Firm Profile > Leĝa Abogados > Caracas, Venezuela

Leĝa Abogados
AV. VENEZUELA, EDIFICIO ATRIUM, PISO 3
EL ROSAL
CARACAS, 1060
Venezuela

Banking and finance Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados fields a team of experienced lawyers, who advise clients on the securitisation of loans and negotiation of credit facilities, among others. The team has a particularly strong track record with Asian and middle eastern banks, including MUFG Bank and Bank Hapoalim. Practice head Miguel Rivero is an expert in financing transactions in the oil and gas sector; he assisted Suelopetrol Exploración y Producción (SEPSL) with the drafting and negotiating of receivables pledge agreements and loan agreements for the purpose of securing financing for Petrocabimas, an enterprise joint venture between SEPSL and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Luis López-Durán and José Alberto Ramírez advised Evolvere Capital on the setting up of the first private equity fund to start operations in Venezuela.

Competition and antitrust Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados has notable strengths handling investigations relating to cartels or market dominance, barriers to entry and merger control work. The team is comprised of London-based practice head José Gregorio Torrealba, as well as Rosa Virginia Superlano and Alejandro Gallotti Urbano. Following the firm's merger with Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique, it was further bolstered by the arrival of competition specialist Faustino Flamarique.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados impresses with its expertise in complex transactions; the team is particularly knowledgeable in the oil and gas field and was bolstered by the arrival of several lawyers, including Pedro Urdaneta, following the firm's merger with Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique. Juan Enrique Aigster and Luis Eduardo López-Durán jointly head the practice. The latter assisted insurer ProtegeTuViaje with the internationalisation of its operations in Latin America and the incorporation of a Chilean subsidiary. José Alberto Ramírez-León advised Linio's local company on the corporate restructuring process following its international acquisition of Falabella. Aigster and Laura Silva-Aparicio handle a variety of corporate matters for Alpina. Victoria Montero and associate Dubraska Zapiain are also noted.

Energy and natural resources Tier 1

Led by the experienced Miguel Rivero, the team at Leĝa Abogados stands out for its expertise in advising on international financing structures and regulatory matters in particular. It regularly counsels clients on the development, construction and transactional side of oil-and-gas, power and infrastructure projects. Rivero, together with junior partner José Alberto Ramírez and counsel Simón Herrera, assisted CGG with a potential agreement with PDVSA for the acquisition of marine seismic data concerning the Venezuelan seabed. Other work saw the practice group advise the Venezuelan Association of Gas Processors (AVPG) and Wood Group, among others, on various issues.

Public law Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados has a standout practice in both contentious public law matters and public procurement, with the team having developed a considerable track record and significant experience across a number of segments including transportation, electricity, oil, aviation and ports, among others. Practice head José Gregorio Torrealba is well versed in this area; his recent work highlights include representing contractor LS Cable & System in legal proceedings against state owned CANTV, which failed to pay invoices after the contractor fulfilled its duties. Torrealba also successfully represented multiple companies -including Google, Prada and Pfizer- in judicial proceedings against the Venezuelan Trademark Office regarding its failure to decide more than 190 cases. Indeed, the firm's capabilities in contentious-administrative matters in the IP sphere has led  (as of June 2019) to an association with leading IP firm Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez to jointly handle such matters. Alejandro Gallotti, Andrés Linares-Benzo and Rosa Virginia Superlano are other key team members.

Real estate Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados has a strong offering in the real estate space; the team assists clients with the full life cycle of their residential, retail, office and industrial properties. It has a particularly noteworthy track record in real estate litigation; dispute resolution expert Mark Melilli-Silva is acting for RB Inversiones in an arbitration proceeding against one of its tenants over the tenant's refusal to leave a building owned by the client. Acting for Boston Medical Device, practice head Juan Enrique Aigster negotiated and obtained a review of the lease of its office property. Lisette García-Gandica is well versed in eviction processes and is, together with associate Elias Tarbay, also noted.

Tax Tier 1

Leĝa Abogados has a strong tax practice, which advises on structures, foreign investment and foreign exchange-related matters as well as on litigation and transactions. The impressive client portfolio comprises a mix of financial institutions and local and foreign companies. Experienced practice head Jesús Sol-Gil is assisting the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) with the filing of a judicial remedy against the tax authorities’ refusal to acknowledge the client’s right to income tax exemption. He is also representing CA Química Integrada before the Tax Administration in litigation concerning adjustment in the statement of income for 2009 and 2010 for the application of changes and losses in the determination of sales costs. Other highlighted practitioners are Elina Pou and Nathalie Rodríguez-París. The team was boosted by the firm's merger with Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique in April 2019.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Leĝa Abogados handles an impressive range of matters, with particularly noteworthy experience in alternative dispute resolution and commercial litigation.  The group also has additional expertise in IP and maritime proceedings. Practice head Carlos Domínguez also represents clients in white-collar crime cases. Other noted team members include Mark Melilli Silva, José Gregorio Torrealba and Lisette García Gandica.

Labour and employment Tier 2

Leĝa Abogados has a strong track record in labour and employment disputes, particularly when it comes to advising clients on multiple contract terminations and collective bargaining matters. The team also advises on international contracting issues and labour audits. Carlos Alberto Henríquez has considerable experience defending clients from the energy, banking, construction and retail sectors. John Tucker-Barboza, who specialises in data protection and confidentiality issues, María Elena Subero and Natalia De Paz Garmendia are also part of the team. Pablo Benavente left for Grau García Hernández & Mónaco in December 2018.

LEGA is an internationally renowned, leading law firm in the Venezuelan market. At LEGA, we have a modern approach to the practice of law, supported by the use of technology and based on the values of excellence, tenacity, integrity, empathy, innovation and versatility. The firm brings together more than 500 years of experience in the practice of law and, in 2018, its partners decided to give it greater dynamism, a new image and its current name, LEGA, coming from Esperanto.

LEGA has 38 service areas, divided into 15 practice areas, covering all branches of law, and 23 industry areas, created on the basis of the extensive experience of the firm’s team in those business sectors. LEGA is one of the largest law firms in Venezuela and its lawyers have accumulated more than 40 awards, granted by the world’s most important legal publications, which have also certified the high quality of all of its practice groups.

With a strong international focus, LEGA is the preferred law firm of a high number of multinational clients in Venezuela. The firm is the exclusive member for Venezuela of Lex Mundi, the world’s most important network of independent law firms, of WORLD SERVICES GROUP, a global network that also brings together accounting and investment banking firms, and other international networks focused on specialized practices or particular jurisdictions. In Venezuela, LEGA has been a key participant in academic associations and its lawyers have been involved in leadership roles in many of them.

LEGA’s mission is to provide clients with high-level Legal advice, aimed at obtaining results in a cost-efficient manner and based on the use of technology.

Main areas of practice

Alternative dispute resolution: negotiation in complex disputes for reaching favorable settlement agreements. Mediation and conciliation proceedings as counsel, mediators or conciliators.

Arbitration: international arbitration under UNCITRAL and ICC rules, and the most complex arbitration cases in the national arena under the arbitration rules of CACC and CEDCA.

Banking and finance: Assistance to foreign banks in their business activities in Venezuela. Negotiation of credit facilities for public agencies and corporations and private companies and capital markets.

Competition: representation in investigations carried out by the Competition Authority on the grounds of cartel, dominance, barriers of entry, and merger control.

Compliance: development of compliance programs and advice on actual or potential investigations into business ethics, anti-corruption, data privacy, healthcare, environmental regulations and other matters, trade controls, customs, document management, procurement, and hazardous materials.

Corporate/M&A: advice, drafting contracts, conducting due diligence and issuing opinions on contracts and corporate structures and day-to-day advice.

Energy: upstream, midstream and downstream matters in the oil and gas sector, development, construction and financing of major oil and gas and power projects, and design of complex international financing structures.

Foreign currency exchange control: foreign currency exchange control regulations relating to exportation, importation, payment of royalties, dividends and the criteria to be applied to accountancy recording.

Immigration: advice on the relocation of expats in Venezuela. Assistance to Venezuelan clients with their settlement in other jurisdictions.

International investment: bilateral investment treaties, and local regulations for the full enforceability of the rights of international investors in Venezuela.

International trade and customs: application of The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG; the Vienna Convention), and advice on regulations applicable to Venezuelan customs and related tariffs.

Labor and employment: bargaining with unions, international contracting, labor planning and employee benefits and acting for companies before the courts and government agencies in labor matters.

Life sciences: Advice to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and suppliers, as well as stem cell laboratories, biotechnology companies, private health insurers and agribusiness companies, based on outstanding industry knowledge.

Litigation: national and international commercial, civil, maritime, and IP litigation.

Public law and regulatory: public procurement, administrative law and applications for judicial review of administrative matters and other claims before local courts and international arbitral tribunals.

Real estate: drafting and negotiation of acquisition and disposition agreements, short and long-term leasing, financing, securitization, construction, development, land use regulation and management of all types of properties and real estate-related litigation.

Tax: national, state and local taxes, tax planning, oil and mining taxes, and strategy resulting from the application of double taxation treaties. Handling complex tax implications of business transactions and tax litigation.

White-collar crime: advice on avoiding criminal sanctions for the development of businesses. Criminal investigations and litigation. LEGA is one of the few full-practice law firms in Venezuela that specializes in white collar criminal matters.

The firm’s main practice groups also act together with its highly specialized industry areas, including infrastructure and construction, digital economy, aviation, insurance and reinsurance, mining, sports, entertainment, entrepreneurship, fashion, logistics, technology, telecoms, and tourism, in order to ensure that clients receive the best possible legal advice.

Department Name Email Telephone
Arbitration Jose Gregorio Torrealba E: jtorrealba@lega.law
Competition Jose Gregorio Torrealba E: jtorrealba@lega.law
Compliance Carlos Dominguez E: cdominguez@lega.law
Corporate government Luis Lopez E: llopez@lega.law
White collar crime Carlos Dominguez E: cdominguez@lega.law
Foreign trade and customs Jesus Sol Gil E: jsol@lega.law
Forex Jesus Sol Gil E: jsol@lega.law
Foreign investment Jose Gregorio Torrealba E: jtorrealba@lega.law
Litigation Carlos Dominguez E: cdominguez@lega.law
Immigration Pablo Benavente E: pbenavente@lega.law
Mergers and aquisitions Luis Lopez E: llopez@lega.law
Alternative dispute resolution Jose Gregorio Torrealba E: jtorrealba@lega.law
Public law and regulatory Jose Gregorio Torrealba E: jtorrealba@lega.law
Tax Jesus Sol Gil E: jsol@lega.law
Energy Miguel Rivero E: mrivero@lega.law
Other fee-earners : 17
Total staff : 38
Partners : 21