Dispute resolution in Panama

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

The 'extraordinary' team at Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee has wide-ranging expertise in civil and commercial litigation, including breach of contract and shareholder disputes, and administrative proceedings before the tax and competition authorities. The team is particularly renowned for its strength in financial litigation, representing some of the largest banks in Panama; it also counts multinationals, from the telecoms, construction and insurance sectors, in particular, among its clients. In addition, the firm has a strong domestic and international arbitration practice, and often handles investment treaty arbitrations against the Republic of Panama. The team is led by founding partner Jorge Federico Lee, who has extensive litigation and arbitration experience, particularly in labour disputes, and Eduardo Gómez, who is noted for his expertise in high-stakes financial litigation and international arbitration. Jaime Castillo is also active in litigation in the electricity, telecoms and media sectors, among others. The strong associate team includes Doris Nieto, Anel Roach and Mónica Crespo.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Federico Lee; Eduardo Gómez

Testimonials

‘The team is made up of very solid litigation lawyers. They are very well organised, and have the ability to handle high volumes of litigation with great attention to detail. Their extensive technical knowledge allows them to offer alternatives and design complex strategies for sensitive cases. They have the ability to explain complex issues very easily, which helps a lot in dealing with clients and counter-parties.’

‘The team stands out for its technical excellence, availability, reliability, responsiveness and capacity for follow-up, and ability to meet challenging deadlines. They are highly recognised lawyers in the market, which facilitates their interactions both in the courts and with local authorities. They also have extensive knowledge of trade union, which facilitates complex negotiations.’

‘They are quick and accurate in their answers. They are recommended.’

‘I would like to highlight the fact that they have a large number of professionals, which allows us to consult the firm on different topics. I would single out Anel Roach as a lawyer with a brilliant mind who is able to analyse problems and look for solutions or possible loopholes in the law or in published rulings to argue a good defence.’

‘Their strengths are their knowledge of substantive procedural rules and negotiation skills.’

‘Jaime Castillo and Doris Nieto make a very proactive team and provide a very efficient service.’

‘It is an extraordinary team, whose advice gives you a lot of confidence. I think that they have a broad commercial perspective and try to adapt legal solutions to the reality of the client’s business and to the negotiations between the parties.’

‘What stands out about the team is its rigour, extensive legal knowledge, strategic approach and adjusted fees which are good value for money, taking into account the quality of the services provided. The response times are also good. Eduardo Gómez is very experienced and thoughtful, sharp in his comments, rigorous, reliable, and puts the client’s interests before those of lengthening the process. Anel Roach has very good procedural knowledge, and comes up with creative solutions to the problems raised. Mónica Crespo is very detail-oriented and precise, with an excellent level of English.’

Key clients

Grupo Unidos por el Canal

Copa Airlines

Elektra Noreste

Cable & Wireless (Panama)

Banistmo

IDEAL Panamá (Grupo Carso)

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Banco General

Procter & Gamble

Cemento Bayano (Cemex)

Work highlights

  • Represented Cemento Bayano (Cemex) in a claim filed by Trituradoras de Panamá for alleged damages caused as a result of an action for the seizure of assets which Cemex had previously filed against Trituradoras.
  • Representing Industrias Lácteas and Sociedad de Alimentos de Primera in a claim for absolute monopolistic practices filed by the Consumer Protection Authority against Productos Nevada, Global Products and Logistic Services, Sociedad Panameña de Alimentos de Primera, and Industrias Lácteas relating to an alleged price agreement between the defendants in a public bid for the supply of dairy beverages to the schools of the Ministry of Education.
  • Acting as Panamanian counsel to Grupo Unidos por el Canal, the contractor of the Panama Canal expansion project to construct a third set of locks, in three international arbitration proceedings brought against the Panama Canal Authority, as  the employer, arising out of its construction contract with the client.

Galindo, Arias & López

Specialising in disputes in the electricity sector, the team at Galindo, Arias & López acts for major electricity distribution and generation companies, including in significant claims against the National Public Services Authority. However, the firm is active in the full range of civil, constitutional, administrative and labour litigation, appearing before domestic courts of all instances in addition to acting in multi-jurisdictional disputes. Arbitration is also a growing area of expertise for the sizeable team. The practice is led by the 'absolutely excellent' Diego de la Guardia, who has particularly notable experience in disputes in the public utilities, telecoms, construction and healthcare sectors. The 'standout' Selva Quintero is skilled in handling civil and public administrative litigation in the energy and utilities sectors, and senior counsel Adán Arjona is also noted for his experience in international arbitration and defamation cases. At associate level, Jeimy Lasso is particularly experienced in labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Diego de la Guardia

Testimonials

‘The firm stands out for its strength in resolving conflicts outside the courts.’

‘They are highly qualified lawyers. Selva Quintero has solid and up-to-date knowledge that makes the client feel comfortable and secure with her advice.’

‘The quality and preparation of the lawyers is really impressive. Coordination and feedback ensure that the entire team always knows the case in detail and anyone can meet a client’s request. It is much better than other law firms where only one lawyer is assigned to the case and the other team members do not actively participate in its development.’

‘The ethics and up-to-date knowledge demonstrated by the team was decisive in achieving a successful result for us. The advice provided by Selva Quintero was more than high quality, precise and efficient.’

‘They are very precise, dedicated and very strong in strategy. The standout in the team is undoubtedly Selva Quintero, a lawyer who is always available to her client, with a great personality.’

‘Selva Quintero is always willing to answer calls and responds to clients’ requests very quickly.’

‘Experienced, knowledgeable, pragmatic and efficient.’

‘Diego de la Guardia is absolutely excellent – he is knowledgeable, experienced, approachable and keeps the client informed up to the second. He is one of the best lawyers – if not the best – I have met in my life and I am 71 years old. Selva Quintero is highly qualified and fits perfectly into the team.’

Key clients

Empresa de Distribución Eléctrica Metro – Oeste

Empresa de Distribución Eléctrica Chiriquí

Petroterminal de Panamá

América Móvil

Sonama Panamá y Sonama

BCT Bank

Mercantil Banco

Uber Panama Technology

Atlantic Security Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing Petroterminal de Panama in a multi-party claim for damages stemming from an oil spill in Laguna de Chiriquí Grande in 2007.
  • Representing Professors Alcibiades Mayta and Edilberto Hall in a claim concerning the protection of constitutional guarantees against the prestigious public university Universidad Tecnológica de Panama (UTP), resulting from its refusal to allow them to take office as decano (principal) and vice decano (vice principal), a position reached though an internal electoral process.
  • Representing Corporación La Prensa and Supermercado Xtra in litigation initiated by Roberto Durán, the former boxing world champion, over the publication and distribution of a collectable album using his image.

Morgan & Morgan

Morgan & Morgan‘s ‘robust‘ team has a broad dispute resolution practice spanning civil, constitutional, administrative and commercial disputes, with particularly notable expertise in insolvency litigation, acting for both debtors and creditors. The team handles both litigation and an increasing amount of domestic and international arbitration, with a diverse client base which includes major local banks, mining and maritime companies and multinationals from the insurance, construction and financial services sectors. In addition, the firm has a strong criminal litigation practice, led by Omar Rodríguez, which specialises in white-collar crime cases. At the head of the team, Jose Carrizo has wide-ranging experience in litigation and arbitration, including large insolvency and asset recovery cases, and Luis Vallarino has expertise in government contract and regulatory disputes, among other areas. Senior associate Mayte Sánchez Gonzalez  stands out for her expertise in arbitration, particularly in disputes over infrastructure projects, as well as in corporate and commercial litigation. Since publication, Sánchez has been raised to the partnership - effective as of January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jose Carrizo; Luis Vallarino

Testimonials

‘Morgan & Morgan’s litigation and arbitration team is distinguished by its commitment to its client. They are a team of robust professionals with vast experience, who understand and identify with the needs of their clients to provide efficient and reliable results.’

‘Above all, I want to highlight the commitment and loyalty of Omar Rodriguez, Mayte Sanchez and Joy Torres.’

‘The Morgan & Morgan arbitration team is always one step ahead, evaluating all the options and alternatives in a given situation. In our experience, they have very good internal coordination and work together both within the team and with the client.’

‘Jose Carrizo has in-depth knowledge in arbitration and litigation and all the experience required to increase our chances of success.’

‘It is important to have a team that empathises with the client and dedicates its best efforts to defending their interests. It is also valuable for the client to be able to obtain an immediate response to any concerns that arise within the process and not fall into uncertainty. In our experience, the Morgan & Morgan team meets these expectations.’

‘Omar Rodriguez and Mayte Sanchez are experienced in court procedures. They are accessible and respond in a timely and empathetic manner to clients’ concerns about the process, which generates trust. They set themselves apart through the quality time that they dedicate to their cases and the synergy that they achieve with clients’ in-house teams in order to obtain positive results.’

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has significant expertise in multi-jurisdictional disputes; the team frequently foreign companies in litigation and arbitration proceedings in Panama, and is particularly active in international commercial arbitrations against the Republic of Panama. The firm is experienced in a wide range of cases, including commercial disputes, administrative proceedings (including regulatory claims), admiralty cases, and labour and tax litigation, and has seen an increasing amount of work acting for debtors and creditors in insolvency litigation. Fernando Arias, who is well versed in civil, commercial, tax and administrative disputes, particularly involving Panamanian corporations, leads the team with Claudio De Castro, who focuses his practice on multi-jurisdictional disputes. Sofía Cohen, who leads the firm's regulatory work group, is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Arias; Claudio De Castro

Key clients

McDermott International

Visa

Chevron Chemical Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Condotte in a $4m arbitration against the Panamanian government relating to the contract for the construction of a sports facility.

LOVILL

Complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes are a key area of strength for the ‘incredible‘ team at Lovill, which has particular expertise in public and private international law and in representing sovereign states and state-owned entities. The team has significant experience in cross-border insolvency litigation, but also handles civil and commercial litigation, and domestic and international arbitration, where it is highly active in international investment arbitrations. ‘Very approachable‘ founding partner Isabel Cristina López leads the practice, and regularly acts in complex, cross-border disputes in the construction, logistics and real estate sectors, to name but a few. Associate Christopher Glasscock is experienced in civil and commercial litigation and international arbitration, and senior associate Jeannette Bravo brings additional expertise in labour law to the team.

Practice head(s):

Isabel Cristina López

Testimonials

‘Our case was not one that the firm would typically handle, but they responded to our situation and thankfully took us on. The firm has been absolutely incredible on all fronts, including but not limited to their communication and dedication to our case.’

‘We have been completely satisfied with the firm and its members. Cristina is very approachable and we feel grateful for her strength, wisdom and genuine nature from a personal standpoint, as well as her fierce, dedicated and controlled nature from a legal standpoint.’

‘The team demonstrated excellent management of the different parties involved in the transaction and extensive knowledge of the regulations.’

‘For us, the standout feature of this practice is the speed with which our concerns or queries were addressed. In our case, we are very satisfied with the service provided by Jeannette Bravo and Isabel Cristina Lopez.’

‘The team have good response times, they show a lot of interest in understanding the client’s underlying business, and come up with fresh ideas and unconventional solutions.’

‘Personalised service. The partners are keen to stay up to date with client matters.’

Key clients

El Carmen Investments

Central Latinoamericana De Valores

Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos de Ecuador EP Petroecuador

Unilever

Work highlights

  • Represented the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Ecuador and EP Petroecudor in a $12bn multi-jurisdictional dispute that arose from fraudulent contractual claims filed by a group of Ecuadorian foundations, as a result of alleged environmental damages in the Amazon.
  • Representing Central Latinoamericana de Valores (Latinclear), a subsidiary of Latinex Holding that operates as a stock exchange in the Republic of Panama, as the defendant in a claim before the Labour Courts of Panama brought by a former general manager.

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez

The 'always available' team at Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez has a wide range of experience in civil, commercial, corporate and financial litigation and arbitration, both domestic and cross-border. It has particular expertise in construction and infrastructure, healthcare, insurance, IP and telecoms disputes, acting for large local and multinational clients. The practice is led by senior partner Alfredo Ramírez Jr, who brings his experience in corporate and finance law to litigation and arbitration cases, and Katherine Aparicio. Associate Joelis Arauz specialises in civil, commercial and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alfredo Ramírez Jr.; Katherine Aparicio

Testimonials

‘They have been very informative in terms of the technical legal issues that they are handling for our company, so that the entire process has been understandable for us. Each situation has been handled successfully and thus far they have proven to be the best firm for us.’

‘Their follow-up on cases and their constant communication with us allows me to carry out my work knowing that all the legal matters are being taken care of. They get in touch immediately if a new situation arises.’

‘The lawyers we work with are always available to assist us and provide clear, forceful and effective answers. I have worked with other large firms and Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez is the one that has given me successful results.’

‘Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez has lawyers with a lot of experience and a long track record, and also young lawyers with a lot of knowledge about the current market and the changes and situations that businesses are facing at the moment, where there is more complexity in negotiations. They give us the best solutions and answers to all our legal questions all in one place.’

Key clients

Banesco

Citibank

DHL

Elevadores Otis

Hannover Re

LG Electronics

McDonald’s

Panasonic

Tigo

Western Union

Britton & Iglesias

Britton & Iglesias is highly active in construction-related disputes, contentious-administrative claims against the state and government entities, and contractual and shareholder disputes, frequently acting as local counsel to large international firms. In addition, the team is experienced in acting for banks in high-value debt recovery and insolvency cases, while recent developments have seen the firm expand its maritime litigation practice led by associate Diego Maximin.Dispute resolution practice head, name partner Eric Britton, has a strong track record in domestic and international commercial arbitration, both as counsel and as an arbitrator. Further senior experience is provided by of counsel Graciela Dixon, a former justice of the Panamanian Supreme Court. Since publication, Maximin and Gloria Valderrama  have both been raised to the parntership as of Janaury 2022; both have considerable experience in construction related disputes with Maximin’s practice also reaching into bankruptcy matters, while that of Valderrama extends to disputes related to financings, insurance, trusts, contracts and M&A.

Practice head(s):

Eric Britton

Work highlights

  • Representing the Panamanian Social Security Fund (CSS) in an ICC arbitration claim against FCC Construcciones Centro América, FCC Construcción, Construcción Hospitalaria, and insurance companies Mapfre and ASSA over a construction project.
  • Representing a group of shareholders of Balboa Bank & Trust in contentious-administrative litigation against the Republic of Panama and the Superintendency of Banks, seeking compensation for losses after the bank was taken over by the Superintendency and sold.
  • Acting for the Fourth Bridge Consortium in a challenge to the decision of the Ministry for Public Works to impose a $1m fine on the client due to delays to the start of a project.

Evans Gonzalez Moreno & Asociados Abogados

Boutique litigation and arbitration firm Evans Gonzalez Moreno & Asociados Abogados acts for local and international clients in a range of civil, commercial, contentious-administrative and constitutional litigation in some of the key sectors in Panama's economy - construction, banking, energy and shipping. Debt recovery actions are a key area of strength for the firm, which is also skilled in arbitration. The 'strong' team is led by Evans Gonzalez, who specialises in civil and maritime litigation, supported by senior associates Rubén González Rivera, who is experienced in civil litigation and insolvency cases, and Melquisedec Sánchez.

Practice head(s):

Evans Gonzalez

Testimonials

‘The team is very good. They are experienced and their work is of a high quality.’

‘They explain the steps to follow, and the advantages and disadvantages of alternative solutions. They support their opinions with facts and data. They give clients a sense of security, and they deliver as promised and work quickly. Few law firms are so communicative, reliable and informative.’

‘The most valuable thing for me that they are reliable, they do what they say and they deal with matters quickly. My experience of working with Evans Gonzalez was outstanding.’

‘It is a strong team of highly experienced professionals. They are very efficient in their client service and response rates.’

‘Evans Gonzalez offers an on-time and personalised service.’

Key clients

Hacienda El Limon

Enel Fortuna

Compañía Inmobiliaria San Felipe

Cemex

Capital Bank

Iiasa Panama

Consorcio Grupo Wisa

Ingenieros Civiles Asociados (ICA)

Pavimentos Especializados

Desarrollo Agro-Industrial Carcal

Work highlights

  • Acting for Capital Bank in debt recovery claims brought against several Panamanian companies.
  • Representing Ingenieros Civiles Asociados Panama (ICA) in various civil proceedings stemming from a sub-contract for the construction of roads in Panama City.
  • Acting for Hacienda El Limon in arbitration proceedings against Provivienda, one of Panama’s largest construction companies, in which the client was awarded $1m.

Fabrega Molino

The 'excellent' team at Fabrega Molino acts for international clients, including multinational corporations and high-net-worth individuals, in disputes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The practice spans a broad range of disputes, including securities, commercial, maritime, labour, IP and competition litigation. At the helm, senior partner Jorge Molina is highly experienced in complex commercial, banking and insurance litigation, including cross-border disputes; Juan Pablo Fábrega has longstanding arbitration expertise, and has served as president of the Sports Arbitration Commission of Panama since 2018; and Miguel Urriola, who heads the firm's labour department, specialises in employment litigation.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Molina; Juan Pablo Fábrega; Manuel Urriola

Testimonials

‘The litigation team is excellent.’

Patton, Moreno & Asvat

Maritime litigation is a particular focus of Patton, Moreno & Asvat's 'knowledgeable' team, which counts banks and other financial institutions, as well as ship owners and charterers, among its clients. In addition, the team acts for local companies and multinationals operating in Panama in civil and commercial litigation, with notable strength in construction and procurement disputes. The firm also handles arbitration. Khatiya Asvat, who specialises in shipping litigation, leads the practice. Other key contacts include senior partner Ebrahim Asvat and associates Joaquín de Obarrio and Maximiliano Quintero.

Practice head(s):

Khatiya Asvat

Testimonials

‘The team has demonstrated a high level of commitment and knowledge of the legal process.’

‘What stands out is the personalised service, timely responses to inquiries and dedication to the case.’

‘The team are knowledgeable, very professional and it seems they are available 24/7 to assist you. They work well together.’

‘Joaquin De Obarrio and Maximiliano Quintero stand out for their combination of knowledge and good client service.’

Dentons Muñoz

Global firm Dentons Muñoz frequently handles cross-border disputes alongside its other Latin American offices, representing international clients before the Panamanian courts. The team covers a wide variety of litigation and arbitration, including commercial, civil, administrative, maritime and public utilities-related disputes. Practice head Fernando Aued is noted for his strength in civil, commercial, administrative and shipping litigation and commercial arbitration, while Maria del Rosario de Roux has considerable expertise in disputes relating to government contracts.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Aued

SB&Co. Legal

SB&Co. Legal (previously Sucre, Briceño & Co.) handles a range of civil, commercial and family litigation, and also has experience in national and international arbitration. The key contacts in the practice are Franklin Briceño Salazar and associate Francisco Perdomo Sandoval.

Practice head(s):

Franklin Briceño Salazar; Francisco Perdomo Sandoval