ECIJA > San Jose, Costa Rica > Firm Profile

Costa Rica

Costa Rica > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Client single out the corporate and M&A group at ECIJA for its 'availability and personalised client service'. Headed by Guillermo E Zúniga, who specialises in the design and structuring of corporate vehicles in Costa Rica and Central America, the team represents such multinationals as Pfizer, Maersk, and UPL, spread over a sweeping selection of industries including pharmaceuticals, tourism, real estate, energy, chemicals, and e-commerce. The international firm advises on a wide range of corporate matters, such as the incorporation of companies in free-trade zones, greenfield investments, restructurings, joint ventures, and related antitrust issues, as well as start-ups and seed capital structures. The team is backed by digital services expert Mercedes Sancho, energy and national resources specialist Mariela Hernández, and associate Monserrat Soto Roig, and was further strengthened with the arrival of partner Alvaro Quesada Loría, who joined the firm from Aguilar Castillo Love in October 2020, boosting the team's competition expertise.

Practice head(s):

Guillermo E. Zúñiga


‘ The ECIJA team stands out from other firms for its availability and personalised client service.’

‘They have a personal touch and are very available and transparent during the process.’

‘ECIJA’s follow-up of cases, sense of urgency and the quality of its legal work are impressive and unmatched. So far it has been the best law firm I have worked with, both in terms of legal output and client service.’

‘Their advice is assertive and accurate. They keep their promises regarding the delivery of work and are very transparent in their explanations. In addition, the regional reach of their services is very convenient for multinationals, and the approach of having a single point of contact is a great plus and gives peace of mind to in-house lawyers.’

‘The way they work as a team has been really helpful for us. We have an assigned lawyer, and we like that although we work hand in hand with the other partners depending on our needs, we always have a single point of contact who helps us follow up with all the different team members.’

‘The client service is excellent. Mercedes Sancho always makes sure we feel comfortable and gives us a sense of confidence and security as she is always available to respond to our concerns. They have all made us feel like friends, which makes it easier to discuss the issues affecting our company with them, but despite our close relationship they maintain an excellent level of professionalism.’

‘They are very knowledgeable about data protection regulation.’

Key clients



UPL – Arysta Lifescience – Bioquim

Maersk SeaLand





Auto Mercado

Sparx Logistics

Techmarine and Logistics

Hunt Energy Horizons

American Food/Smithfield

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality

Tropical Foods

Fundes Internacional

Work highlights

  • Handling a spin-off of one of the divisions of a global pharmaceutical company that is being designed and will be implemented during 2021.
  • Advising a global pharmaceutical company on distribution and agency agreements.
  • Assisted Pfizer Zona Franca with a global project which entailed the spin-off of the Upjohn product division from the general structure of Pfizer.

Costa Rica > Dispute resolution Tier 2

The experienced team at ECIJA acts for businesses at the multinational, local, and regional levels in a range of disputes, including investment-related cases, civil and commercial litigation, administrative proceedings, debt collection, and international and domestic arbitration. Led by ‘excellent’ arbitration expert Mauricio París and the ‘clear, direct, thorough and responsiveMariela Hernández, a specialist in administrative claims, the team represents such household names as Pfizer, Maersk, Shell, Coca-Cola, and Sanofi, with clients drawn from a wide array of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, energy, food and beverages, insurance, hospitality, agriculture, and construction. The team is backed by associate Mauricio Rapso, and was bolstered by the arrival of special counsel Arturo Guerrero, who joined the firm from Sáenz & Asociados in August 2020. Since publication, the practice has been significantly augmented with the hire of penal specialist José Francisco Madrigal, as counsel - formerly at his own eponymous boutique, his brief is to develop the firm’s white-collar crime capability; additionally, Guerrero has been raised to the partnership - effective as of May 2022.

Practice head(s):

Mauricio París; Mariela Hernández


‘Mauricio Paris is excellent. He is extremely thorough and attentive in his work. He has the perfect combination of academic curiosity and practical instinct. His knowledge always stands out.’

‘The firm has highly trained litigation lawyers who focus on service, explaining the processes to the client in a clear and precise way. They seek to resolve any issue that is requested of them.’

‘This team stand out for the interest they take in clients’ cases and their knowledge of the processes clients need to follow. What I have liked most is their availability to deal with my queries and their knowledge of the sector I work in.’

‘The fact that you can speak to a partner – in this case Mauricio Paris – and get his advice before working with an associate makes me feel special. Mauricio Paris has always been very forthright and extremely knowledgeable. Mauricio Rapso has been very helpful and responsive. The transparency and responsiveness is a welcome change from other firms I have used in the past.’

‘The personal treatment and hands-on approach make ECIJA unique. They are also very smart and look outside the box. Mauricio Paris and Mauricio Rapso make you feel like a partner instead of a client.’

‘What makes this practice unique is their knowledge of the industry, their willingness to understand the client’s business, and their communication skills and constant contact and follow-up. Mauricio Paris and Mauricio Rapso stand out for their responsiveness, dedication to their clients, and ongoing and clear communication. In addition, the management of billing and investment of time in cases is a bonus for clients.’

‘We have had a long and productive relationship with partner Mariela Hernandez, characterised by diligence, competence and commitment. She is clear, direct, thorough and responsive.’

‘The team stand out for their rapid response times. They are always available and always attentive. They are practical and don’t complicate matters.’

Key clients






Coca Cola Femsa


Panamerican Life Insurance



Work highlights

  • Representing Inprotsa in a complex dispute with Del Monte involving at least three different cases, all relating to the execution of a $26m arbitral award in favour of Del Monte and the destruction of 800 hectares of pineapple crops.
  • Represented the French shipping company CMA-CGM in two lawsuits, one filed by a transportation service provider in Costa Rica for breach of contract and collection of damages, and one filed against APL (a shipping company acquired by CMA) by a client alleging breach of contract and damages.
  • Represented Honduran company Comercia y Exportación Comex in an international arbitration proceeding against a Costa Rican publisher related to the publication of educational texts for public schools in Honduras.

Costa Rica > Labour and employment Tier 2

The employment law team at ECIJA provides key support to clients managing employees at the national and international level. The firm offers assistance in a broad range of matters, including discrimination claims brought by employees, compliance with data privacy law, and collective bargaining and union negotiation. The team is headed by the 'extraordinaryDaniel Valverde and represents high-profile clients including Pfizer and DHL, from such sectors as pharmaceuticals, energy, agroindustry, direct services, education, retail and tourism.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Valverde


‘Deep knowledge of the subject, applied to the operation of companies. The ability to provide immediate attention to the urgent needs of the client. It is the best labour practice with which our company has worked in the last ten years: the availability, accessibility and practicality of the partners has been unique.’

‘Daniel Valverde is an extraordinary attorney, has a deep understanding of employment law, and takes the time to understand the client.’

Key clients



Productora y Exportadora de Frutas y Verduras (Fruver)


GSD International School





Grupo Sega


Pitzer College

Quálitas Seguros


Mercantil Farmacéutica (Mefasa)


Work highlights

  • Advised Pfizer on the legal separation of the Upjohn division and assisted in the transfer of employees to the newly created entities in Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Advised Fruver on negotiations with the two unions in the company.
  • Advised former employees of CFE, Mexico’s public electricity company, on filing a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, claiming that their right to due process was violated when their employment with the company was terminated.

Costa Rica > Real estate Tier 2

With 'extensive knowledge' of real estate, the Costa Rican practice of global firm ECIJA continues to assist a local and international client base, including advising on changing government regulations. The team is headed by Guillermo E. Zúñiga, who specialises in complex high-value real estate transactions, and supported by Alejandro Montealegre, an expert in the agricultural export and urban development sectors, and associate Ana Cristina Mora. The group advises on a diverse array of matters, not limited to environmental issues, the acquisitions of real estate assets, construction agreements, due diligence processes and the obtaining of finance facilities. The team's client roster extends across the agriculture, real estate, tourism and hospitality sectors. The arrival of Álvaro Quesada, who joined the firm from Aguilar Castillo Love in November 2020, further strengthened the team.

Practice head(s):

Guillermo E. Zúñiga


‘ECIJA is very professional and they have extensive knowledge on the subject of real estate.’

‘We receive a personalised service from ECIJA’s senior partners.’

‘They give immediate attention to important matters, with a high level of perseverance to bring matters to a successful conclusion.’

‘The team stands out for its availability (including outside of business hours when necessary), great attention to the client’s individual needs, professional support across a diverse range of matters, with a personal touch that creates a pleasant working relationship.’

Key clients

Tap Holdings

Costa Rica Dream Makers

RCI Painting

Blue Spirit Costa Rica

Recap Investments– Playa Lagarto Eco-Resort

Mar Vista

Arenal Maleku

Ladera del Mar

KMA Managment Group

Grupo Istmo De Papagayo

Playa De Las Palmitas

Arenas Del Mar Hotel

Centurion Projects and Development

Fonda Jaco


Tierra Sonada De Santa Teresa Development

Cayuga Collection

Work highlights

  • Advised Riviera Del Mar Azul (RDM) on subdividing a large portion of land as part of a development named Mar Vista.
  • Performed due diligence for Tap Holdings on certain real estate assets.
  • Advised Arenas Del Mar Hotel on restructuring the current assets and liabilities of the company.

Costa Rica > Intellectual property Tier 3

At ECIJA, the intellectual property team employs its secure Virtual ECIJA meeting platform to provide a secure and legally enforceable virtual space to address the needs of its clients. Led by associate Monserrat Soto Roig, a specialist in IP legislation, it advises on the full range of issues, including regulatory matters, image rights, IP agreements, conflict resolution, trade marks, distinctive signs, copyright, patents, industrial models, interactive advertising and sponsorship. The team assists a mixture of companies on the regional and international level, across a diverse range of industries from sports, fashion and books to marketing services and music.

Practice head(s):

Monserrat Soto Roig


‘They have the ability to pick up on the most topical legal issues.’

‘The team has a high capacity for work and an awareness of current legal matters.’

Key clients

FifPro Commercial Enterprises

Fundes Digital

Agua Dulce


Costa Rica Fashion Week (CRFW)

Panama Fashion Week (PTYFW)


Work highlights

  • Assisted FifPro Commercial Enterprises with the filing of trade marks in Ecuador, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Chile in four classes.
  • Assisted Agua Dulce with the drafting of an agreement for the production of leisure wear.
  • Assisted Mulleoni with an IP assessment on its website as well as with the protection of its trade mark.

Costa Rica > Tax Tier 4

Protecting clients against audits and tax adjustments imposed by the tax authorities, and advising on obtaining tax credits in the face of recent changes to income tax and VAT are among the many services offered by the team at ECIJA. Led by Mariela Hernández, the team acts for a client portfolio spread across a broad span of sectors, including agriculture, real estate, beverages, energy and tourism. The group’s other services extend to providing advice on tax planning and contingencies and handling judicial and administrative proceedings. The team remains ahead of the curve technologically, assisting clients through the custom Virtual ECIJA meeting platform.

Practice head(s):

Mariela Hernandez

Central America > Corporate and finance Tier 3

Spanish firm ECIJA expanded into several jurisdictions in Central America and the Caribbean in 2018 through a merger with regional firm Expertis Legal - and has since merged with local firms to launch offices in Panama and Guatemala. The firm is particularly strong for corporate work, with experience in the establishment of new companies, M&A and corporate restructurings, acting for a range of regional and international clients. Guillermo E Zúniga is the key name for corporate matters in Costa Rica. In Nicaragua, Edmundo Castillo and María Antonieta Fiallos handle corporate and finance matters, while in El Salvador, Alfredo Navas and Carlos Gil lead the growing banking and finance practice. Rosalinda Cruz Sequeira is the key contact in Honduras, and Armando Cordoba and Daniel Shamah handle corporate matters in Panama.

The firm: ECIJA is a European law firm with headquarters in Spain and offices in Portugal, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and El Salvador. ECIJA has a multidisciplinary team of over 750 professionals, with exceptional experience in their areas of specialization, enabled to work in different jurisdictions, with extensive knowledge of the different industries and international markets. ECIJA is a client-focused law firm with the agility and personal service of a high-end boutique firm and the multidisciplinary experience of a large firm. ECIJA is a full-service firm with significant experience and specialized in the practice areas required by international clients to invest and operate globally.

ECIJA international capacity is outstanding, the firm offers integrated cross-border advice. Since 2019, ECIJA has merged with 16 law firms and has become the largest Spanish law firm in Latin America. Nowadays, ECIJA has 29 own offices in 16 countries. Furthermore, in 2019 ECIJA signed the biggest strategic agreement between a Spanish and Chinese firm being a joint venture with the 4th largest firm in China (Grandall Law). The agreement brought together 3,500 lawyers and 54 offices in Iberia, Latin America and Asia. “To put that in perspective, that is comparable with CMS and Norton Rose Fulbright, some of the biggest firms in the world by headcount.”

Main areas of practice
Corporate: the firm provides corporate and M&A services for both local and international clients. The practice in M&A is multi-jurisdictional, focused on transactions with a regional component in Central America and Caribbean markets. The team is trained in legal project management tools in order to control time and cost of any transaction.

Dispute resolution: ECIJA has a strong practice for dispute resolution both in local courts and arbitration. The disputes include commercial, civil, investment and government. Regarding arbitration, the firms has a regional practice of several partners with strong experience and skills in international arbitration using the ICC, AAA and UNCITRAL rules, and also with local rules in each country.

Technology and data privacy: ECIJA in one of the leading firms in LatAm for technology and data privacy practices. The team focused on technology industry for complex transactions, M&A and software developments.

Employment and human rights: the firm has a strong practice on employment matters from the employer perspective. The services include litigation, technology issues related to the employment, company’s restructuring, immigration and compliance. ECIJA’s practice in human rights is focused on compliance with international standards in five areas: gender, age, functional diversity, social origin, and diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Administrative and infrastructure: the services provided by ECIJA range from managing regulatory aspects of the relationship from the regulatory point of view between the client and the government throughout the execution of agreements with public entities.

Energy: ECIJA is one of the most recognized and acknowledged law firms in the structuring and development of energy projects in the Central American region because of its vast experience in the field. The services include regulatory aspects related to obtaining licenses and authorizations, as well as the contractual aspects of negotiating agreements for electricity purchase with distribution companies. The relevant experience and knowledge of energy project developments also covers construction and financing agreements.

Competition/merger control: ECIJA advises large US, European and Latin American corporations in antitrust and merger control investigations at national and cross-border level. Clients come from a several sectors, having strong expertise in regulated industries such as telecom and ICTs.

Foreign investment: ECIJA has a regional legal team that is prepared to advise foreign investors on how to structure their investment in any country of the region, including aspects such as obtaining the benefits of various tax incentive regimes and dealing with customs issues that come up when importing or exporting goods and services.

Real estate: ECIJA is a well-known player in the real estate market in Costa Rica.  The team has developed special capacities in the development of multi-purpose projects, including housing, commercial, offices and leisure spaces.  ECIJA provides its services to developers of projects up to individual investors willing to have a second home or retirement place in Costa Rica.  ECIJA advises the developers from the acquisition of the land through the permit process until a final product is delivered to the customers, acting as a business partner of its clients with the tools of legal project management.  The practice is fulfilled with the experience of the partners in the construction industry.

The opening in 2019 of the office in Flamingo, Guanacaste and in 2020 of the office in Nosara, Guanacaste, have strengthened the practice on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Tax: ECIJA is a team of strongly committed professionals reputed to thoroughly address their clients’ needs involving taxation.  ECIJA provides insightful advice on local and international tax issues pertaining to businesses endeavors and personal concerns.  In addition, they are effective litigators and have obtained significant awards on tax claims and suits, on behalf of their clients.

ECIJA’s tax law practice focuses in two main areas: legal advice and litigation, for both national and municipal taxes.  ECIJA’s legal advice ​provides specialized advisory services, tax contingencies analysis and tax planning.  The litigation area ​handles tax claims in the administrative venue and judiciary processes.  International taxation queries ​are also prevalent.  The current international investment surge has triggered an array of tax advisory services in connection with international tax issues.

Dispute Resolution, TMT, Corporate Mauricio 4000 1141
Johanna Gutierrez : Communication and Marketing

ECIJA GPA strengthens its presence in Ecuador with the opening of a new branch in Cuenca

ECIJA GPA expands its team by integrating the law firm Estudio Central of Cuenca.

ECIJA GPA strengthens its presence in Ecuador with the opening of a new office in Manta

ECIJA GPA starts the year reinforcing its team with Ingrid Rodriguez as the new partner of the Manta office.