan for Educational Infrastructure; approximate value: $16m.
With its 'solid offering', Affinitas-member firm Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) represents private companies, corporations and State parties in national and international arbitration proceedings. The full-service firm's 15-strong disputes team has particular expertise in domestic commercial arbitration (having handled over 100 cases), particularly related to the energy and construction sectors. Not insignificantly given this area of strength, practice director David Ricardo Araque has an engineering background in addition to his legal training; with approaching 15 years' legal experience, he has specialisations in international dispute resolution, international arbitration, international litigation and dispute resolution associated with investment projects. He can also call on enormously experienced of-counsel, William Araque, a highly respected senior figure (and department founder), who has over 25 years' experience. Recent mandates have seen the firm particularly active in the energy sector, with mandates including representation of TermoBarranquilla in proceedings regarding a fuel supply contract; Nexxo Caribe in a case against Refinería de Cartagena; and the successful representation of Energía para el Amazonas against the Ministry of Mines and Energy regarding the concession contract for energy supply in Colombia's Amazonian region. The international caseload -including ICDR mandates- has involved representing an energy group in proceedings regarding alleged violation of shareholders' rights; procurement and construction contract disputes; and pre-arbitral negotiations and conciliations. Key associate support on arbitral matters comes from seniors Loredana De Trizio (a civil responsibility specialist) and Samuel Hernández Lizarazu (who has a broad disputes practice and particular expertise in European substantive law). The arrival of October-2020 hire Alfonso Linares Durán (previously at Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados) and March-2021 returnee María Valentina Díaz (from Merck), both intermediates, has further strengthened the team.
David Ricardo Araque
‘Strong points-: easy communication and access to detail of each part of the litigation, they are clear with the processes and the possibilities of success both for the legal area of the company and for other areas. 101% provision to our requirements as a company and strong listening skills, always guiding the benefits of the company.‘
‘It is comparable and superior to the teams of other firms.‘
‘David Araque and his team are the most outstanding of the firm in the litigation area, with recognition -not only in Andina but also by the LATAM region- of their professionalism and availability to look after the interests of the company. It is a group that makes us feel safe and supported in the area of litigation and arbitration.’
‘Gómez-Pinzón Abogados provides us with all the necessary support; they are always communicating information of interest that supports us in all areas, and we value the relationship and knowledge of our processes and interests in the areas. In this aspect it is superior with new technologies and constant communication.‘
Aguas Nacionales EPM
Transportadora de Gas Internacional
ENEL Green Power
Consorcio ITS Norte
MGM Ingeniería y Proyectos
Huawei Managed Services
Refinería de Cartagena
General Motors Colmotores
Solarte Nacional de Construcciones
Construcciones Colombianas OHL
Empresas CMPC (Drypers)
Aguas de Bogotá
Energía para el Amazonas
Morelco (Graña Montero Jimémez)
Occidental de Colombia
The American Golden Foods
Arquitectos e Ingenieros Asociados
Coninsa Ramón H
Holland & Knight's Bogotá disputes practice excels in arbitration and frequently works in conjunction with its US colleagues on more complex multijurisdictional cases. The Colombia-based team undertakes local and international investment and commercial arbitration, which is handled primarily by two reputed partners, both of whom also have extensive experience sitting as arbitrators. A well-known figure in arbitral circles, Alberto Zuleta is currently sitting as an arbitrator on three domestic arbitrations and two international (ICC) arbitrations, as well as acting as counsel in two ICC and one ICSID cases. Zuleta has extensive experience acting within ICSID and UNCITRAL frameworks, as well as under local arbitration centre rules; peers regard him as 'excellent in arbitration' and as having 'a great grasp of [the relevant] non-legal matters'. Executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón divides his time between Bogotá and Washington and has been on the ICSID roster of arbitrators since 2000; with past experience in investment cases throughout the region, he is currently leading a team that is representing the Coordinating Committee of Communities affected by the Chixoy Dam in reparations negotiations with the Guatemalan government. Other current matters include representing a mining client in ICSID arbitration against the Colombian state; a major ICC proceeding and acting for clients in the oil and gas sector. Energy and environment partner Jose Vicente Zapata is also highly active in arbitral matters related to his areas of specialisation, and frequently works in close conjunction with senior counsel Juan Casallas Romero who has experience in international and domestic commercial and investment arbitration disputes -both ICSID and ICC- primarily in relation to energy, construction and natural resources disputes, as part of his broader contentious practice.
‘It is a team of lawyers that combines attention to detail, in-depth knowledge of the law and excellent litigation skills, which makes them undoubtedly one of the most relevant in the country.‘
‘Alberto Zuleta is one of the most important trial lawyers in the country and leads a team of great value and weight in the legal world.‘
The multi-jurisdictional, full-service Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría fields 'a very-strong' and 'highly committed' 12-strong team, locally, and continues to grow its engagement in the arbitral segment, where it advises an impressive roster of significant clients from key economic-sectors. An 'outstanding attorney', practice co-head Julio César González handles both domestic and international proceedings and is an arbitrator at the arbitration centres of the Chambers of Commerce of Cali, Medellín and Periera. Fellow co-head and veteran practitioner Hector Hernandez has particular expertise handling disputes involving infrastructure projects; his direct attention 'gives the client greater confidence and security in the care of their cases'. He recently led the successful representation of state-entity Gecelca in the first setting-aside decision of the Council of State under the Colombian arbitration statute, concerning a $40.3m award related to the construction of a thermal power generation plant. Dual-qualified (Colombia/New York) principal associate Juan Sebastián Arias demonstrates 'extensive knowledge and experience', and has participated in cases under ICC, LCIA, CCB and Madrid Chamber of Commerce rules, as well as in UNCITRAL and ICSID format investment cases. 'An excellent person and professional', senior associate Santiago Cruz Mantilla has recent experience as an arbitrator at both the Cali Chamber of Commerce and the Superintendencia de Sociedades. Procedural specialist and a former judge, principal associate Alejandra Gómez -while primarily focused on litigation- is also involved in arbitral activity and is a referee at the arbitration centres of the Bogotá, Cali and Medellín Chambers of Commerce. Other matters include both domestic and international cases, primarily regarding the energy sector (such as disputes regarding a take-or-pay contract and a build-operate-maintain-and-transfer project), and shareholder-related matters (such as domestic shareholder disputes and international share purchase agreement conflicts), along with breach of contract cases.
Héctor Hernández; Julio César González
‘It is a very strong team. Julio González, who leads it, is a wonderful lawyer. He handles many issues and is able to provide quick and pragmatic solutions to complex problems.‘
‘Julio González is an outstanding attorney. He directs the practice. Although his strength is litigation, he has the ability to understand and handle many other issues such as corporate and public procurement. He is very adept at providing smart, fast and pragmatic solutions. He is very confident in advising his clients.’
‘The area is not only important because it has an expert team in litigation and arbitration, but it must also have the ability to advise its clients on possible alternatives for prior conciliation and negotiation with the counterparty. This is so the client can analyse the alternatives to resolve the conflict and this is what characterizes the PPU team.’
‘Partner Héctor Hernández has directly attended to our requirements (RCN Televisión), with permanent disposition, necessary time and excellent personal treatment, together with his work team, in which Juan Sebastian Arias and Blanca Beltrán stand out, demonstrating extensive knowledge and experience.‘
‘We have been directly assisted by its main partner in conflict resolution, Mr. Héctor Hernández. This direct attention and the personal relationship give the client greater confidence and security in the care of their cases. The rates are competitive with respect to comparable firms in the Colombian market and the comprehensive management of inquiries is important, since PPU offers a broad portfolio in different legal areas.‘
‘It is an excellent team that responds in a timely and accurate manner. Santiago Cruz is an excellent person and professional, our company is very satisfied with his performance in the cases that he advises on. The firm is timely and diligent in the legal strategies used.‘
‘The precision and speed of the advice given by the members of PPU, make it unique in the Colombian market. PPU adds the legal expertise that clients need with the sense of urgency that we have, making it infallible legal support.‘
‘Juan Sebastián Arias, Santiago Cruz, María Alejandra Pallares – form a highly committed team with legal support and availability to support – at any day or time.‘
Fresenius Medical Care de Colombia
Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena
Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao
- Successfully represented state-entity Gecelca in the first setting-aside decision of the Council of State under the Colombian arbitration statute, concerning a $40.3m award related to the construction of a thermal power generation aplant in Puerto Libertador.
Botero Salazar Tobón Abogados
On the contentious front, insurance and dispute-resolution boutique Botero Salazar Tobón Abogados advises international companies and corporations with local operations in Colombia on arbitral and litigious disputes arising from public and private contracts and insurance related matters. The group undertakes both domestic and international arbitration across a wide array of sectors including mining, oil, pharmaceutical, construction, insurance and utilities. Bernardo Salazar and Luís Botero are the key partners; Salazar handles matters across a broad range of industries and sectors, while Botero is more closely focused on the energy sector. Recent highlight work saw the team act as co-counsel -together with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP- to the subsidiaries of Glencore Xtrata, as respondents in an international, multiparty commercial ICC arbitration brought by a railway concessionaire. The team is also advising a client on three arbitral claims related to the termination of transportation agreements.
Bernardo Salazar; Luis Botero; Andres Tobon
‘I have worked with the BST insurance law team led by Bernardo Salazar. The firm has a highly experienced team of lawyers, with a lot of mileage in insurance matters and claims, acting as a lawyer for insurance companies, intermediaries, among others. That vast knowledge and specific experience in insurance law make Bernardo and his team at BST the place to consider when faced with complex insurance matters that can lead to large claims or arbitration proceedings.‘
‘Direct and easy communication; full availability with the client; excellent knowledge and experience in litigation.‘
‘Bernardo Salazar’s work is outstanding. He not only takes care of the legal issues of the case that he is consulted on, but is also dedicated to knowing and learning the aspects of the client’s business. This is a plus because by understanding the client’s business, he can outline a better defence and better discussion strategies in legal proceedings.‘
‘Optimal representation and legal and juridical management. Great commitment -within the legislative framework- to the fields of insurance, international litigation and civil and State liability. High level professional services. Dr. Luis Felipe Botero Aristizábal has extensive knowledge of the areas of insurance, international litigation and civil and State liability, offering a personalised, timely and effective service.‘
‘The firm’s lawyers manage to analyse problems objectively and from there they develop excellent litigation strategies. The lawyers are strategic, rigorous, and resourceful. Dr. Bernardo Salazar and Dr. Isabel Chaparro are excellent. They compare very favourably with teams from other firms.‘
‘The relationship and dedication provided to the client is exceptional: the client is informed permanently and in detail before and after regarding each action throughout the litigation.‘
Pacific Stratus Energy
Johnson & Johnson MD&D
Hitachi Data Systems
Gran Tierra Energy
- Co-counsel -with Freshfields Bruckahus Deringer- to the subsidiaries of Glencore Xtrata, as respondents in an international, multiparty commercial ICC arbtiration; approximate value $1.6bn.
- Representing Puma Energy in an arbitration proceeding against Grupo Empresarial de la Costa related to a lease agreement for a petrol station.
- Representing Ciudad Limpia in an arbitration claim by Promoambiental Distrito against Procesador de Información del Servicio de Aceo (in which Ciudad Limpia is one of the constituent companies) caliming unpaid sums for cleaning services.
- Representing Puma Energy in an arbitration proceeding against Grupo Empresarial de la Costa related to a lease agreement for a petrol station.
Best known for its projects and infrastructure practice, boutique firm Castro Leiva Rendón Abogados provides 'comprehensive advice regarding controversies and disputes’ and represents an impressive client-base of construction companies and road concessionaires on the full range of contentious matters, particularly contractual arbitrations and administrative disputes. Founding partner José Ignacio Leiva is a "go-to" figure for contentious matters related to public and administrative law, routinely advising and representing construction and transport companies in complex disputes; he leads on the majority of the firm’s arbitral matters. Nevertheless, he can call on the significant additional partner-level know-how of Marcela Castro, particularly in relation to infrastructure disputes. Headline mandates include representing Mota-Engil in a $100m international arbitration against the FFIE Trust and Ministry of Education in relation to a building programme for the development of more than 300 schools across the country. Other representative matters include advising KMA Construcción in proceedings against Tridelsa Ingenieros regarding an alleged breach of contract related to the construction of a bridge. A strong second line of senior associates includes public law specialist Natalia Uribe, who has a Master's in construction law and dispute resolution; head of the litigation practice Laura Amaya, and Néstor Camilo López.
José Ignacio Leiva
Experience and direct attention from the partner.‘
‘The team demonstrates extensive knowledge of both substantial and procedural law, along with experience.‘
‘Knowledge, experience, treatment and customer service.‘
‘A team with high legal standards that offers comprehensive advice regarding controversies and disputes.’
‘Outstanding and comprehensive dedication.‘
‘Collaboration and coordination with competent entities that are essential to achieve a solid defence.‘
Cal y Mayor Asociados
Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção
Ashmore Management Company Colombia
Concesión Alto Magdalena
Concesión Pacífico Tres
Concesión Desarrollo Vial de la Sabana
Concesión Santa Marta Paraguachón
Grupo SI 18
Agencia Nacional de Minería
Metro Línea 1
Concesión San Rafael
Consorcio Canales 20
Consorcio Mar 2
PTAP – Tibitoc 20
Corredor Portuario de Cartagena
Interconexión eléctrica (ISA)
Unión Vial Río Pamplonita
Consorcio Estación Elevadora de Canoas
Consorcio Constructor Perimetral de Oriente Bogotá
Concesión La Pintada
Concesión Ruta al Mar
Construcciones El Condor
- Representing Mota-Engil in a $100m international arbitration against the FFIE Trust and Ministry of Education seeking general and reputational damages in relation to the development of more than 300 schools across the country.
- Legal counsel to Metrobus in arbitral proceedings against Transmilenio due to the liquidation of a concession contract.
- Representing the Agencia Nacional de Minería in arbitral litigation against Cerro Matoso for unpaid royalties related to iron ore extraction.
With the February 2021 hire of Ricardo Alarcón -formerly an associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP‘s Paris office- as international arbitration practice director, the team at DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán has notably increased its specialization in the arbitral segment. The 11-strong team -including three partners- handles primarily commercial domestic and international arbitration as part of a broad disputes practice that also has a reputation for providing remedial advice to resolve contractual disputes through negotiation. Managing partner Camilo Martinez is the senior figure for arbitral matters. He co-leads the disputes team with: José Miguel Mendoza (a former chief judge at the country’s specialised business court) who is a specialist in shareholder disputes; and Nicolás Polanía (also head of the office’s insolvency practice) who sits as an arbitrator at Medellín Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration centre. Recent matters include advising clients Saur Colombia and Gestión Técnicas del Agua in ICC arbitration against Hipsitec Latam, Systems Solutions de Colombia and Inversiones H20 regarding multiple indemnity claims, as well as in proceedings against Inversiones Romero seeking the application of a material adverse effect clause; both cases were subsequently negotiated. Further associate level support comes from senior Julian Solorza, who heads up the office’s litigation practice and also handles domestic arbitration; associate practice director for civil and state responsibility, Sergio Rojas Quiñones; and seniors Juan Pablo Amaya and Sergio Londoño González, who focus on corporate disputes and governance, and corporate dispute management, respectively. Other matters include the successful representation of a major oil multinational in a conflict regarding interpretation of a partnership agreement. The team is also advising a client on the pre-trial stages of two different ICSID arbitrations against sovereign governments.
Camilo Martínez; José Miguel Mendoza; Nicolás Polanía
‘DLA Piper Colombia is trusted business partner. Sergio Rojas and Camillo Martinez are top-notch litigators. They have respected bankruptcy and commercial experience. They make time to understand our business and legal needs. I would not make any decision without first consulting with Sergio and Camillo. (We also engaged Sergio and Camillo in a complicated matter before the Superintendencia de Companias.)‘
‘Sergio is thorough, responsive and knowledgeable about Colombia law and local practice. His ability to explain complex procedures is appreciated and a most useful skill.’
‘Lawyers who have attended us: Jose Miguel Mendoza; Sergio Londoño – concrete solutions, identifying the associated risks. Comprehensive support in the case attended, agility and opportunity for the required responses.‘
‘It is a dynamic team, attentive to responding on time and according to our needs to all the requirements in front of the processes in which they act as our attorneys-in-fact and show extensive knowledge on the subjects under litigation.‘
‘DLA Piper Martinez Beltran, has all the qualities that one can expect from a law firm, the most important for us is the integrity, the transparency, the honesty of their work. In the same way, I highlight from DLA the sense of belonging with which they assume each case, the discipline and rigour with which they understand the details of the cases under their charge and the seniority added to the knowledge of the law with which they define forceful winning strategies, clear and precise. We respect the other firms we work with, however DLA is undoubtedly the best, they are consistent, their processes, their manners and manners demonstrate the greatness of their team of lawyers.‘
‘The people at DLA Piper Martinez Beltran are the best lawyers in the country, that is because above all, before being lawyers, they are empathetic human beings, educated in values, aware of their privileges, of the impact of their work on a country like Colombia. Camilo Martinez and Sergio Rojas Quiñones are always available and alert, always taking care of our interests, always aware of the available resources and the limits to achieve the objectives. I fully trust them, their recommendations, decisions and actions. We are certain of the correctness of their actions, of the coherence between what they say with what they think and what they represent as the best law firm in the country. We have been with them for many years and they do not disappoint us.‘
‘In DLA Martinez Beltran they have included a series of webinar-like tools, with different topics, all of great impact in the current situation, clients appreciate it since it gives us the opportunity to anticipate, prepare for and prevent situations that could have negatively impacted our business.‘
Bolsa de Valores de Colombia
Chevron (Colombian branch)
Operadora de Carbón de Santa Marta (Carbosan)
Ernst and Young Audit
Shareholders of Comestibles Aldor
Consorcio Generación Ituango
Chevron Petroleum Company
Banco AV Villas
Epk Kids Smart
Corporación Club el Nogal
IRI de Colombia
Federación Nacional de Comerciantes – Fenalco
Gases Del Caribe
Tribeca Asset Management
Empresa de Energía de Honduras
- Represented Saur Colombia and Gestión Técnicas del Agua in ICC arbitration against Hipsitec Latam, Systems Solutions de Colombia and Inversiones H20 regarding multiple indemnity claims; and Inversiones Romero, seeking the application of a material adverse effect clause; both cases were subsequently negotiated.
- Represented private equity fund Tribeca Fund 1 in a $40m breach of shareholder agreement arbitration (brought by five mminiortiy shareholders) and a subsequent counterclaim seeking that hte shareholder-agreement’s penalty clause be declared void.
Fielding a 13-strong disputes team led by three partners, Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos distinguishes itself not only by the depth of its regulatory and public law knowledge, but also by its exclusive focus on domestic arbitral matters - primarily those related to public contracts and infrastructure. As a former Minister of Justice, name partner Juan Carlos Esguerra was responsible for the commission that originated 2012's Law 1563, which regulates both domestic and international arbitration in Colombia; deeply experienced both as counsel and arbitrator, he is particularly noted for his negotiation skills. ‘Judicious and considered’ and 'a very fine lawyer', Felipe Piquero acts primarily in cases related to public contracts, domestic and international state-responsibility, and human rights law; and Andrés Jaramillo Hoyos focuses on commercial and administrative contractual matters, and also has niche expertise in port-related issues. Headline mandates include advising Hocol on the initiation of arbitral proceedings against oil-drilling equipment company Adrialpetro for provision of faulty and/or insufficiently sensitive equipment for the measuring of oil-well productivity, with an estimated value of over COP$44bn. Other matters include disputes regarding alleged breaches in a ship-and-pay contract in the hydrocarbons transportation segment; and proceedings concerning multiple breaches of contract in the agricultural sector. Following the June-2020 departure of María Cristina Martínez, Paola Patarroyo, has replaced her as associate arbitration practice director; a former international associate at Freshfields' arbitration group, Patarroyo has experience of proceedings under ICSID, ICC and UNCITRAL rules. Further depth comes from November-2020 hire (from Transmilenio), Ana María Herrera, who has notable arbitral experience.
Juan Carlos Esguerra; Felipe Piquero; Andrés Jaramillo
‘The team assigned to the work has solid legal knowledge, good communication and assertiveness in handling the issues.‘
‘During the pandemic, the continuity of services and timely attention to requirements have been guaranteed.‘
‘The team is very competent and negotiates with strategic vision.‘
‘Prepared and competent lawyers, excellent disposition to attend meetings and client requests. Clear and practical recommendations always seeking to quickly solve the client’s difficulties. The partner in charge of our account is Felipe Piquero.’
‘They are ordered in their billing process, the answers to the queries are clear and specific.’
‘Esguerra Asesores Jurídicas is a firm that has a team with great availability, speed and depth of analysis; it’s constructive, works collaboratively and, above all, anticipates.’
‘Felipe Piquero, is a lawyer of the firm with great warmth, respectful treatment, a great capacity for listening, vision and strategy.‘
‘It is an office that works in advance, that is, a team that contemplates possible scenarios and from there builds the advice and support that it will carry out on behalf of its clients.’
Carbones del Cerrejón
Compañía de Seguros Confianza
Acción Sociedad Fiduciaria
Manuelita, Riopaila Castilla and Ingenio La Cabaña
- Retained by Ecopetrol subsidiary Hocol to initiate arbitral proceedings against oil-drilling equipment company Adrialpetro for provision of faulty and/or insufficiently sensitive equipment for the measuring of oil-well productivity; estimated value: over COP$44bn.
Undertaking domestic and international proceedings related to commercial, contractual and shareholder disputes, frequently for major infrastructure and energy companies, Garrigues‘ Bogotá office continues to experience growth in its arbitral caseload. Dual qualified (Colombia / New York) practice head Alberto Acevedo has over 15 years’ disputes experience and handles local and international arbitration, including investment cases. He leads a six-strong team that provides ‘timely and high-quality advice‘, ‘excellent attention‘ and demonstrates ‘solid knowledge‘. Significant current matters include proceedings concerning the alleged breach of several pipeline supply contracts and an ICC construction contract arbitration concerning the breach of an EPC agreement; indeed, the construction segment has become a particular strength. With experience at the Superintendencia de Sociedades (bankruptcy area) and the third section of the Council of State, well-regarded senior associate Ángela María Rueda has a broad disputes practice and a specialisation in public law. However, associates Luis Guillemo Rosero and Angélica María Perdomo left to join Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S and the international arbitration department of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration and conciliation centre in January and April 2021, respectively.
‘The litigation and arbitration team has solid knowledge in its area, which allows it to provide timely and high-quality advice, always being ready to provide support in the needs of the company.‘
‘They have a great capacity for prior analysis of the context for the subsequent structuring of legal defence. and in an empathic and strategic way they make a very good team with the areas involved in the defence of the company.‘
‘They are really good – committed, good customer service and excellent relationship with customers.‘
‘Their excellent attention at any time and their disposition; that they make the client feel unique despite having thousands of cases, they are up to date with all digital tools and offer a very good personalised service.‘
Gestcolombia (Urba Group)
- Representing Transmilenio in a first-of-its-kind technical arbitration against Recaudo Bogotá demanding a compulsory review of the costs and fees charged by Recaudo Bogotá based on Contract No. 001 of 2011.
- Representing Socios Online as plaintiff in a domestic arbitration filed against GNP following an alleged breach of contract by the latter in relation to a joint venture agreement between the parties to render online marketing services to Claro.
- Defending OHL Industrial in a domestic arbitration filed by Estrumetal due to the alleged breach of a construction contract between the parties; Estrumetal was OHL Industrial’s subcontractor in the construction of a cement plant for the Corona/Molins joint venture in Antioquia, Colombia.
Lloreda Camacho & Co.'s compact, five-strong disputes and insolvency practice handles both domestic and international arbitration procedures - particularly in relation to the telecoms sector, since disputes practice head Gustavo Tamayo ('everything you want in a senior leader'; 'he is smart, clear, and inspires confidence') is also a nationally recognised telecoms specialist. Current mandates include acting as local counsel alongside arbitral powerhouse Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP on behalf of América Móvil in an ongoing $2bn international investment arbitration concerning an alleged breach of the Colombia-Mexico free trade agreement (FTA) by the Republic of Colombia. The team is also representing América Móvil's local subsidiary, Comcel, in a complex and long running $80m case against Empresa de Telefónos de Bogotá (ETB); and in a $6m claim against the Television Regulatory Authority (ANTV) in relation to administrative orders issued by the latter in relation to the licensing and charges for the right to offer televisual services. The May-2020 departure of former associate director of the firm's dispute resolution practice, Dora Morales (to Autopistas Urabá), was a loss but she has been replaced by the 'exceptional' Christian Pérez Rueda ('has a great skill set and a work ethic that is second to none') who focuses on litigation before local courts, arbitral tribunals and class actions, and also has a strong insurance aspect to his practice. Further associate support comes from fellow senior Camilo Valenzuela ('in addition to his intellectual and professional qualities, his kindness and service attitude make the difference') who focuses on civil procedural law; domestic, international and investment arbitration; ADR and evidential matters.
Lloreda Camacho’s team was able to coordinate various legal issues and matters and in various jurisdictions so as to advise the operations of its client in Colombia (India – original country of the client; England – contract subject to English law; Mexico – client’s main operations in the region; and Colombia – the contractor is Colombia-based).‘
‘Jorge Rodriguez is a lawyer with a lot of experience in corporate law as he worked in the Colombian company regulator (Superintendencia de Sociedades).’
‘Christian Pérez is a lawyer with a lot of experience in civil and commercial law since he was a member of the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia for several years.‘
‘The combination of the team allowed management of the specific problem in a coordinated way on different fronts and different issues, which was very successful.’
‘The associates have plenty of leeway to direct and implement the case strategy.‘
‘Lloreda Camacho & Co is excellent. They have great strategic vision. They are also detail-oriented, proactive and thorough. Importantly, they are also very skilled in explaining Colombian law and procedure to the US parent company (whom we advise). This is even more impressive when you consider all the explanation has to be in English. The team has excellent commercial awareness and is in constant communication with various groups at the business.‘
‘Gustavo Tamayo – he is the senior leader of the team. He is everything you want in a senior leader. He is smart, clear, and inspires confidence. He has a wealth of experience and considers both legal and practical considerations when recommending courses of action.’
‘Christian Perez – he is the chief day-to-day lawyer. He is exceptional. In fact, he was recruited away from Lloreda Camacho & Co, but we are very happy that he came back. He has a great skill set and a work ethic that is second to none. He is absolutely comfortable leading discussions and he gives our client great confidence.‘
‘They provide their excellent services in a way that makes our lives easier, so we are very happy with them.‘
‘It is a great team, in addition to the technical knowledge that is fundamental and is one of the reasons why we chose them, the Lloreda team stands out for its customer service, they are always available when we need them, with answers accurate and timely and great kindness.‘
‘Camilo Valenzuela, has been a great support throughout the process, in addition to his intellectual and professional qualities, his kindness and service attitude make the difference. We feel that we are part of the same team in search of a common goal.‘
‘Despite the difficulties that the health emergency has generated, communication has always been very fluid. Likewise, we have been able to take advantage of the technological tools available, which has facilitated the exchange of a large amount of information, essential to properly attend to the process.‘
‘A team with high standards of ethics and professionalism in Colombia, with the ability to resolve queries and disputes with great promptness and accuracy.‘
‘Great diversity in the work team and a very good adaptation to new technologies.‘
Advanced Sterilization Products
Stratum Reservoir (UK) International Holdings
América Móvil (Claro)
Merck Sharp & Dohme
Compañía Nacional de Levaduras (Levapan)
Johnson & Johnson
Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG)
- Acting as local co-counsel to America Movil -parent of Colombian subsidiary, Comcel- in a $2bn international investment arbitration arguing a breach of the Colombia-Mexico FTA in relation to the reversion of certain wireless telecom assets operated by Comcel and for which Comcel previously had to pay the Colombian state $1.5bn as a result of a domestic tribunal award.
- Representing Comcel in a complex $80m case against Empresas de Telefonos de Bogotá (ETB) in which an original award to Comcel was overturned by the Court of Justice of the Andean Community on a technicality; in the subsequent and unprecedented conflict of jurisdiction saw the Colombian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (CRC) settled the case in favour of Comcel which is now seeking to collect the award while ETB looks to have the decision reversed.
- Representing KMA Construcciones in arbitral proceedings against Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) for refusal of a duly proposed PPP infrastructure agreement; estimated value: over $100m.
Merizalde Abogados S.A.S
Currently a three-strong micro-boutique, Merizalde Abogados S.A.S undoubtedly presents a new alternative for clients seeking assistance with specifically international arbitration matters without seeking recourse at a major, high-end firm. Formerly a member of Dechert LLP's international arbitration group for some 12 years, Juan Felipe Merizalde established the firm upon his return to Colombia in January 2021, and moved quickly to hire former ICC international Court of Arbitration’s Deputy Director for Latin America, Andrea Santacoloma, as counsel; and Guatemala-qualified Sofia Galindo, formerly an international arbitration law clerk at Dechert, where she worked with Merizalde. In current mandates the team is acting as lead counsel in ICC arbitrations on behalf of clients in the solar and hydroelectric generation segments and the telecoms sector (among others), as well as advising Grupo HNG on arbitration against former partner Semillas Arroyave as a result of a failed joint venture in the agro-industrial sector. Additionally, the team has been hired by the Agencia de Defensa Legal de la República de Colombia to advise it on investment-related (arbitral) issues.
Juan Felipe Merizalde
‘A team of young, multilingual lawyers, with excellent academic preparation and great international practice. They’re an innovative, reputable and competitive team of friendly and collaborative lawyers, with great knowledge in contemporary national and international law, with a great performance in current technology. Juan Felipe Merizalde excels in his performance in dispute resolution and arbitration management at the national and international level.‘
‘They know not only the national but also the international legislation in a very solvent way; Felipe Merizabal is excellent.‘
‘Juan Felipe, as the founder of this firm, has exceptional skills as a litigator in arbitration matters and has also formed a team of professionals who assist him with great quality and international experience. The experience they have gained in handling the cases in which they have participated is invaluable and their customer service is the best. I watched as they answered each client’s request without more than two days passing, even when the team was in audience. It certainly has nothing to envy other international refereeing teams anywhere in the world. Perhaps the only difference I could mention is that the quality is exactly the same, but the Merizalde Abogados team is cheaper, which makes it even more attractive.‘
‘Juan Felipe’s ability to design defense or attack strategies and the ability to successfully implement them in practice. The handling of audiences and the ability to present arguments convincingly is extraordinary.‘
‘I have worked directly with Juan Felipe Merizalde and he is an extraordinary lawyer with a great capacity for argumentation, writing, persuasion and oratory.’
‘Definitely his work compares favorably with the teams of other high quality and prestigious firms.‘
‘The good lawyer is one who offers a catalogue of options to the judge to resolve and who, of course, through argumentation, writing and oratory, manages to convince the judge. Which is not always easy to find; however, they are characteristics that Juan Felpe Merizalde possesses and that definitely makes him stand out from the rest.‘
Long renowned for its sophisticated public law practice, 10-trong boutique Palacios Lleras maintains a solid reputation for dispute resolution, including arbitral matters - primarily handling corporate, infrastructure and construction disputes, particularly those with complex technical aspects. The practice is accustomed to ICC cases - such as its ongoing role as co-counsel to key client Drummond (and its subsidiary, Drummond Coal), in international multiparty proceedings concerning rail transportation agreements in northern coastal Colombia. Founding partner Hugo Palacios Mejía is an experienced arbitrator in both domestic and international (ICC) arbitrations; he co-leads the team with Óscar Gutiérrez and Pedro Pacheco, both of whom are list B arbitrators of the Conciliation and Arbitration Center of the Superintendencia de Corporaciones. At associate level, the team was strengthened notably with the hire of seniors Giselle Herrera Kheneyzir - a former Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría associate with additional experience as an arbitration counsel to Reficar and as an assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague; and Luis Miguel Falla, who also has experience in private practice, in house and in the judiciary (at the Consejo del Estado), in April and May 2021, respectively. However, economic and energy regulatory expert, partner Ángel Castañeda, who was active in arbitral matters, left in April 2021.
Hugo Palacios Mejía; Óscar Gutiérrez; Pedro Leonardo Pacheco
‘It is a team that knows the gas business, knows about arbitration and litigation and has advised us appropriately when we have requested it.‘
‘The team has served us for many years and their knowledge of the sector stands out.‘
‘Strengths: great knowledge of our sector and our company for being our consultants for many years.’
‘They are very diligent, with permanent availability and with very favourable results.’
‘The service provided corresponds to advice and representation in judicial processes, we consider that the handling given the subjects under consultation was favourable, with concrete, clear explanations that allowed us to achieve the objectives for which the firm was hired. We are satisfied with the services provided.’
‘Hugo Palacios’ firm stands out for its thoroughness, knowledge and excellent work. His lawyers study each case in depth.‘
Drummond / Drummond Coal Mining
Pernod Ricard Colombia
Gases de Occidente
Gases del Caribe
Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta
- Co-counsel to Drummond (and its subsidiary, Drummond Coal), in multiparty international arbitration concerning rail transportation agreements in coastal north Colombia; value: claim, $182.8m / counterclaim, $1.52bn.
Arrubla Devis Asociados
With a 13-strong interdisciplinary team spread across offices in Bogotá and Medellín, Arrubla Devis Asociados is sharply focused on complex litigation and arbitration disputes. Founded in 1988, the boutique of former President of the Supreme Court of Justice Jaime Arrubla is 'as good as any team of lawyers in the country' according to one source, and is lauded not only for its procedural expertise but also for its delivery. While arbitration is not the firm's key focus, founding partner Arrubla frequently teams up with senior associate Rafael McCausland to attend to arbitral matters, with recent cases including the successful representation of construction group Portal Calicanto in proceedings against Transmilenio in an over-costs dispute. The pair are also repeat counsel to the National State Agency for Judicial Defence (ANDJE) when it intervenes in arbitrations with potentially significant financial costs to the State.
Jaime Arrubla Paucar; Rafael McCausland; Sebastián Montoya
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.‘
Agencia Nacional de Defensa Jurídica del Estado (ANDJE)
Fábric de Especias y Productos El Rey
Triguisar de Colombia
Smurfit Kappa – Cartón de Colombia
- Representing the National State Agency for Judicial Defence (ANDJE) on its intervention (as legally permitted, in order to defend the pecuniary interests of the Colombian State) in the $300m case brought by UTMVVCC against the National infrastructure Agency (ANI), for allegedly breaching the terms of a public concession contract.
- Representing the National State Agency for Judicial Defence (ANDJE) on its intervention in the $100m case brought by Autopistas de Santander against the National infrastructure Agency (ANI), for damages caused by the termination of a public concession contract.
- Successful representation of construction group Portal Calicanto, responsible for building elements of Cartagena’s integrated public transport system, in a $5.2m cases against Cartagena-based public company, Transcaribe (the governmental entity in charge of the transportation system), regarding overcosts in the contract.
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas handles local and international arbitration particularly in relation to construction matters, although of late it has been more active in proceedings brought by concessionaires against state entities. Practice head Andrés Fernández de Soto -'an arbitrator who stands out for the good sense and consideration of his awards'- is also an experienced arbitral counsel with considerable experience in public procurement and infrastructure. He generally handles party cases in conjunction with senior associate and fellow practice co-head, Paula Vejarano ('those who have participated with her in arbitration panels highlight her measure and knowledge of one’s rights'); an arbitrator at the Cali Chamber of Commerce, she too has notable experience in construction and public concession related disputes. Recent highlights include representing a multinational infrastructure and engineering group in domestic arbitration against a public entity for $60m in unpaid expenses arising from a public infrastructure contract which was unilaterally terminated by the defendant, which has subsequently responded with a $70m counterclaim. Other matters include representing a well-known specialist engineering group in pending proceedings regarding allegedly faulty machinery.
Andrés Fernández de Soto; Paula Vejarano
The Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas litigation team, in addition to the great experience they have, is always up-to-date since the lawyers are actively involved in academic discussions on current issues that impact on litigation processes. Additionally, they have a multidisciplinary team that allows them to make a truly holistic analysis of the issues, which is an added value.‘
‘The added value of the DC&C desk is definitely in the combination of experience (represented with partners such as Eduardo Cardenas, whose preparation is comprehensive in many areas and, in addition to being recognised, is highly respected by the trial lawyers’ union), with the mastery of current procedural issues (where Dr Paula Vejarano has an important role because more than knowledge in novel issues, she provides a strategic clarity to defend cases, which is masterful).‘
‘The members of the DC&C desk are seen actively participating and as instructors in courses, lectures and in a procedural study center where they have made important contributions on procedural trends, such as virtual litigation, digitalization of procedures, assessment of evidence and ultimately, various current issues.‘
‘The litigation team supports us in judicial and arbitration processes. Paula Vejarano has solid knowledge in this field and her support has been very positive. She shows great interest and willingness to define the best legal strategy in representing the company in different cases.’
‘As a result of the pandemic, electronic communication has been allowed in judicial processes. Paula has supported us to understand what this new management should be like.‘
‘The Dentons team is a team that combines experience with innovation very well. It has as a basis the more than 30 years’ experience of partner-in-charge Andrés Fernandez de Soto, who re-joined the team after a period away from the firm, together with the experience and innovative spirit of his senior associate, practice director Paula Vejarano. Together, accompanied by a team of young lawyers, they have managed to combine the traditional form of litigation with new perspectives in the face of virtuality and digitization as a result of the pandemic.‘
‘Andrés Fernández de Soto is an experienced litigator, who enjoys a very good reputation and whose more than 30 years’ experience is frequently decisive in negotiations. Likewise, he is an arbitrator who stands out for the good sense and consideration of his awards. His experience in public procurement and infrastructure is more than recognised in that sector.‘
‘Paula Vejarano has stood out for several years as one of the most successful women litigators in the country. Her involvement in high-profile cases has earned her great recognition and renown among her colleagues. In addition to her brilliant career as a proxy for her partner, she is also an arbitrator and those who have participated with her in arbitration panels highlight her measure and knowledge of one’s rights.‘
Aecom Technical Services
Azteca Comunicaciones (TV Azteca)
Exxon Mobil de Colombia
Ford Motor Company
Consorcio Aguas de Aburrá HHA (Hyundai Engineering and Construction / Hyundai Engineering / Acciona Agua)
Consorcio MASA–Acciona (Mantenimiento y Montajes Industriales / Acciona Infraestructura)
- Representing a multinational infrastructure and engineering group in domestic arbitraiton against a public entity for $60m in unpaid expenses arising from a public infrastructure contract which was unilaterally terminated by the defendant, which has subsequently responded with a $70m counterclaim.