Labour and employment in Colombia
Longstanding market presence Alvarez, Lievano, Laserna S.A.S attracts praise for combining strength, expertise and dedication, and delivering timely tailor-made advice. The sizeable 34-strong firm, exclusively dedicated to labour and social security issues, is led by four expert partners. Name partners Carlos Álvarez Pereira and Claudia Liévano, who both have particular expertise in appeals before the Supreme Court, co-lead the practice in conjunction with Felipe Álvarez Echeverry, who leads the litigation department, and María Lucía Laserna who heads up the legal audit area. Álvarez Pereira also handles arbitral matters and undertakes collective bargaining cases - a specialty for which the firm is well-known. Key support comes from senior associates María Fernanda Echeverry and Andrea Ortega.
‘This team combines specialist knowledge with the practical side of the law, they ground legal knowledge in the convenience of the business, being timely and wise in their advice and audits. As clients we have the serious, updated and permanent support of a team of lawyers with excellent personal and professional qualities’.
‘The legal concepts are very clear and specific, aimed at the needs of what is being consulted, always with an immediate response capacity, regardless of the moment‘.
‘Experience, seriousness and personalised, analytical and timely service. Knowledge of the client, their needs and expectations. Warmth and honesty in their treatment’.
‘The lawyers are attentive to answering questions or clarifying doubts we may have on different labour issues. They have great credibility because their experience in labour and employment is well known’.
‘Quality of work, service attitude and empathy with the client. They demonstrate a true interest in serving’.
‘Felipe Álvarez is a leading attorney, who adapts to the needs of the company without limiting himself to issuing only the legal concept. Collective negotiations with the different union organizations are very effective, due to their good relationship and analytical capacity’.
Farmacias y Droguerias Cruz Verde
Frontera Energy Colombia
Fondo de Pensiones y Cesantias Protección
Interconexion Electrica, Intercolombia and XM
Bimbo de Colombia
Banco De Las Microfinanzas Bancamia
Concesion Santa Marta Paraguachon
Mansarovar Energy Colombia
Administradora Colombiana De Pensiones Colpensiones
- Advised Frontera Energy (to which the firm offers permanent counsel) on the collective bargaining processes with the USO union, the most important in the sector, without it being possible to reach an agreement; the team is currently representing the company before the Arbitration Court.
- Advised Scotiabank Colpatria on the expiration of its collective bargaining agreement with the union organization that obtained a presence in Scotiabank as a result of the integration of Colpatria after its acquisition, successfully reaching a collective bargaining agreement and undertaking benefit-harmonisation measures.
- Advised Fondeo de Pensiones y Cesantías Protección on the successful completion of a collective bargaining process with key unions in the sector.
- Advised and represented Farmacias y Droguerías Cruz Verde on the labour aspects of the various mergers and acquisitions that it has undertaken.
- Advised Bimbo de Colombia on the labour aspects of its purchase of the Panettiere Society; the team also assisted with the strategy to obtain a collective bargaining process with the union Sinaltrabimbo.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S.' 'on target' practice continues to receive excellent feedback, highlighting its deep understanding of clients' needs and the quality of the tailor-made advice that results. The 12-strong team provides comprehensive support on labour and employment matters as well as a range of related services, including dispute resolution, and focuses on overall strategy, compliance and all aspects of the employment lifecycle. Practice head Tatiana Garcés-Carvajal, whose extended track record advising on individual and collective labour law includes senior in-house positions, is also the firm's regional practice leader. Fellow co-head Evelyn Romero's broad industry focus ranges from manufacturing, mining and infrastructure to financial institutions and healthcare. Senior associates María Cecilia Reyes and Daniela Liévano provide key support.
‘What makes Baker McKenzie stand out from the crowd is the lawyers’ ability to really understand the client’s needs and requirements, as well as those of the business. Tailor-made advice is their most remarkable strength and what makes you go for their legal assistance rather than the one from other legal services providers. Baker McKenzie’s labour and employment team is certainly capable of crystallising the problem and shoots on target every time a legal query arises. This makes their legal advice not only legally accurate, but also prompt and assertive’.
‘Evelyn Romero and Maria Paula Dueñas are recommended. Also, Gabriela Delgado and Daniela Liévano’.
‘Lawyers in this practice are very knowledgeable in their field. At the same time, they make an effort to know their clients in detail to give excellent, tailored advice. As an in-house legal counsel, I would not trade them for anyone else. Evelyn Romero is an exceptional lawyer with a great knowledge in labour law and social security, she projects the consultancies to be tailored to the client, and she is the one who leads the excellent team. María Cecilia Reyes has the strength to generate quick and effective responses, being a skillful and strategic lawyer that any in-house counsel requires as a right hand in labour issues’.
‘María Paula Dueñas and Evelyn Romero are always available. They meet the deadlines and their concepts are clear and concise’.
Teleset / Sony Pictures Entertainment
Laboratorio Franco Colombiano (Lafrancol)
Sanofi-Aventis de Colombia
- Assisted Teleset/Sony Pictures Entertainment in the process of restructuring the managerial area of the company; the process entailed having to negotiate with a group of five employees holding the highest hierarchical level at the company in Colombia.
- Assisted Lafrancol with its collective bargaining process with the National Union of Employees of the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry in Colombia (SINTRAQUIM).
- Represented Janssen Cilag in a labour litigation filed by a former employee, aiming to obtain payment of a pension bond. First and second instances failed in favour of the employee, while the Supreme Court of Justice reduced the pension bond from $125,000 to $94,000 approximately.
- Assisted a gaming and entertainment corporation in designing a restructuring process within its Colombian operations.
- Participated and assisted Accenture -from an employment, social security and labor standpoint – in the due diligence process of the seller’s business. The firm identified risks and commonalities across the region in several jurisdictions.
Godoy Córdoba member of Littler Global
Housing one of the largest teams solely focused on labour law, the highly recommended Godoy Córdoba member of Littler Global's practice also stands out for its international capabilities -the firm also partnering with global firm Fragomen LLP on immigration issues. Covering the full range of labour and empoyment-related matters, the group is led by seven partners. Senior partner Carlos Hernán Godoy directs the collective bargaining department; Francisco Buriticá has 35 years' labour and employment advisory experience; Ana Cristina Medina handles the firm's international client accounts; Gustavo Gnecco heads up the firm's litigation practice; Andrés Fernando DaCosta, who has particular expertise in social security matters; Santiago Martínez who leads on labour audits and due diligence projects; and Federico Bernal (labour litigation, audits and advisory), who was elected partner in September 2019, are all key figures. Venezuela-qualified senior associate Ricardo Alonso provides experienced support.
‘A team with high technical capabilities and deep legal knowledge. It has the ability to analyse different scenarios, which allows us to take the right decisions’.
‘They simply have the best lawyers in the sector. Andrés Fernando DaCosta is one of the most recognised labour lawyers in the country. His capacity for legal analysis stands out’.
‘The way they genuinely care about customer needs is of high importance to us. We highlight Federico Bernal, Juliana Visbal and Fabio Salazar’.
‘They have managed to have a highly specialised team in labour law matters, but have maintained close relationships with their clients, which generates a lot of trust. Compared to other offices, I consider Godoy Córdoba to be much more flexible and close. I highlight the work of Santiago Martínez, who with his support and attention always makes us feel that we are his most important client’.
‘Ana Cristina Medina is close to the firm’s clients, concrete and realistic in the situations that arise for her advice. High knowledge and great charisma. Marcela Trujillo has high dedication and good analysis of situations. She has great potential in this sector. Her attention and kindness are exceptional. Daniel Mauricio Contreras, an expert in labour litigation. Specific and adequate reports. Good customer management’.
DHL Global Forwarding
GE Healthcare Colombia
AXA Partners CLP Operaciones Colombia
South 32 (Cerromatoso)
H & M Hennes & Mauritz Colombia
- Provided strategic legal advice on the closure of the Phillip Morris International cigarette manufacturing operation in Colombia.
- Assisted Terminal Portuario de Buenaventura with the management of a strike organised by the local union with international assistance; the team supported the negotiation with the unions, the management of the crisis during the strike and negotiation with the communities achieving a collective agreement which will be in force for two years.
- Advised Skandia on over 500 processes of nullities of affiliation; the issue stems from a change in the pension regime of Colombians who went from an average premium scheme (Seguro Social and Colpensiones) to the individual savings scheme or private pension fund.
- Advised Azteca Communications on the voluntary retirement plan for workers. The retirement plan was derived from the reallocation of the contract to other operators, closing the project for Azteca.
A household name in the field, Lopez & Asociados Abogados is a leading firm, widely praised and boasting a 63-strong labour and employment practice led by five expert partners. Advisig national and multinational companies with local operations, the practice looks to provide a comprehensive service involving both corrective and preventive approaches. Managing partner Juan Pablo López excels in labour conflict management and disputes; fellow co-head Angélica María Carrión is in charge of the firm's counselling area, while Alejandro Castellanos is responsible for the litigation and judicial representation area. Rocío Lagos and Ana María Rubiano, both new partners as of December 2019, are also both recommended. Senior associates Diego Francisco Leal (who leads the knowledge unit) and Ismael Orlando Babativa (who coordinates litigation) are also key members of a team that was further strengthened with the hire of Manuel Germán Torres (after almost 15 years in various in-house labour roles), as head of the advisory practice in June 2019.
‘They have a lot of specialised knowledge, by subjects and practice areas. They are very accessible, there is no bureaucracy, they help make the business and its strategy the priority, taking care of the company’s interests. We work with them in all areas, collective, individual and custom law. We have been working with them since 2009 and we are doing better every time’.
‘We work with partners Juan Pablo López and Alejandro Castellanos. It is a prepared, diligent team, available 24/7. We have had the best experience and results with the firm, we have been with them for 11 years and we could not have fared better. I consider it is the best firm by far that the country has, there is no equal. The clarity of the firm’s members is impressive, and founding partner Juan Pablo López is one of the smartest people I have ever met’.
‘Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the labour issues, they differ from their competition by the degree of closeness to the client. We recommend Juan Pablo López and associate Manuel Germán Torres‘.
‘Partner Angélica Carrión is outstanding’.
‘It is a firm specialised in labour law. Additionally, the partners and team of associates are specialised by industry, which allows them a greater knowledge of the particularities of the oil sector’.
- Advised a client on labour matters during the closing of its operations, including developing a Voluntary Early Separation Agreements scheme for the company’s workers.
- Advised a client on the restructuring of a certain employment position and on a new, associated salary scheme.
- Undertook a review of the payroll and accounting process and their compliance with labour regulations on behalf of a financial institution.
Full service Brigard Urrutia's labour, employment and immigration practice, led by the profusely recommended Catalina Santos, handles the full array of labour-related services, with particular strength in those matters deriving from M&A deals – such as labour due diligence, pension schemes, labour harmonisation and restructuring, and collective bargaining. Santos, who focuses on remuneration negotiations, restructuring processes and voluntary retirement plans, among other matters, leads a 14-strong team that includes senior associate José Alejandro Sierra (litigation and pension matters in all sectors and industries) and associate Camilo Mutis.
‘The labour and employment team is the most competent, it has excellent well qualified lawyers, especially Catalina Santos and her team, their answers are always on time, their opinions are always complete and based on law, jurisprudence and give options to companies to decide the best in relation to the risk’.
‘The labour team is extraordinarily well formed, they are available at all times, the response time is almost inimitably strong, they are always informed about the latest laws and trends, they investigate jurisprudence to defend positions and establish the strategy on behalf of the company interests’.
‘Catalina Santos is distinguished by being an excellent professional, leader of her team and for her excellent treatment of clients. Our contact attorney is Julie Viviana Bravo who is a specialist in labour law and social security and has handled our case to date with a 78% success rate’.
‘Catalina Santos and Luz Maria Velazquez. They are both very knowledgeable of local labour laws and able to provide assistance in complex cases’.
‘The work team is of a high professional level, excellent disposition and support’.
Dolphin Drilling (Colombia)
Universidad Autónoma del Caribe (UAC)
Valagro Andina / Valagro
Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce
- Represented Atento Colombia in complex labour litigation seeking the judicial dissolution and liquidation of an industrial union recognised by the Ministry of Labour; as a result of civil and labour proceedings, the court declared that the statutes of the union were illegal.
- Acted on behalf of Universidad Autónoma del Caribe before the Supreme Court of Justice, after it had been ordered in first and second instance to recognise, in quota shared, a portion of a claimant’s retirement pension considering the time in which said individual was linked to UAC.
- Softbank signed an investment of up to $1.2bn dollars in Rappi; the firm acted as a local counsel, along with its lead counsel Paul Weiss, advising on regulatory issues, labour and employment risks, due diligence and strategic transactional issues.
- Represented Valagro (and its Colombian subsidiary Valagro Andina) against an action of protection of fundamental rights (acción de tutela) brought by a former contractor, claiming the existence of an employment relationship.
Barranquilla-based but operating nationwide, Chapman & Asociados strikes the right note because the firm 'understands the client's organisation and assumes the defence as its own in each process'. The sizeable, 37-strong practice, which has expertise across the sector (including outsourcing, health immunities and union protection, for example), is led by founding partner Charles Chapman, who leads on collective labour matters and is deeply experienced in collective negotiation and agreements with unions. Fellow co-head Mirna Wilches advises on administrative and tax law related to labour matters. Both partners 'stand out for their innovative ideas, without losing objectivity regarding legal compliance'. Head of litigation Heimy Blanco is also an integral member of the practice group.
‘The team stands out for its great kindness, disposition and always updated knowledge. They have impeccable argumentation and writing. They always take into account the perspective of the company when solving queries, that is, they not only attend to requests from the legal point of view, but also take into account the company’s point of view. This means that they have no equal in the labour consulting market‘.
‘Charles Chapman knows the business world first-hand, which allows him to strategically and comprehensively analyze the cases raised. This vision is not offered by any other firm. Mirna Wilches is characterized by her extensive knowledge not only in labour but also in administrative and commercial law. She always gives alternative solutions to the cases raised. She tirelessly defends her clients until the last instances, which provides great support for decision-making. Heimy Blanco Navarro is an excellent professional, an expert in labour judicial processes, her accompaniment and leadership makes the difference. Her argumentation is very successful.‘
‘They stand out favourably compared to other offices. At Chapman the attention is personalised’.
‘They are kept very up to date, they are very committed and they always guide with equity and justice. In particular, Mirna Wilches who guides the company in a very assertive and correct way, making it clearly known its rights and obligations, but also guides fairly and well from both parties (company and collaborators). Mirna is always willing, she is very committed and no matter the day or time, she always attends to the client when she is most needed’.
‘They know and understand the client’s organisation and assume the defence as if their own in each process’.
‘Charles Chapman and Mirna Wilches stand out for their innovative ideas, without losing objectivity regarding legal compliance. On the other hand, they are always present and attentive to any call from the company’.
- Succesfully represented Litoplas, which filed a special lawsuit in order to obtain permission to fire one of its workers, a union member with immunity from sacking; the team presented a guardianship action before the Supreme Court of Justice against a previous judicial decision and achieved its anullment.
- Advised Prodeco, Femsa Coca Cola, Grupo Coomeva and Fanalca, among others on structured downsizing and withdrawal business plans, requiring the design and implementation of retirement plans.
- Represented Consorcio Minero del Cesar in challenging a fine from the Ministry of Labour imposed after the company imposed a suspension of employment contracts.
- Succesfully represented Banco Itau Corpbanca against wage levelling demands presented as a result of the financial institution’s merger in recent years.
Among Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría's key attributes, clients highlight 'commitment' and 'deep analysis' of their business needs. The ten-strong practice group (all of whom are bilingual) is led by Héctor Hernández, an experienced litigator who combines knowledge of commercial, civil and labour law with handling union negotiations; and fellow co-head (promoted to partnership in January 2020) Carolina Porras, who is in charge of coordinating due diligence and has considerable expertise in leading complex collective bargaining negotiations. The practice offers full-service labour and employment advice and stands out for its accompaniment of new investors arriving in Colombia; the team’s commercial acumen is also a recurring theme.
‘They have a very good team’.
‘Martin Acero, Carolina Porras, Melisa Salazar, Santiago Fernández; all are committed and diligent professionals’.
‘The academic preparation and professional leadership of Carolina Porras and her work team benefits the interests of the companies’ in-house lawyers’.
‘They understand and deeply analyse the industry to which the company belongs. This, alongside the commitment to the needs and management of the agenda with the parent company, makes them stand out against other expert lawyers in labour law’.
Nokia Solutions and Networks
Abbott Laboratories de Colombia
Alexion Pharma Colombia
Cintra Servicios de Infraestructura / Consorcio Ruta del Cacao
C I Colombian Natural Resources I
Interamerican Development Bank (IDB)
American Bar Association (ABA)
Deere & Company
ATP Integridad y Corrosión
- Advised Nokia Solutions and Networks on the company’s acquisition of Alcatel, structuring the handling of personnel and the harmonisation of benefit packages provided to individual employees, as well as advising on the limited number of labour disputes that arose.
- Supported Abbott Laboratories de Colombia during the company’s acquisition of St. Jude Medical and Lafrancol, including, among other matters, employee harmonisation matters.
- Advised Alexion Pharma Colombia on an investigation carried out by the Ministry of Labour arising from a workplace harassment claim brought against the company; the investigation was closed by demonstrating that the company had fully complied with its workplace harassment prevention measures.
- Advised Cintra Servicios de Infraestructura and Consorcio Ruta del Cacao on the formalisation of a large number of employment agreements for positions that had historically been outsourced; the team also advised on immigration matters.
Put simply, Posse Herrera Ruiz's labour and immigration team 'are one step ahead of critical circumstances'. The 11-strong team, which also works out of the Barranquilla office, is led by 'outstanding' Carolina Camacho and has been busy recently with a caseload of collective agreements, disputes (including arbitration), collective dismissals, M&A transactions, immigration, and regulatory work. Camacho's broad practice encompasses advisory, transactional matters, collective negotiation and administrative disputes; and senior associate Hermes García handles day-to-day advisory as well as more strategic matters such as restructuring and labour policy design. The team was further strengthened with the arrival of senior associate Andrés Paz, formerly the director of DLA Piper's labour practice, in early 2019. Associates Andrea Ochoa and Natalia Villamil are also noted.
‘They quickly understand the customer’s needs, clients do not need to make lengthy explanations about what they require, and they are offered several possible options’.
‘They are fully available in critical moments. The client always feels accompanied. They are one step ahead of critical circumstances. Outstanding: Carolina Camacho, Andrea Ochoa and Natalia Villamil’.
- Advised Ascensores Schindler on their collective agreement negotiations with a large union, spanning several regional chapters including Bogota and Antioquia.
- Advised Reckitt Beckinser and Mead Johnson on labour matters associated with the integration of the companies’ formula milk businesses involving employee transfers; the team continues to advise Reckitt Beckinser on all day-to-day operational labour matters.
- Acted for Ascensores Schindler in an alleged breach of a collective agreement brought by the company’s union before the Ministry of Labour.
- Advised Placacentro Masisa on a labour restructuring process supposing the termination of all workers and subsequent litigation.
Boutique firm Escandón Abogados is best known for the expertise in collective bargaining processes of its senior partner, Alberto Escandón, who was one of the founding members of now defunct labour specialist firm AESCA. An expert in negotiation strategy, he has successfully directed more than 140 collective processes locally and regionally. Also handling investigations before the state's social security entity, UGPP, the 12-strong team offers comprehensive labour, employment and social security advice. The practice is co-led by María Claudia Escandón, who heads up the litigation practice, Juan Fernando Escandón, who manages the consultancy area, and María Jimena Escandón, who has experience in due diligence and collective bargaining negotiations, among other matters.
‘Their knowledge of the client, availability and willingness to attend to requests makes the firm stand out from others in the sector’.
‘The human quality and good treatment is an important differential for us. Especially the attention of María Claudia Escandón’.
Grupo Hotelero GHL
Santa Anita Anita Napoles
Organización Roa Florhuila – ORF
Palmas del Cesar
Aeropuertos de Oriente
Alcanos de Colombia
SAC The Colombian Society of Agricultures
Maritime Port of Santa Marta
- Advised Palmas del Cesar on the collective bargaining agreement process with the company’s union.
- Advised Cosecha Manuelita (Grupo Manuelita) in the collective bargaining agreement process with the company’s union.
- Represented Alcanos de Colombia on an investigation carried out by the state entity in charge of social security payments, the UGPP.
Pilonieta Alvarez Abogados Laboralistas
Housing a 50-strong team, Pilonieta Alvarez Abogados Laboralistas primarily serves the northern region of Santander and Colombia’s main cities from its base in Bucaramanga. Led by founding partners Eduardo Piloneta and Patricia Álvarez, both 'great professionals' who are 'ready to attend any requirements', the firm is best known for its strong skill-sets in labour relations and litigation up to the highest courts; it is also a popular choice for support on compliance and audit issues.
‘Eduardo Pilonienta and Patricia Alvarez Ribero are great professionals and ready to attend to the requirements and doubts that clients have. They have extensive knowledge of labour law and social security, looking far superior to other firms in the city of Bucaramanga’.
‘We value that all the consultancies are considered and treated as important for which they give an effective response in a short time’.
‘Service and timeliness’.
‘Patricia Alvarez, knows a lot always solves queries appropriately and objectively, does follow-up and accompaniment, is very aware of everything Dr. Eduardo Pilonieta, knows a lot, is practical and explains very well so that one understands easily’.
‘They are reliable personnel who use all their knowledge to resolve the doubts and situations of the company. Always under the highest standards of quality and humanity’.
‘It is very important for us that they to go beyond the consultation, generating a greater and very possible context, which has been a great contribution because it allows us to visualize in a more holistic way the process that is being reviewed’.
Instituto del Corazon de Bucaramanga
Industrias Alimenticias Baez
Inversiones de Transportadores el Sur – Sotrasur
Serrano Gomez Construcciones
Bloques y Adoquines de Santander
Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito San Miguel (Coofisam)
Compañía de Almacenamiento y Logística
Distribuidora Panela Dulcesita
- Successfully represented Clinica Chicamocha in a suit that escalated to the Supreme Court of Justice, where the client was acquitted from all claims.
- Advised Agrícola Magroño in a collective bargaining negotiation with a union with over 300 affiliated company employees.
Qunitero y Quintero Asesores 'extensive experience and flexibility to adapt' are among the qualities appreciated by clients of the specialist boutique, which climbs in the tables due to the depth of its expertise and an impressive caseload. Led by Saida Quintero and Ivan Quintero, the 23-strong practice delivers strategic advice on labour issues with a focus on outsourcing processes, the implementation of labour restructuring policies, collective bargaining, labour relationship formalisation and collective agreements. The team also includes a second line of experienced senior associates including director of consulting and social security matters Álvaro Martínez; director of special projects Katherine Bello; and Dina López, director of the collective practice.
‘Extensive experience and flexibility to adapt to organisational needs. They have the ability to understand the company’s needs and seek solutions within the legal framework’.
‘They are human, close, accessible and with a great cost-to-benefit ratio‘.
‘We value their extensive experience in our hotel business. The firm’s lawyers are always available to answer any questions and lend their support when requested’.
‘Saida Quintero is a benchmark in the market. She has an adequate balance for handling the subjects and is always super available’.
‘We appreciate that they propose alternatives to the case being consulted on, weighing the risk in each of them. I especially highlight the management of Saida Quintero, Álvaro Martínez and Katherine Bello’.
‘Closeness with the client and conceptual and technical security. Saida Quintero knows not only the sector but our organisation, she understands and advises on that basis. Alvaro Martínez has experience and generates trust. Lawyers in general show a lot of knowledge and warmth’.
Caja de Compensacion Familiar Cafam
Pepsico Alimentos Colombia
Tejidos Sintenticos de Colombia
Otis Elevator Colombia
- Represented Quala on the sale of its cleaning products business to Unilever in Colombia; working in conjunction with Unilever on the employee transfer process, involving four countries.
- Advised Quala on seeking the lifting of union official employee impunity, after said individual began a distribution business with a conflict of interest with her employment; the court authorised the dismissal of the union leader.
- The firm successfully negotiated with eight unions from Unidad Administrativa Especial de la Aeronautica Civil (AEROCIVIL), averting the risk of disruption to aviation and air traffic control.
Boutique Scola Abogados impresses both with the depth and timeliness of its advice, which gives clients 'peace of mind'. The 23-strong practice is led by four specialists and has expertise in contractual matters, remuneration and compensation benefits, M&A, collective labour agreements, immigration procedures and professional regulations, among other matters. Practice heads Diego Felipe Valdivieso (labour, social security and immigration) and Nicolás Rico (consulting, special affairs and unions negotiations) are the key names, along with fellow co-heads Joaquín Rico, who focuses on social security matters and Pablo Hernández Hussein, who leads the litigation area. Notably, as of January 2020, the firm has also opened an administrative law practice under the direction of Iván Carvajal.
‘The Scola team is very professional and has very good customer service. We have the certainty they are the best allies’.
‘It is a firm with a great knowledge of labour law and its legal advice is very timely and gives us peace of mind’.
Frontera Energy Colombia (Colombia)
Hidrocarburos Del Casanare
Corporación La Hacienda Club
Petróleos Sud Americanos Sucursal Colombia
Clorox De Colombia
CI Industrias Humcar
- Advised Frontera Energy on the legal defence strategy for labour and social security matters for more than 64 processes with the company’s employees; and providing new strategies to deal with the different issues that arose during the day-to-day operation of the client.
- Advised on the immigratory project for the modernization of Hidrocarburos Del Casanar plant, structuring the process by which over 35 foreigners, from multiple third-party companies, obtained their work visas.
- Led a plan for Laboratorios Bussie to modify the organisational structure of the client, including wages, social security, policies and employees compensation schemes.
Cortés, Romero & Asociados Ltda
Boutique Cortés, Romero & Asociados Ltda, a new entry in the rankings, is valued for 'generating tranquillity' with a 'systematic work scheme that ensures that no detail is lost in the processes they carry out'. The broad practice, which is co-led by founding partners José Luís Cortés and Catalina Romero (both specialists in labour and social security law), is experienced across a wide range of permanent advisory and due diligence consultancy, litigation and collective bargaining matters. The nine-strong practice provides advice to major clients, as well as small and medium-sized companies from a broad array of industries. Fellow practice co-head María Victoria Romero, also noted, focuses on conflict resolution alternatives.
‘The team is made up of lawyers who have great responsibility and professionalism. This generates tranquillity for us as clients when it comes to receiving their services, it is an office in which they make you feel part of it’.
‘They are fast, efficient. They use excellent and modern communication channels. Outstanding partners: Catalina Romero, José Luís Cortés, María Victoria Romero’.
‘The Cortés Romero y Asociados team is made up of highly trained professionals, with extensive knowledge of labour law. The most outstanding ability is reflected in their experience as corporate consultants and in their work method; they have an organised and systematic work scheme that ensures that no detail is lost in the processes they carry out’.
‘Their differentiating feature is that they not only get involved in the process as such, but after having carried out their work, they follow up and make sure that everything goes in the best way. They are professionals, strategists, sensible and very reliable. Catalina Romero, José Luis Cortés and associate, María Victoria Romero are recommended‘.
B-Secure (Softweb Asesores)
Clinica Jose Rivas
Constructora Parque Central
Industria Inversiones y Servicios Delrio
Expreso Andino De Carga
- Advised Everis on the development and execution of a retirement plan for 200 workers, with no resulting conflicts or labour claims generated.
- Succesfully represented Ecopetrol in two cases for the reinstatement of trade union members whose work contracts had been terminated.
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas
The stand-alone practice at full-service firm Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas has been led by Lorena Arámbula since its inception. Drawing from her previous experience as a corporate lawyer, Arámbula leads a five-strong team, which provides both comprehensive day-to-day advisory as well as transactional support and handling litigation for a healthily mixed client roster of local and international clients. Up-and-coming associate Laura Mateus - who focuses on general advisory, labour litigation and immigration - provides key support. However, fellow associate Juanita Vera left in November 2019 to undertake her LLM.
- Provided local counsel to Organto Foods in a labour due diligence process, as well as ongoing advice on labour-related matters for the acquisition of Medicannabis.
- Legal advisory regarding termination alternatives as a result of the closing of the client’s operations in Colombia, along with preparation of settlement agreements and negotiation management.
Guerrero & Asociados Asesores Laborales
Established in 2011, Guerrero & Asociados Asesores Laborales has gained prominence as of late with the handling of high-profile lawsuits on behalf of large domestic companies such as Avianca. Indeed, advising on collective bargaining agreements with trade union and collective organisations of non-unionised workers, as well as handling negotiations in strikes and arbitration tribunals, represents the bulk of the practice. Founding partner Juan Manuel Guerrero leads the 12-strong team, which recently reinforced at associate level with Ángela María Barreto joining from Posse Herrera Ruiz.
‘They are a work team studious of labour regulations in Colombia, they are very strong, their concepts demonstrate the greatest professionalism, they are a young, dynamic team, and that facilitates progress in the processes we handle, adjusting our business needs to Colombian legislation and generating solutions from the legal point of view. That is why they are far superior to other firms‘.
‘It is definitely up-to-date and very familiar with the legal framework, and in a few cases where it is new to them, they study the subject very well, with judgement and generate solutions and clear concepts. Juan Manuel Guerrero, founding partner of the firm, is recommended‘.
ZX Ventures (Bogotá Beer Company)
Inustria Nacional de Gaseosas (Coca – Cola)
Grupo SEB Colombia
- Represented Avianca in the process of multiple actions of protection filed by the ‘ACDAC’ and its affiliates, seeking to ensure the cessation of activities carried out by this union
- Advised Diaco (Gerdau Group) in the design and preparation of the negotiation strategy of the list of requests presented by the trade union organization SINTRAMETAL.
Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) impresses clients for being 'up-to-date on the latest in labour issues' in addition to the group's 'availability and friendliness'. Practice head Patricia Vergara, who 'thinks outside the box to provide creative solutions', leads a five-strong team which has particular expertise in issues including the analysis of labour legal effects derived from commercial transactions, the implications of executing employment contracts in Colombia (and homologation of labour policies), disciplinary investigations, high-level labour negotiations (particularly regarding retirement), and compensation schemes, among other services. Also noted, senior associate Mauricio Montealegre provides key support, particularly on individual and collective labour law, social security and labour litigation.
‘Availability, friendliness, up-to-date on the latest in labour issues. There is always an answer from them, with a clear concept of what can or cannot be done’.
‘Companies can work comprehensively with the team at the time of reviewing a specific topic. Mauricio Montealegre is always willing to help, is available, offers clear concepts on the issues and is an excellent professional and person’.
‘Patricia Vergara thinks outside the box to provide creative solutions to an industry where labour issues are critical. It is not based on that traditional labour practice that does not contribute to the technology industry. This adaptability makes her support sought after in whatever is necessary, including on regulatory issues to be worked out with the regulators’.
‘Availability, response times, reliability.’
Exxon Mobil de Colombia
Japan Tobacco International
Didi Mobility Information Technology
Cofco International Colombia
Bank of America
Metro de Bogotá
- Advised Exxon Mobil on the process of normalising Colombia’s ExxonMobil pension liability within the process of selling ExxonMobil de Colombia’s shares to Terpel, a matter requiring Superintendence of Companies’ authorisation.
- Assisted Marriot International during the negotiation with Hecol and Alianza Fiduciaria in order to create a safe legal environment for the operation of ‘Playa Dormida Dos’ hotel and apartments.
Holland & Knight's labour, employment and benefits practice is led by Vicente Umaña, who has held senior positions supervising labour relations in Colombia and regionally at Citibank and IBM, and has extensive experience developing and implementing labour legal strategies for corporations, managing relationships with Colombian labour unions, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements. Focusing on labour relations, senior counsel Isabella Gandini - who formerly led Norton Rose Fulbright's labour practice - is also a key member of the six-strong team. Associates Jimena Nieto, Camilo García and Carolina Castro provide relevant support.
Crepes & Waffles
Inversiones Dama Salud – Sonria
Asociación Colombiana de Medios de Información (AMI)
Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas (FLAR)
Braserv Petroleo (Colombia)
- Advised Linde Colombia on its day-to-day individual and collective labour matters; the team also assisted the company with matters before administrative authorities.
- Advised Arthur J Gallagher on day-to-day issues related to variable compensation programmes, hiring schemes, cross training programmes, social security payments and other matters.
Lloreda Camacho & Co.'s labour, employment and immigration practice offers comprehensive advice, handling the labour aspects - due diligence, employee transfers and the like - of transactional operations, as well as immigration issues and litigation. With ample experience planning labour structures for the development of clients' businesses, practice head Enrique Álvarez is particularly noted for his negotiation skills and knowledge of pension matters; he leads a four-strong team that includes associates Rafael Abuchaibe and Angélica Pico.
Johnson & Johnson
The Ford Foundation
McCann Erickson Corporation
Cardif Colombia Seguros Generales
EFG Private Bank
- Successfully acted for Boehringer Ingelheim in an annulment and restoration of rights action against a resolution issued by the the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF).
- Advised Edgewell on developing a hiring structure for use via a third-party vendor.
Tannus & Asociados
A team 'that is willing to go the extra mile to meet clients' needs', Tannus & Asociados draws very positive reviews both for its key expertise in immigration processes, as well as for its personalised and attentive service. Established in 2016 by the global labour mobility-focused Rodrigo Tannus, the boutique has gained prominence for the structuring of employment and immigration schemes that mitigate contingencies, not only for domestic companies and multinationals operating in Colombia, but also regionally and, on occasions, worldwide.
‘Very knowledgeable team that is willing to go the extra mile to meet clients’ needs. They have come in early and stayed late and trouble-shot many issues for us all with a very positive attitude’.
‘Rodrigo Tannus is our main contact and is outstanding in his knowledge and client service. The best attorney we’ve worked with in Colombia.‘
‘They transmit peace of mind when delivering immigration processes for the firm to take care of. They assume the process from beginning to end, trying to simplify it. They make our day-to-day easier‘.
‘The quality of the personalised service and the fact that Rodrigo Tannus is always available and aware of all cases. What we like about Tannus is that it is a firm that takes the time to get to know its clients regardless of the size of the company’.
‘Rodrigo Tannus and Milton Fonseca always have availability to attend to queries with prompt responses, providing effective solutions regarding immigration labour law matters’.
Universidad Catolica de Colombia
Ingenieria Civil y Telecomunicaciones Zeytec
- Provided advice to Sanofi regarding all global mobility requirements, including consultancy as well as undertaking all processes.
- Assisted Borets with all its employment and immigration-related matters, including drafting agreements and immigration permits.
Serving domestic and international companies, M&P Abogados' labour department has a preventive approach, advising companies on labour managing processes and due diligence, as well as undertaking litigation. José Darío Acevedo, an immigration lawyer, leads the eight-strong team, supported by associate Juan Fernando Rico on the litigation front.
Grupo Mesofoods (Franquicias y Concesiones / Restcafe)
Informática &Tecnología Stefanini
Grupo Perenco (Perenco Colombia / Perenco Oil And Gas Colombia)
Fundación Hematologógica Colombia
Implantes y Sistemas Ortopédicos
- Delivered comprehensive consultancy on the process of a management change due to employer substitution in the acquisition of a coffee production business unit.
Contexto Legal S.A.'s employment practice primarily advises companies on their collective bargaining processes and union matters. The five-strong group is led by Guillermo Villegas Ortega, who has a lengthy track record in the sector complemented by his experience in M&A; the team also handles the development of internal regulations, management of recruitment processes and representation in courts and before administrative entities. The Medellín-based full-service firm has notable expertise advising companies from the industrial sector.
Laboratorio Médico Echavarría
Mane Sucursal Colombia
Compañía Colombiana de Alimentos CALCO
International Flavor and Fragances
- Advised Moldes Medellín on a union negotiation in order to enter into a new round of collective bargaining.
CMS Rodríguez-Azuero's labour and employment practice received positive feedback soon after formalising the integration of boutique Escobar García Abogados, with clients highlighting 'their extensive knowledge in pension law'. Adriana Escobar, who has experience as an in-house lawyer in pension and financial entities, leads the eight-strong practice that offers comprehensive advice, including representation before authorities. Also brought over from the specialised firm and bringing relevant experience are associate director Juan Carlos González, a litigator handling disputes up to the Supreme Court of Justice, and associate director Iván Jiménez, focusing on human resources and labour and industrial relations activities.
‘They are recommended for their extensive knowledge in pension law. They deliver personalised accompaniment not only to the company, but also to workers or former workers in their pension processes‘.
‘Adriana Escobar García and associate director Iván Jiménez are always ready to accompany the processes, with unbeatable attention and sense of urgency. Great strategic capacity to analyze cases and prepare practical legal proposals that are easy to implement‘.
GESNEXT (IBM Company)
Productos Alimenticios el Recreo
Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Bahía
Publicis Groupe Company
Andrade Gutierrez Engenharia
With a team that is 'committed and knowledgeable about the issues they work on', DG&A-Abogados' broad labour and migration practice serves an industrial, commercial and service-sector client base - increasingly, of late, including technology companies such as Glovo - across a wide range of consultancy, litigation and collective bargaining matters. Adriana Martínez has 'vast knowledge' in the sector and leads a four-strong team which also includes noteworthy associate Karin Rojas.
‘The team is fantastic. They are always available to listen to the needs of the company, they work in unity, thus, if one of the lawyers is not available, any other is in a position to assist us, since they are 100% updated on our issues‘.
‘Adriana Martínez has vast knowledge of labour matters, which creates security for us when making company decisions. She is versatile and has a very clear business sense. Despite being the partner in charge of the practice, she is always involved in the matters‘.
‘DG&A has a committed team, knowledgeable about the issues they work on, and at the same time has great knowledge of their clients, their processes, needs and particularities, which allows them to provide a great service’.
‘Adriana Martínez, for her strategic vision and Karin Rojas, for her qualities as a litigator’.
Outsourcing Informatic Services
Fit for all
Indega (Industria nacional de gaseosas)
Desarrollos y Proyectos Business Group
Eventos Efectivos y Producciones
- Permanent advisory to IBM Colombia regarding labour matters – particularly regarding pension matters – as well as labour litigation.
DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán's 'timely responses, technical knowledge and efficient strategies' attract praise from clients who also value the practice for getting to know the business they represent. Led by practice director Diana Zuleta, the four-strong area advises on labour legislation and the management of labour relations, in particular as a result of corporate and M&A activities, as well as undertaking judicial and administrative litigation. Associate Diego Durán provides key support, while managing partner Camilo Martínez, who leans in to the practice as required, is also noted.
‘Excellent service in the practice of labour law’.
‘Timely responses, technical knowledge and efficient strategies’.
‘They know us thoroughly and offer a comprehensive service to the family and the business’.
- Advised Vice Colombia on the structuring and implementation of a collective retrenchment plan for a significant number of the company’s employees.
Garrigues' practice has a focus on contentious issues and risk prevention; it notably handles several multinational clients’ local employment litigation portfolios. The team also has experience in M&A support matters and collective bargaining. Senior associate Carlos Silva is experienced in terminations, collective bargaining, visa and immigration advice, and social security and pension matters. He leads the four-strong practice with support from commercial partner Ignacio Londoño. The team was further strengthened by the June 2019 arrival of (Spain-qualified) labour specialist senior associate Nicolás Clark from the firm's Seville office.
Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas (FLAR)
Secretaría Ejecutiva del Convenio Andrés Bello (SECAB)
Beat Ride App
Mapfre Asistencia Compañía Internacional De Seguros Y Reaseguros
A Port Operaciones de Colombia
Dragados IBE (Colombia)
Ilunion Lavandería Colombia
- Assisted Rosen Colombia with several matters including representing the company in various lawsuits and constitutional actions, as well as handling the termination of contract of the company’s human resources director.
With a multidisciplinary approach, Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados' labour and employment practice provides comprehensive support, particularly in relation to transactional and M&A processes. In such a capacity, the eight-strong practice led by Joe Bonilla recently advised One World Pharma on business legal structuring which included employment and immigration matters. Bonilla, who has noteworthy experience of sports law, has used this to develop a niche speciality in sports-related employment matters. The group also has strength in handling employment-related dispute resolution cases.
Azul & Blanco Millonarios FC
Monster Energy Colombia
Soldaduras West Arco
Aucerna (3ESI Colombia)
América de Cali
Southern Graphic Systems Colombia (SGSCO)
One World Pharma
- Successfully represented Soldaduras Megriweld in a lawsuit derived from the terms of an employment contract.
Parra Rodríguez Abogados
Parra Rodríguez Abogados' labour and immigration team has 'a 360-degree view on matters' when advising clients, demonstrating 'understanding' of the companies’ business structures and hiring models. The practice handles individual labour law and social security, the negotiation and termination of contracts, due diligence, support on immigration matters and requests for working visas, and legal representation in judicial suits, among other matters. Senior associate Nataly Traslaviña directs a team that also benefits from the experience and practice of senior partners Álvaro Parra and Bernardo Rodríguez.
‘They are recommended for their timely responses and understanding of our business or hiring model. The attention is excellent and compared to other firms, the opportunity too‘.
‘They have a 360-degree view on matters, showing efficiency and opportunity. Álvaro Parra with his knowledge of tax law, makes the opinions on para-fiscality issues very timely and very good. Bernardo Rodríguez is the leading partner with great experience and Nataly Traslaviña is also great‘.
‘The team is very competent and professional. It is very up-to-date on local labour regulations and provides a very effective accompaniment to the queries we have had as a company’.
‘Nataly Translaviña is highlighted for her knowledge and agility when answering questions’.
- Successfully represented Exelina Salamanca against a pension fund.
Cavelier Abogados' practice draws positive reviews for its proactivity in the provision of advice that focuses on strategic issues regarding the management of employees. In a recent addition to the team's service offering, the firm launched a follow-up system regarding obligations on health, safety and environmental matters. Martha Bonett and associate Eliana Arellano, a litigator, lead the six-strong team, which also has notable experience in legal obligations regarding expatriate staff.
‘The Cavelier team is truly amazing. They have always collaborated with us in everything we have needed and have proactively sent us a lot of useful information. Our company operates in different countries and Cavelier’s service has really stood out above the rest’.
‘With John Romero and Patricia Guzmán we have worked since 2016, always with excellent treatment, making us feel accompanied in a country that is not ours, with a commitment and a quality of service above the average. In particular Patricia has been in the details that we have needed, always ready and focused on our needs. Cavelier cares about selecting members for his team with particular characteristics and maintains an outstanding organisational culture‘.
Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados
Operating from Medellín, Correa Merino Agudelo Abogados advises national and international companies initiating operations in Colombia on matters including the establishment of internal work regulations and design and implementation of internal labour policies for hiring and remuneration, among other matters, as well as handling related litigation and representation before the authorities. Working closely with the firm's M&A and venture capital transactions area, practice head Darío Ramírez has broad experience across the range of labour and employment, social security, and immigration law, and leads a four-strong team.
Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico
- Successfully represented Grupo Phoenix in a variety of judicial processes seeking the recognition and payment of different economic benefits to former employees, and that were sought as a consequence of the termination of their work contracts.