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Colombia > Projects > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Brigard & Urrutia is recognized for providing legal advice to both national and international banks and investors in the development of complex and breakthrough infrastructure projects. Carlos Umaña, Manuel Quinche, Carlos Urrutia and Carlos Fradique-Méndez co-lead the 25-strong practice, which acted as local counsel to the lenders on the Concesión Autopista Conexión Pacífico 2 toll-road project, comprising the development, design, construction, improvement, rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of the toll-road and its ancillary facilities; the advice included the structuring of the local security interest package and the review, drafting and negotiation of the Colombian law documents. Other highlights in 2017 included advising the Departamento Nacional de Planeación with the structuring of a $266m public private partnership (PPP) for the construction and maintenance of educational infrastructure in the cities of Soacha and Ibagué. Itaú Corpbanca, Goldman Sachs, International Development Bank, Credit Suisse and BBVA are among the team’s clients. Infrastructure and public utilities group director Claudia Navarro and associate Guillermo Tejeiro are also highlighted.

Durán & Osorio Abogados Asociados attracts praise as ‘the strength of the firm is the structuring of infrastructure projects with the state, which gives us peace of mind’. Moreover, ‘the service is very good’ and the team establishes ‘a direct relationship and gives an almost immediate response to the company’s needs’. Álvaro Durán and Jorge Gabriel Taboada (‘a brilliant lawyer with great knowledge’), head the practice group. Àlvaro Gasca’s ‘great capacity for analysis and knowledge of the environment’ is also noted. The firm was selected as a part of a consortium, to lead the legal structuring of the project for the construction, operation and maintenance of Bogota’s first Metro Line, a $7.3bn flagship city project. The practice was also selected for the structuring of a PPP project for the construction, provision and maintenance of six public hospitals in the city of Bogotá. Carlos Andrés Sánchez is also a ‘highly regarded projects attorney’.

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA)’ clients highlight the practice’s ‘local knowledge on concession contracts and the necessary processes to obtain permits’. The firm’s sizeable department, with 36 layers including six partners, is negotiating the financing for the development of the Rio Magdalena concession contract (one of the most important in the country), structuring and negotiating local and international tranches for the financing of the project, as well as, providing support in the preparation and negotiation of the EPC contract. Other mandates include advising Macquarie Capital in a shareholding acquisition (valued at $100m) involving Unión Vial de Sur, concessionaire of the Pasto – Rumichaca PPP toll-road project. Head of the administrative & constitutional law and infrastructure practices, Paola Larrahondo and associate Felipe Mariño are recommended. Firm senior partners Ricardo Fandiño, Germán Villamil, Paula Samper and Patricia Arrázola all participate extensively in the sector and are names to note.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uríahas a deep team and is always available’. Juan Fernando Gaviria, ‘who has a great commercial point of view and great depth of legal knowledge’, and Jorge Di Terlizzi, who is also ‘highly recommended’, co-lead the 18-strong team. The practice acted as counsel to Goldman Sachs, as structuring bank, on the financing of a PPP for the construction, rehabilitation, improvement, operation, and maintenance of the 550km toll road concession Conexión Antioquia – Bolívar; it will be the first private initiative fourth generation project to be financed in Colombia. The team is also advising Abertis on the evaluation of and negotiation process for the acquisition of a controlling interest in three different SPVs holding 4G concession projects. Associates Carolina Duque and Carlos Padilla are also noted. Other clients include Inter-American Development Bank, JP Morgan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Acciona Infraestructuras.

Posse Herrera Ruiz’s areas of expertise focus mainly on projects from industry sectors such as infrastructure, transportation, power energy, hydrocarbons and telecommunications. ‘Very well-known and respected’ figures Alessia Abello and José Alejandro Torres co-lead the 15-strong department, which is advising the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá on the contractual arrangements, legal implications and financing of the implementation of a traffic congestion charge in Bogota. The practice is also assisting POMA on the bid to design, build and install a mass transit cable car system in the city of Pereira. In another highlight, the firm advised Empresa Metropolitana Metro de Quito on the structuring, commercial implications and contractual options for the implementation of the operation and maintenance of the Quito Metro Line 1 Project. Jaime Herrera, Paola Aldana and Sebastián Lora are also key members of the practice. Conseciones Via Del Sur, Suez International, Cepsa and Risk Ventures are among other clients.

Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados is experienced in the structuring and development of projects, infrastructure, public contracts and public procurement law. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta, Álvaro Mantilla and Adriana Espinosa co-head the eight-strong practice which provides permanent legal assistance to Aerocali regarding the performance of the concession contract signed with Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura and the EPC contracts executed by the client. The team is also advising Profit Banca de Inversión on legal matters related to the Fonade project, an innovative mass-transportation system known as Automatic People Mover, which will be constructed and operated in the city of Rionegro, Antioquia.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S. attracts praise for having ‘a multidisciplinary team – which is a great advantage for the structuring of projects, since they are always complex operations in which it is useful and necessary to have the support of the whole team’. Co-head of practice Claudia Benavides represents clients in infrastructure dispute resolution matters, whilst fellow practice head Alejandro Mesa, ‘a great lawyer, with very good leadership and management skills’, led the team that advised Graña & Montero and its Colombian subsidiary, Morelco, on the preparation of its successful proposal to the Colombian power transmission network regulator (UPME) to build a $100m transmission line in the province of Guajira.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’s team is appreciated for ‘the availability of the partners in charge of the project and their detailed knowledge of the transaction’. The team acts on behalf of major multinational clients and represent them before governmental bodies in governmental procurement and on the entire life cycle of their projects. Ximena Zuleta, valued for ‘her responsiveness, in addition to her ability to debug complex problems in simple descriptions and propose practical recommendations’ leads the practice with senior partner Bernardo Cárdenas who has considerable activity in the sector. The practice has also benefited from the experience in project financing of energy experts Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright. Recent matters include advising a construction company on the potential acquisition of a 4G toll road concession. Acciona, TV Azteca, Red Kite Finance and Davivienda are among other clients.

Highly specialised in infrastructure, Castro Leiva Rendón Abogados SAS has been gaining experience in the financing side after obtaining results in the structuring and execution of infrastructure projects, thereby allowing the firm to accompany clients throughout the entire project life-cycle. Founding partners Marcela Castro and José Ignacio Leiva lead the seven-strong practice, which acted as legal advisor to the concessionaire and the sponsors in the financing process for Concesión Pacífico Tres, undertaken in both local and foreign financial markets via a senior secured notes issue (in USD and UVR) and long-term loans facilities. The team had previously advised the concessionaire in the public bid process for the award of the concession contract under a PPP scheme. Other main clients include Ashmore Management Company, Grupo Metrobus, Concesión Alto Magdalena and Concesión Costera Cartagena Barranquilla.

Widely recommended, Garrigues’s team is praised as having ‘availability and the capacity of understanding the project’s concerns’ as well as ‘always providing clear advice and effective solutions’. Omar Martinez, has ‘extensive knowledge’ in the infrastructure sector, as does recommended principal associate Francisco Noguera, who are the key names for project finance along with Ignacio Londoño. The department, which was strengthened with the arrivals of Andrés Ordoñez as counsel, and Natalia Auli as senior associate, is currently advising Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional and Empresa Metro de Bogotá on structuring the financing of the first line of Bogota’s planned metro. Other highlights for 2017 included on-going advice to China Harbour Company regarding the development of the Autopista al Mar 2, a $517m 4G project. Clients include Fondo de Deuda Senior para Infraestructura en Colombia CAF-AM Ashmore, Banco Davivienda, BlackRock and Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional.

With the knowledge and expertise derived from its experience in the highly regulated energy and telecommunications sectors, Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados works particularly on infrastructure for the health and aviation sectors. Recently the practice has been advising a provider of airport intelligent solutions in their bidding processes with the administrative authorities. Founding partner Diego Muñoz Tamayo and Felipe Trías are the key names.

Norton Rose Fulbrighthas the great advantage of having affiliates all over the world and this facilitates the management of matters of an international nature’. The practice led by Luis Carlos Neira delivers ‘excellent service; the answers are always in time’. Neira, together with head of public law, Pablo Jaramillo (‘a professional who understands the needs of the company’), are advising a foreign financial fund which is currently looking to invest in Colombia’s transport sector. Agropecuaria Cima, Puertos, Inversiones y Obras, Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Solo, Air Liquide and CODAD are among the team’s other clients.

CMS Rodríguez-Azuero advises clients investing in infrastructure projects across Colombia. Experienced in risk analysis, the team advises public and private entities on the structuring, design and implementation of infrastructure projects, as well as on their participation in public and private tenders. Co-head of practice Daniel Rodríguez is advising Conecta Caribe – as sponsor of a PPP project to build a new airport in Cartagena de Indias – with the design of the contracts regarding the feasibility stage of the PPP, the design of the necessary trust structures and with other projects to be developed around the airport, as well as with the land acquisition process. Northrop Grumman, Promotora ACR and Inter-American Development Bank are also clients.

Godoy & Hoyos Abogados SAS’s experience includes public and private contracting, public and private partnerships, project-financing agreements, engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) agreements and environmental matters. The practice group, led by Jaime Moya, is serving as legal advisor to 4G PPP project Plan Desarrollo Vial al Mar, which included assisting in the negotiation of the terms and conditions to obtain short, medium and long-term financing for the project in both the local and international markets.

Specialised in infrastructure, new entrant to the ranking Coral Delgado & Asociados advises on the structuring, execution and auditing of projects, especially transportation, road and port infrastructure, and public services. The 10-strong practice is led by Javier Delgado and Alfredo Coral, and recently advised Consorcio ETSA and the National Infrastructure Agency in a legal audit of the 4G Accesos Norte Bogotá concession contract for a private initiative without public resources.

DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán’s practice group has notable experience in local projects, advising authorities, national and international lenders and sponsors, including some participants in both 3G and 4G road projects. Managing partner Camilo Martínez heads the practice, with Felipe Quintero, who joined the firm from Garrigues in early 2018, also a key name due to his extensive experience in leading on important infrastructure projects. The practice is currently acting as legal counsel to Sociedad Concesionaria Nueva Vía al Mar – Corficolombiana on the financial closing of the 4G Chirajará-Loboguerrero highway.

Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos, also a new entry, is especially focused on the structuring and execution of transport infrastructure. Co-head of the practice, José Vicente Guzmán ‘is the person who knows the most about transport regulations’. The team is acting as legal advisor to ExxonMobil de Colombia on the structuring and execution of the port concessions and port concession contract for a lubricant shipment port with the National Infrastructure Agency.

A new entry to the projects ranking Holland & Knight has been increasingly active on the project finance side of 4G road infrastructure projects. Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional is the firm’s primary sector client. Norberto Quintana and Enrique Gomez-Pinzon are the key practice contacts.

Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s team works closely with the banking and finance practice group, providing an integrated approach to government procurement and infrastructure. Answers are given in a ‘timely manner’ and demonstrate ‘knowledge of the discussed areas’. Andres Hidalgo leads the practice, with assistance from senior associate Carlos Carvajal, who is noted. The team is currently advising KMA Construcciones and Ortiz Construcciones on the structuring of a PPP toll road concession in the northern part of Colombia.

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