Offering ‘a comprehensive service of the highest quality‘, Alta QIL+4 Abogados has in-depth experience in civil, commercial, criminal and constitutional litigation, as well as a growing arbitration practice. Over the last few years, the team has been particularly active in high-profile and sensitive constitutional disputes in the mining and energy sectors, and in local and international energy-related arbitrations. As part of its pro bono practice, the firm also works with the Vance Centre in New York on immigration cases. Alejandro Solares, who was promoted to partner in January 2021, leads the department, supported by senior partners Marcos Ibargüen and José Quiñones (who has notable strength in tax disputes). Among the associates, Paola Haase is a standout for her experience in amparo actions regarding mining and energy projects, while Luis Pedro Martinez has expertise in white-collar crime and financial criminal litigation. Since publication, Haase has departed the firm for Dentons Muñoz.
Dispute resolution in Guatemala
Alejandro Solares Morales
‘The team offers a comprehensive service of the highest quality. Their combination of technical knowledge in areas such as energy law and litigation skills results in a service that is of great value for clients.’
‘They stand out for their understanding of the international legal environment.’
Minera San Rafael
Contact Center Distribution Service
Chevron Petroleum Company
British American Tobacco
Empresa de Ingenieros Guatemaltecos (EIG)
Renace (Corporación Multi-Inversiones)
Servicios Administrativos Zona Pradera (Corporación Multi-Inversiones)
Energía Limpia de Guatemala (Grupo Terra)
Uno Guatemala (Grupo Terra)
Ternium Internacional Guatemala
Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala (Bancolombia)
Grupo Frito Lay (PESICO)
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Young & Rubicam and Wunderman Latam (WPP Group)
Aceros de Guatemala
Belluno (Taco Bell)
Créditos Centroamericanos Aktúa
Asociación de Cogeneradores Independientes (ACI)
IDC Asesores Financieros
Asociación de Generadores Renovables (AGER)
Anacapri (Grupo Onyx)
Jaguar Energy Guatemala
Maquinas Exactas (MAXA)
Servicios Industriales y Agrícolas (SIDASA)
Transactel (Grupo Tellus)
Asociación Nacional de Generadores
Gasolineras Don Arturo
Desarrollos Inmobiliarios Iruña
Cámara de Industria de Guatemala
Cadefarma (Farmacias Herdez)
Administradora Casa Nova
Administración de Edificios (ADIMSA)
Comercializadora de Energía para el Desarrollo
- Acting for Renace (the energy division of Corporación Multi-Inversiones) in long-running constitutional litigation, stemming from an amparo action brought by a representative of the Indigenous community against the Ministry of Energy and Mines under ILO Convention 169, seeking to revoke Renace’s licence to operate four hydroelectric power plants.
- Defending Naturaceites in a multi-party claim brought by the Guatemalan tax authorities, alleging tax fraud arising out of the merger of multiple agricultural companies.
- Handling complex debt collection cases for Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala (Bancolombia), the third largest bank in Guatemala.
Arias has ‘great experience‘ in litigation, with a broad practice spanning real estate, IP, labour, tax and telecoms-related disputes. The team has also been highly active recently in arbitration, both national and international, particularly in relation to commercial disputes and international investment cases. A major regional player, the firm counts multinational companies, government entities, financial institutions and high-profile individuals among its clients. Mario René Archila, whose extensive dispute resolution experience includes acting as an arbitrator, leads the team; Luis Fernando Zelada, who was promoted to senior counsel in April 2021, is also a key contact for civil, commercial, criminal and constitutional litigation. They are supported by a strong cohort of associates, including Mónica Medrano, a former assistant district attorney with significant expertise in white-collar criminal cases, and Marco Castro. Since publication, Medrano has been promoted to senior associate - effective as of March 2022.
Mario René Archila Cruz
‘The team led by Mario Archila has great experience in taking on cases like ours, as well as understanding of the jurisdiction and court practice. Likewise, it has a great knowledge of the internal functioning of companies such as ours, which means their work and research is always well directed and saves time and effort.’
‘Mario Archila has excellent legal training, great experience in international arbitration, and a personal and empathetic attitude to clients.’
Constitutional litigation is a key area of expertise for Carrillo & Asociados, which is particularly well known for representing international organisations operating in Guatemala in public interest actions. However, the firm’s broad litigation experience also spans civil, commercial, administrative and criminal cases, and it is highly active in arbitration involving energy, telecoms, construction and distribution contracts. While the practice saw the departure of founding partner Francisco Chávez in August 2020, it remains a sizeable team. At senior level, Alfonso Carrillo focuses on public interest litigation (including pro bono cases defending the rule of law), Rodrigo Callejas specialises in asset recovery and insolvency cases, and Luis Mazariegos has extensive experience in civil, criminal, commercial and labour litigation. Senior associates Emanuel Callejas, Ricardo Recinos and Fernando Mendizábal have expertise in fraud, civil and constitutional, and criminal litigation, respectively.
Alfonso Carrillo; Luis Mazariegos; Rodrigo Callejas
Importadora de Alimentos de Guatemala
Industria Forrajera de Mazatenango
Alta Tecnología en Envases
Tapametal de Guatemala
Pricewaterhouse Coopers, as a custodian of Bancafe International Bank
Eco Young & Rubicam
Fundación Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Correo de Guatemala
- Acted for the George Lucas Educational Foundation in a dispute over the wrongful use of the clients’ “Edutopia” trade mark by another party in Guatemala.
- Represented Importadora de Alimentos de Guatemala in a dispute over the payment of profits to shareholders.
- Acted for Alta Tecnología en Envases in a claim to declare void ab initio a contract with Hencorp Becstone Capital on the basis that it was entered into by a manager who did not have the power to encumber the company’s property.
The ‘ideal team of legal advisers‘ at dispute resolution powerhouse Legalsa has expertise in civil, commercial, constitutional and criminal litigation, as well as in both domestic and international arbitration. Areas of strength include tax, labour, IP, public procurement and shareholders’ disputes. Founding partner Henry Comte is noted for his ‘significant experience‘ before the courts at all levels; he also serves part-time as an alternative magistrate of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court. Comte leads the team with Marisol Fión, whose practice spans administrative, civil and commercial litigation and arbitration, and Alejandro Penados, who specialises in shareholders’ and inheritance disputes, and also has notable experience in IP and unfair competition cases. The ‘first-rate' team of associates includes Julia González, a specialist in criminal litigation, particularly environmental, tax and white-collar criminal cases, and Andrés Dubón.
Henry Comte; Alejandro Penados; Marisol Fión
‘Legalsa has the ideal team of legal advisers who make clients feel supported and confident that they will get the desired results.’
‘The lawyers involve their clients; they made us feel like we were part of their team, which meant we received personalised advice.’
‘In my opinion, Legalsa is the best firm for dispute resolution at a local and international level. The principal partner, Henry Comte, has significant experience in the local and international courts in disputes involving not just the state of Guatemala but also businesses with operations in Guatemala and the rest of the world. It is also important to mention that Legalsa is very good at dealing with cases involving government institutions in Guatemala in an ethical manner. Finally, the partners and associates are all bilingual, which makes it much easier to deal with counter-parties who do not speak Spanish.’
‘What makes Legalsa excel is the experience of its lawyers, particularly Henry Comte, who is actively and personally involved in cases with the support of first-rate associates with local and international experience. This is without a doubt what makes them different from their competitors. Working with them, you can be sure that they will work collaboratively, that they will have a very detailed perspective on the case without losing sight of the overall picture, and that they will remain focused on making things easier and not complicating matters unnecessarily.’
‘They work together as a team, whatever their area of speciality, and their experience contributes to achieving the best results for clients.’
‘Alejandro Penados specialises in procedural matters. He has a lot of experience and is able to advise on (and mitigate) the next steps to be taken by the judicial authorities and counter-parties.’
‘The team members are very experienced in their field. Efficient and punctual.’
‘They work well as a team.’
- Defending Administrador de Mercado Mayorista (AMM), a non-profit, non-governmental entity with oversight of the electricity wholesale market in Guatemala, against a claim brought by Broker Energy Company over the cancellation of its operating permit by the client.
- Acting for a major manufacturing company in a long-running trade mark infringement case.
Regional firm Aguilar Castillo Love is well regarded for its expertise in arbitration, a field where Guatemala managing partner Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón stands out for his longstanding experience, both as counsel and as an arbitrator. The team also handles a broad range of civil, commercial, constitutional and labour litigation, and has particular strength in acting for clients in the energy sector, representing major players in the Guatemalan market (most significantly Energuate, Guatemala's largest power distribution company). René Vicente Rodriguez, who is experienced in both litigation and arbitration, leads the practice. Natalia Callejas Aquino and associate María Lilian Franco are particularly active in energy sector disputes.
René Vicente Rodríguez
EEGSA (Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala)
Energuate (DEOCSA and DEORSA)
- Acting for Energuate in a challenge to building regulations issued by the municipality of Río Hondo and Asunción Mita which may affect the construction and installation of energy towers.
The experienced Juan Antonio Mazariegos is a name to note at Alegalis, which has significant strength in both civil and criminal litigation. The team is well known for its experience in criminal IP litigation and regularly acts for notable international brands in anti-counterfeiting cases. Head of litigation Carlos Gustavo Palacios handles civil and commercial disputes, while Cristian Rojas directs the criminal and brand protection litigation practices. Real estate, bankruptcy and white-collar criminal law are also areas of expertise.
Highlighted for its ‘excellent knowledge‘ of local and international arbitration proceedings, Central American firm BLP is also active in civil, commercial, criminal and constitutional litigation. The team has notable expertise in IP disputes, including anti-counterfeiting claims, as well as in energy and environmental cases. Practice head Rodolfo Salazar is experienced in dispute resolution in the public and private sectors, while senior counsel Alejandro Arenales has extensive arbitration experience (including acting as an arbitrator). Associate Rubén Fuentes has expertise in public law, procurement and environmental law.
‘Excellent knowledge and the legal resources available to bring arbitration proceedings, both local and international.’
‘Constant research and international training as well as relationships with international teams are a plus.’
Terminal de Granos del Pacífico
Hidroelectrica Rio Hondo
Punto de Encuentro
Bayer Intellectual Property
APM Terminals Quetzal
- Acted for Terminal de Granos del Pacifico in various administrative and civil litigation cases against state-owned company Empresa Portuaria Quetzal relating to a lease agreement.
- Representing Hidroelectrica Rio Hondo in claims against two state institutions – the National Institute of Electrification (INDE) and the Ministry of Energy and Mines – over the cancellation of authorisations for the client to operate its power plant.
- Filed a criminal complaint on behalf of Bayer Intellectual Property relating to the counterfeiting and smuggling of products with the client’s brand in Guatemala.
Consortium Legal‘s ‘dedicated‘ and ‘responsible‘ team handles civil, commercial and constitutional litigation, with a specialist tax litigation practice led by David Erales; it has also been increasingly active in arbitration. The team acts for large regional and international clients from diverse sectors including technology, energy, financial services and hospitality. Practice head Elías Arriaza, who has broad experience, including in shareholder, labour and administrative disputes, and associate Paulina Rodríguez, who has significant arbitration expertise, are considered 'excellent lawyers'. Other key members of the sizeable associate team include Alejandro Sánchez and Erick Efrén Pérez.
‘They work expeditiously and show great commitment when following up on matters.’
‘Elías Arriaza and Paulina Rodríguez work perfectly. They are extremely organised and always willing to assist.’
‘They are dedicated and very responsible in their handling of cases.’
‘The lawyers are very well prepared.’
‘Both Elías Arriaza and Paulina Rodríguez know the case inside out. They are excellent lawyers.’
‘They provide good follow-up and demonstrate deep knowledge in different areas of law. Elías Arriaza, David Erales and Erick Efrén Pérez are stellar attorneys.’
Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI)
Centro Comercial Galerías La Pradera
- Acting for a restaurant chain in a challenge to regulations introduced by the municipalities of San Juan Sacatepéquez (in the department of Guatemala) and Ayutla (in the department of San Marcos).
The ‘ideal ally and strategic adviser‘, Mayora & Mayora, S.C.‘s strength in litigation encompasses administrative, labour, civil, commercial and constitutional disputes, with the team skilled in cross-border matters. Arbitration – particularly in relation to foreign investments and disputes in the energy and telecoms sectors – is also a key area of expertise. Leading the practice, Paola Galich has extensive litigation experience, particularly in labour law, and Rafael Briz is noted for his strength in arbitration, as well as administrative, labour, and energy and telecoms-sector litigation. They receive strong support at the senior associate level from Luis Fernando Méndez, José Ramos and Byron Deulofeu, experts in labour, civil and commercial, and IP litigation, respectively.
Paola Galich; Rafael Briz
‘I think there are various factors that make this firm the ideal ally and strategic adviser. The lawyers always have the most up-to-date knowledge, and this allows them to advise us and resolve issues promptly. Their team work is excellent and they have very good internal communications. The whole team is very accessible, and they are always available to assist us. The lawyers are proactive in sharing updates on our cases and they have good follow-up.’
‘The lawyers at Mayora & Mayora know how to listen, and that allows them to give good advice. They are very respectful and professional.’
- Representing Orion in civil, constitutional and criminal claims by third parties over the client’s property rights.
- Acted for Tedagua in the resolution of a potential dispute over an administrative contract with the Institute of Municipal Promotion (INFOM).
- Representing Energuate (DEORSA and DEOCSA) in arbitration against the National Institute for Electrification (INDE) regarding non-compliance with the Rural Electrification Plan (PER).
A. D. Sosa & Soto has particular strength in commercial and civil litigation, including disputes relating to distribution agreements and asset recovery actions, and also has expertise in constitutional law and regulatory disputes. A dedicated criminal and white-collar criminal law practice is led by associate David Barrientos. Among the key contacts in the team are founding partner Rodolfo Sosa, Carlos Rafael Pellecer and Juan Sebastián Soto, who focuses particularly on IP litigation. The department is coordinated by associate Daniel Marroquín, whose strengths include civil and constitutional litigation; he also has niche expertise in acting as an arbitrator in sports-related disputes.
Daniel Marroquin; David Barrientos; Carlos Rafael Pellecer; Juan Sebastián Soto; Rodolfo Sosa
‘Good quality of service at an affordable price.’
‘The lawyers are specialists in different areas. They are friendly and accessible.’
Mayan Holding Beverages
Comercializadora y Productora de Bebidas Los Volcanes
Alimentos Corporativos Coralsa
Alorica (NCO Star Comunicaciones Guatemala)
Compañía Procesadora de Níquel de Izabal (PRONICO)
Distribuidora Agrícola (DISAGRO)
Standard Fruit De Guatemala
Compañia Distribuidora (CODISA)
Suministros Médicos (SUMEDICA)
- Acting for Compañia Distribuidora (CODISA) in anti-counterfeiting actions relating to its “Magia Blanca” products.
- Representing Unisuper in a challenge to the distribution regulations for alcoholic beverages in the city and municipality of Mixco.
- Acting for Comercializadora y Productora de Bebidas Los Volcanes in a dispute with former commercial resellers of Coca-Cola products over a distribution agreement.
Founding partner Alfonso Novales Aguirre, a former judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica, leads the dispute resolution practice at Novales Abogados, which stands out for its strength in litigation in the energy sector. The team represents major players in the sector, including energy transmission company Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica (TRECSA), often in complex constitutional challenges to energy and infrastructure projects. Other strengths include administrative and civil litigation. Cristián Novales Schlesinger, who has expertise in construction disputes, and energy specialist Javier Novales Schlesinger are also key contacts.
Empresa Portuaria Nacional Santo Tomas de Castilla
Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica
EEB Ingeniería y Servicios (EEBIS)
Enel Green Power Guatemala
Empresa de Energía de Bogotá (EEB)
Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana (CAISA)
Empresa Portuaria Nacional Santo Tomas de Castilla
Caterpillar Financial Services
Corporación General De Tractores
- Acting for Transportadora De Energía De Centroamérica (TRECSA), a subsidiary of Grupo de Energía de Bogotá, in various constitutional challenges to its construction of a power transmission network across Guatemala, brought by several special interest groups under ILO Convention 169.
- Acting for Empresa Propietaria de la Red (EPR), the consortium created to build the Central American electrical interconnection system, in a claim for alleged damages caused by the transmission line to a coffee farm.
- Acting for TRECSA, EEB Ingeniería y Servicios (EEBIS) and other entities in the electricity sector in an action to challenge a draft law introduced during the pandemic prohibiting the interruption of electricity services.
Formed by the merger of Ibero-American giant ECIJA with Guatemalan firm Integrum in November 2020, ECIJA Integrum stands out for its extensive experience in arbitration. Energy disputes are a key area of strength, but the firm also has growing expertise in disputes in the technology (including fintech) and pharmaceutical sectors. The 'excellent' team is led by senior partner Marcos Palma, who is skilled in energy and financial sector arbitration, the 'outstanding' Edson López, and director Rodrigo Castillo, a specialist in international arbitration.
Edson López; Marcos Palma; Rodrigo Castillo de la Cerda
‘The team is excellent. Edson López must be highlighted for his pragmatic and efficient approach to clients. He is always available and offers clear and practical advice in a timely manner.’
‘It is a strong and very experienced team. They offer clients an atmosphere of confidence, knowledge and experience, and this makes them a standout law firm in the field of arbitration.’
‘Edson López’s experience, character and personality undoubtedly make him an outstanding attorney in his area.’
‘Rodrigo Castillo is an excellent lawyer. He is very attentive and collaborative.’
‘The firm stands out for its analysis and study of cases by a very well-rounded and professional team. They have a thorough knowledge of the procedural rules and the legislation applicable to the cases.’
‘Edson López is a brilliant lawyer who always comes up with answers and practical solutions to our problems.’
‘All the ECIJA Integrum lawyers were aware of the important points of our lawsuit; in addition, they were completely up to date with everything that happened before the lawsuit and during the lawsuit process. They were better prepared than other offices, and they knew all the points to be discussed perfectly.’
‘The lawyers treated the case as if they were the plaintiffs; they put themselves in my shoes and in those of my team, which made the process more personal. Edson López has a lot of knowledge in international arbitration, he works very well and is very organised, and he is handling our case in a professional manner. Rodrigo Castillo is completely up to date with the case and constantly uses his experience to assist us. Marcos Palma has vast experience in international arbitration cases, as well as other types of lawsuits; his skills in financial matters are fundamental and he is direct, honest and accurate.’
As part of the legal arm of the Big Four consultancy, EY Law Central America has particular strength in contentious tax cases, but also handles criminal, administrative and commercial litigation for a broad range of regional clients. Following the departure of former practice head Enrique Möller Sánchez and Ruby Asturias to different firms, the team is now led by senior manager Fernando Rosales Gramajo, who specialises in tax litigation. He is supported by manager Elmer Vargas, who leads the life sciences department and is experienced in trade mark, patent and healthcare-related disputes.
García-Merlos & Asociados
Highlighted for its 'mastery of the field of criminal law', boutique firm García-Merlos & Asociados specialises in white-collar criminal litigation and has acted in some of the biggest recent cases of this kind in Guatemala. The team has longstanding experience in litigation relating to tax evasion and fraud, money laundering and criminal IP matters, including cross-border cases, as well as handling constitutional litigation. The firm's clients include major domestic banks and multinational corporations from the energy, mining and telecoms sectors, among others. Julio Roberto García-Merlos García leads the practice.
Julio Roberto García-Merlos García
‘The team stands out for its efficiency and its mastery of the field of criminal law.’
‘The firm specialises in corporate criminal litigation. They understand the client’s needs and are focused on solving their problems.’
‘It is a personalised service. The lead partner handles cases and has highly professional associates.’
Panamerican Silver Guatemala
Jaguar Energy Guatemala LLC
Corporación Multi Inversiones
Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala
Global Forest Partners LP
Grupo Sermesa – Hospitales La Paz
Banco de los Trabajadores
Millicom International Cellular
Productive Business Solutions
- Represented Jaguar Energy Guatemala in criminal complaints filed against the client during a contractual dispute with China Machine New Energy Corporation, including obtaining the acquittal of high-level executives accused of attempted murder.
- Representing construction and development company Ingeniería Vertical in an investigation into an explosion which took place in a housing complex in 2019.
- Acting for US company Global Forest Partners in a multi-jurisdictional case involving the prosecution of a Guatemalan businessman for defrauding the client in relation to investments in Guatemala.
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados has a strong track record in mediation, arbitration and litigation, handling civil, commercial, administrative and tax disputes, among others. In a notable highlight, the team is representing Banco Internacional de Costa Rica in a claim against a creditor which is one of the first in the country relating to contractual breaches stemming from the pandemic. Founding partner and practice head Alfredo Skinner-Klée is well known for handling high-profile litigation and arbitration, while Alfredo Skinner-Klée Sol is skilled in mediation and arbitration.
‘They have a strong knowledge of the subject and their understanding of the needs of our company is extraordinary. They are very well prepared for every case and every meeting.’
‘Alfredo Skinner-Klée is spectacular and is a great expert in the subject. He understands the needs of multinational companies very well.’
‘They move quickly and have a sense of urgency. I like to work with them because I don’t have to follow up.’
‘Alfredo Skinner-Klée is very bold in his analysis of cases.’
- Acting for Compañia de Desarollo Bananero de Guatemala (Bandegua), a subsidiary of Fresh Del Monte Produce, in litigation against a government agency over the violation of its constitutional rights.
- Acting for Clover Ventures in an ongoing dispute with a Guatemalan municipality over the payment of real estate tax.
- Representing Banco Internacional de Costa Rica in a breach of contract dispute with a company which defaulted on the payment of credit to the client, arguing that its operations were affected by the pandemic.
Litigation over distribution agreements and in the energy and telecoms sectors – including sensitive and high-profile disputes over the installation of telecoms masts within the local community – are key areas of expertise for Sfera Legal. The team is also experienced in tax and government contract-related litigation, and has recently developed an arbitration practice, with additional expertise in the enforcement of arbitral awards in Guatemala. Ignacio Andrade Aycinena leads the practice, supported by a large team, which includes senior associates Luis Enrique Solares, who handles tax litigation, and Evelyn Chavarria, and associate Carlos Gándara Barrientos.
Ignacio Andrade Aycinena
‘The team stands out for its knowledge of the telecoms and real estate sectors, use of alternative methods for conflict resolution, and good command of English.’
‘Carlos Gandara is an extremely competent, capable and attentive person. He is always ready to answer any call.’
‘Luis Enrique Solares Larrave stands out.’
Comunicaciones Celulares – Tigo
- Defending Tigo – Telecomunicaciones Celulares in a dispute over a tripartite telephony distribution contract.
- Acting for SBA Torres Guatemala in negotiations with local communities over the installation of telecoms antennas.
- Defending Tigo – Telecomunicaciones Celulares against a challenge by Telefonica Guatemala to the grant of the 4G frequency in Guatemala.