Dispute resolution in Guatemala
Arias' 'excellent' dispute resolution practice stands out for its 'all-round support', 'practical approach' and 'efficiency in handling any matter'. The team acts for large local and multinational companies across a range of areas, including the oil, retail, automotive, technology and telecoms sectors, as well as representing financial institutions and government entities. The firm is also noted for its growing national and international arbitration practice. The 'highly esteemed' Mario René Archila heads the team, and is praised for his 'experience and negotiation skills'; he is supported by 'knowledgeable and thorough' associate Luis Fernando Zelada and special counsel Aurélie Huet, who is qualified in Guatemala, the US and France and specialises in international arbitration.
Carrillo & Asociados has a strong reputation for constitutional and public sector litigation; in a recent highlight, Luis Mazariegos and founding partner Alfonso Carrillo successfully defended Fundación de la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala against a constitutional action brought by the Indigenous Municipality of Sololá relating to the ownership of land. The firm is also noted for its white-collar criminal defence practice, with a particular focus on recovering assets locally and abroad. Rodrigo Callejas and senior associate Emanuel Callejas represented the directors of Italia Motors in a criminal complaint against the former general manager relating to alleged theft, fraud and forgery. Other clients include Maersk, Aldo Group and Hidroeléctrica Santa Rita.
Comte & Font – Legalsa is known for its strength in complex corporate litigation, including shareholder disputes; litigation relating to government procurement, public tenders and concessions; and white-collar criminal defence. Key clients include alcohol distillery Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, developer Multiproyectos, and the Central American Bottling Corporation. Alejandro Penados handles the full range of dispute resolution matters, including civil, commercial, constitutional and administrative litigation, and Marisol Fión has particular expertise in shareholder disputes. Founding partner Henry Comte is currently serving as an alternative magistrate in the Guatemalan Constitutional Court.
Consortium Legal represents clients in the full range of dispute resolution matters, including civil and commercial litigation and arbitration, such as contract disputes and shareholder disputes, and constitutional actions. In addition, the firm is noted for its strength in tax litigation, defending clients against claims by the tax authorities. The team counts a number of large regional companies from the financial, agro-industrial and food and drink sectors among its clients, including Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, Interbanco and the San Diego and Santa Ana sugar mills. The practice is jointly lead by Elías Arriaza and tax specialist David Erales.
The 'prestigious' and 'dynamic' QIL+4 ABOGADOS, S.A. handles cases with 'a lot of dedication and responsibility'; clients are 'in great hands'. The team has been particularly active in the mining and energy sector, acting in high-profile litigation relating to mining and hydroelectric projects, and also has a strong arbitration practice. Senior associate Alejandro Solares heads the dispute resolution team, and has extensive experience in complex, multi-party litigation. The firm's litigation committee is overseen by Marcos Ibargüen, who is noted for his experience in commercial litigation, and José Quiñones, who regularly handles tax matters and also represents clients in arbitration. Clients include large local and international companies, among them Minera San Rafael, Abbott Laboratories and British American Tobacco.
Aguilar Castillo Love recently expanded its dispute resolution practice with the hiring of new team head René Vicente Rodriguez from Carrillo & Asociados in December 2018. In addition to handling complex litigation, the team is noted for its strength in national and international arbitration, particularly in the energy sector; its clients include Comercializadora Eléctrica de Guatemala, Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala and Jaguar Energy Guatemala. Another key client is the local subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions; the highly experienced Juan Carlos Castillo is defending the client against two criminal complaints brought by subcontractors of the company relating to a construction dispute.
BLP handles constitutional, commercial and white-collar crime cases, and is also noted for its strong international arbitration practice. Highlights included team head Rodolfo Salazar acting as local counsel to the state of Guatemala, alongside Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, in international arbitration brought by Teco Holdings relating to the breach of telecoms contracts; Salazar and associate José Antonio López also represented Terminal de Granos del Pacífico in a dispute with Empresa Portuaria Quetzal de Guatemala, the state company which administrates Guatemala's largest port, over illegal lease service charges. Special counsel Alejandro Arenales is also highly regarded.
Mayora & Mayora, S.C. stands out for 'the personal attention of the partners to the issues of the client's company and the professional quality of the associates', as well as the 'integrity' of the team. Key clients include a number of major regional companies, such as Telecomunicaciones de Guatemala, Cobra Infraestructuras Hidráulicas and Energuate. The team is particularly active in commercial disputes, administrative and constitutional cases, and arbitration. Paola Galich leads the practice, with the support of senior associates Luis Fernando Juárez, José Ramos and Byron Deulofeu, who have expertise in labour and energy, consumer, and IP matters, respectively. Senior partner Rafael Briz is also a key contact.
Alegalis has a strong reputation for criminal litigation, defending major companies in white-collar crime cases and acting for a number of international fashion brands in smuggling and criminal IP matters. The team also handles civil and constitutional disputes, with a particular focus on the real estate sector. Founding partner Juan Antonio Mazariegos and director of litigation Carlos Gustavo Palacios lead the practice; associates Cristian Rojas and Roxana Sandoval specialise in criminal and civil litigation, respectively.
EY Law Central America handles civil, constitutional and criminal litigation, with a particular focus on white-collar crime and tax fraud cases. The team predominantly acts for large regional financial institutions, but also recently represented a coffee exporter and several producers of consumer products in tax fraud litigation. Practice head Enrique Möller Sánchez specialises in acting for clients in the retail, banking, electricity and regulated industries, and senior manager Fernando Rosales Gramajo has particular expertise in tax-related cases.
Novales Abogados is noted for its strength in constitutional actions, particularly in the energy sector; Javier Novales Schlesinger and Alfonso Novales Aguirre have acted for key client Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica in a series of judicial challenges brought by indigenous and environmental groups opposing the client's extension of the electricity transport network. The firm also has an active credit recovery practice, successfully assisting clients including Corpocredit and Caterpillar Crédito with the collection of debts. Cristián Novales Schlesinger, who specialises in construction and infrastructure-related disputes, leads the team.
Praised for its 'specialist knowledge of the insurance law market', Palomo Abogados also has expertise in IP, maritime and shipping, and energy-related disputes. The practice is led by Juan José Porras, whose clients include political institutions and international and national companies. In recent highlights, Héctor Palomo and Mario Guadrón defended advertising company Publigrifik against penalties imposed by the municipality of Guatemala for installing exterior advertising, and the 'responsive' Federico Palomo, who is noted for his 'prudent advice', acted for insurance company AIG in a case involving the collision of a container ship with the dock. Other notable clients include Royal Canadian Mint, JCDecaux and Global Farma.
Carlos Rafael Pellecer leads the team at A. D. Sosa & Soto, which acts for national and international clients in civil and commercial litigation, including contract enforcement and debt collection procedures. The team recently represented Compañía Distribuidora Internacional (CODISA), the distributor of Hershey's products in Guatemala, in a dispute over the distribution agreement, as well as acting for Procter & Gamble in debt recovery cases. Other areas of expertise include constitutional, administrative and IP disputes and white-collar crime cases. Unisuper, Aceros de Guatemala and Distribuidora Agrícola Guatemalteca (DISAGRO) are also key clients. The team includes Rodolfo Sosa and Juan Sebastián Soto.
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados acts for the Guatemalan subsidiaries of a number of large international companies, including Del Monte Fresh Produce and Mexichem; Alfredo Skinner-Klée acted for the former in a constitutional action against a government agency relating to the land registry deeds for the company's properties. María Gabriela Coronado Díaz specialises in tax-related matters; she represented Agrícola San Agustín Las Minas in a series of administrative challenges relating to property taxes. Alfredo Skinner-Klée Sol, who has particular expertise in mediation and arbitration, is also a key contact. Other clients include companies from the financial, manufacturing, and food and drink sectors.
Following its merger with local firm Asensio Andrade Flores in September 2018, Sfera Legal has been active in disputes relating to distribution agreements, telecoms and energy, among others. Highlights included representing SBA Torres Guatemala in constitutional and criminal claims brought against local residents and municipal authorities, which opposed the client's construction of a telecoms network, and acting for Inversiones Pasabien in criminal proceedings against community leaders who damaged the client's hydroelectric plant during protests. The firm is also noted for its arbitration practice. Managing partner Ignacio Andrade Aycinena leads the team.