Arias > San Salvador, El Salvador > Firm Profile

El Salvador

El Salvador > Banking and finance Tier 1

The banking and finance team at Arias acts for local and international banks and financial institutions, advising on high-value, multi-jurisdictional financial transactions. Described by clients as ‘true strategic partners‘, team members offer assistance with the full range of matters, including debt restructuring, loan agreements, equity investments, asset securitisation, due diligence and project finance. The team is led by Roberta Gallardo, who also heads the M&A practice, structured financing expert Luisa Rivas, experienced negotiator Ana Mercedes López and investment project specialist Carolina Lazo. It is supported by new partner Mario Lozano and senior associates Adán Araujo and Rafael Burgos. The group’s client roster includes international names such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank of Nova Scotia and Citibank, and spans the banking and financial services, hospitality and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Ana Mercedes López; Roberta Gallardo; Luisa Rivas; Carolina Lazo


‘Arias is a team that stands out for its technical and professional capabilities. They are true strategic partners in their advice on the management of the client’s business.’

‘Arias has a team of lawyers who are always available and prepared to advise on any case.’

‘Roberta Gallardo and Ana Mercedes Lopez get involved, with a deep understanding of each transaction, which enables them to give practical solutions in complex matters.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)


EMF Microfinance fund, AGmvK (Enabling Qapital)

The Bank of Nova Scotia



IDB Invest

Work highlights

  • Advised the IFC on a loan facility to Banco Agricola.
  • Acting as local counsel to Decameron in the negotiation and formalisation of the Salvadoran collateral package of a syndicated loan that is being arranged by Itaú.
  • Advised Inter-American Investment Corporation on the financing granted by the client and the Inter-American Development Bank in favour of CMI’s food division in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

El Salvador > Corporate and M&A Tier 1

With ‘excellent experience‘, the team at Arias continues to be a leader in the corporate and M&A practice area, advising clients involved in high-value, multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions. It also offers support with such issues as franchise matters, corporate governance, tax planning, management agreements, shareholders’ agreements and creditors’ rights issues. The group is jointly led by M&A practice head Roberta Gallardo, negotiation expert Ana Mercedes López, corporate planning and project development specialist Luisa Rivas, investment adviser Carolina Lazo, and corporate practice head and office co-managing partner Lilian Arias. They are backed by regional managing partner Armando Arias, Eduardo Ángel, who handles related litigation, Mario Lozano, who provides complementary expertise in banking and finance matters, and senior associate Adán Araujo. The team represents a portfolio of international clients that includes Telefonica, the Bank of Nova Scotia and Unilever, across sectors ranging from telecoms, food, banking and energy, to construction, infrastructure and consumer goods.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Gallardo; Luisa Rivas; Carolina Lazo; Lilian Arias; Ana Mercedes López


‘Lilian Arias and Ana Mercedes López are lawyers who always understand the needs of their clients and provide added value, efficiency and practicality to all that is assigned to them.’

‘The team is very well qualified, with a lot of knowledge in legal matters and excellent experience.’

‘The firm has been very conscientious in collecting fees during the pandemic. But the biggest novelty is that they are always up to date and aware of the new laws, ready to give an opinion on new issues and also able to give clients practical and realistic advice.’

Key clients

Telefonica Centroamerica Inversiones, Telefónica and TLK Investments


Grupo Econ

Suez International

Sonsonate Solar


Work highlights

  • Advising Suez International, including on tax, corporate and administrative matters.
  • Advised Unilever on the antitrust filing related to the divestment of its laundry business to Guatemalan company La Popular.
  • Advised the Bank of Nova Scotia on the sale of its entire participation in Inversiones Financieras Scotiabank El Salvador, Scotiabank El Salvador and its subsidiaries, and Scotia Seguros.

El Salvador > Dispute resolution Tier 1

With ‘extensive experience‘ in litigation and arbitration, the team at Arias remains a leader in the field, using advanced tech to implement real-time viewing of litigation procedures, in order to provide personalised solutions to national and multinational clients on a diverse spectrum of litigation, arbitration, and mediation matters. These include antitrust, tax, real estate, IP, labour, criminal, and commercial and corporate disputes. The team is headed by senior partner Eduardo Ángel, who is highlighted for his ‘deep knowledge‘, and backed by Jaime Rodríguez, a particular expert in civil litigation relating to damages and commercial disputes, and Fernando Montano, who was promoted to partner in January 2021. The group’s client roster features household names such as Citibank, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson and Philip Morris, across sectors ranging from food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tobacco, to retail, energy, financial services and telecoms.

Practice head(s):

Eduardo Ángel


‘The team is highly qualified, with a lot of knowledge in legal matters and excellent experience.’

‘Eduardo Angel, in addition to being a lawyer with a deep knowledge of legal issues, has a personality that makes it easy to address problems with a cool head and thus make the right decisions. He has a mastery of public speaking that is necessary for trials.’

‘The team at Arias has extensive experience in litigation and dispute resolution, as well as an excellent understanding of procedure, jurisprudence and the application of the law as it relates to our company. Likewise, they have an excellent and respectful attitude to all the parties involved in conflicts that help to resolve them promptly and satisfactorily.’

‘They work in a very well-coordinated way and are always available to assist with any issue.’

Key clients

Operadora del Sur (a local subsidiary of Walmart)

Banco Davivienda


Hanes Brands

AB InBev


Novartis Pharma

Banco Cuscatlán

Johnson & Johnson

Grupo Motta


YKK El Salvador

International Stores Corporation and iShop El Salvador (companies of Grupo Motta)

Distribuidora de Azúcar y Derivados (Dizucar)

Philip Morris

Fruit of the Loom

Work highlights

  • Represented Operadora del Sur (a subsidiary of Walmart) in a case involving a claim for damages by OD El Salvador (Office Depot).

El Salvador > Intellectual property Tier 2

The intellectual property and life sciences team at Arias advises national and multinational clients on a wide range of matters, including the obtaining of health permits, infringement actions, advertisement-related matters, the new applications for and renewals of IP rights, and post-registration changes. Led by Morena Zavaleta, the team is supported by senior associates Marcela Canjura, an expert in trade marks, and Elisa Gonzalez, who focuses on health registrations and regulatory matters, particularly in the life sciences sector. The group’s client roster features high-profile corporations including Phillip Morris International, the Coca-Cola Company, Walmart and Procter & Gamble, across the pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, retail, automotive and manufacturing industries, among others.

Practice head(s):

Morena Zavaleta

Key clients

Phillip Morris International

AB InBev



Natura Cosmeticos

Grupo Inditex

Coca-Cola Company


Procter & Gamble


Work highlights

  • Assisted Holcim with opposing four trade mark applications relating to the trade mark CEMSSA.
  • Assisted Fruit Shippers with opposing the registration of the trade mark BONITA CLASSIC FOODS.
  • Assisted Carbuss Indústria Catarinense de Carrocerias in filing an opposition after company Busscar De Colombia filed an application for the trade mark BUS STAR.

El Salvador > Tax Tier 2

The tax group at Arias assists clients at the national and regional levels with such matters as due diligence processes, the tax implications of setting up companies, permit processing, litigation, transfer pricing, tax planning and compliance. Led by former Director of the Internal Revenue Service Luis Barahona, and supported by senior associate César López, who has expertise in contentious and non-contentious, and associate Marianella Guidos, a specialist in customs regulations, the team represents clients across the hospitality, energy and banking sectors.

Practice head(s):

Luis Barahona

Central America > Corporate and finance

Arias has maintained its strong regional presence following the split of leading Central American firm Arias & Muñoz in 2016, and retains offices in all six countries in the region. It is highly active in multi-jurisdictional transactions, including large-scale M&A and financings, acting for leading international clients from a wide range of sectors. On the corporate side, the firm also advises on group reorganisations and investments into the region by international companies. In addition, it is well versed in debt restructuring, project finance and financial regulation. In El Salvador, the standout names for corporate and finance work include Lilian Arias and Roberta Gallardo, who heads the M&A practice. In Guatemala, Jorge Luis Arenales is highly experienced in both corporate and finance matters, particularly in highly regulated sectors, while Evangelina Lardizabal, who has significant M&A and project finance expertise, is the key contact in Honduras. Vicente Lines leads the banking and finance practice in Costa Rica, where Melania Dittel is well regarded for corporate matters. Bertha Argüello and Ana Teresa Rizo, an expert in foreign investment matters, are the names to note in Nicaragua. In Panama, Yuri Moreno and Maria Cristina Fábrega are the key contacts for corporate and finance matters, respectively.

Our firm: Arias is the leading global business law firm in Central America and the firm of choice in the region. The firm stands out for providing innovative and effective solutions that help clients achieve their business goals, while enjoying the benefits of working with an integrated firm, with presence in six countries through seven offices, 42 partners,  and 130 highly trained and experienced attorneys, with offices in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Since 1942, Arias has been setting the standards in the region by combining its global reach with local expertise, and providing a visionary outlook on the world’s business environment.

Our team: Among our staff, we have attorneys with many years of experience in several practice areas combined with young lawyers. This means our firm is constantly innovating and adapting to the needs of today’s world, which ensures we are able to offer our clients the best legal talent in the region.

Areas of practice: Arias is a full-service firm, providing advice in over 33 practice areas, with renowned specialists in each jurisdiction. Some of the firm’s main practice areas include: corporate, antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, tax, arbitration and litigation, compliance, banking and finance, intellectual property, labor law, energy, oil and gas, real estate, immigration, and general counsel services, among others.

Our focus: We make things happen. We provide creative and innovative legal solutions that add value to our clients, taking the time to know and understand their business goals, while always focused on providing reliable and accurate legal services, with their best interests in mind.

International reach: The firm advises on local and cross-border transactions, assisting some of the major international corporations doing business in the region, and also providing legal support to local clients going abroad.

Recognitions and awards: Consistently, we have been honored with important recognitions and awards such as “Firm of the Year in Central America”, “Firm of the year” in the countries we operate, “Client Service Award”, “Best Regional Firm for Women in Business  Law”, “Deal of the Year”, among other relevant regional and local awards for the firm and our members.

Equal opportunities: We promote diversity within the firm, professional growth is based on each individual’s merit regardless of the gender or ethnics.

  • 47% of our partners are women
  • 48% of our associates are women
  • 57% of our management positions are held by women
  • 100% of our managing partners are women

2,000 Pro-bono hours per year: Corporate social responsibility and Pro-bono work have always been an important part of our DNA. We believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to inspire and generate positive changes in our environment in order to achieve and ensure a better future for the next generations.

Languages spoken: Spanish, English, French, German, and Portuguese

Managing partner, Head of Corporate and M&A Roberta Gallardoroberta.gallardo@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution, Compliance and Competition Eduardo Angeleduardo.angel@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Taxes Luis Barahonaluis.barahona@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Corporate and Banking Ana Mercedes Lopezanamercedes.lopez@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Intellectual Property Morena Zavaletamorena.zavaleta@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Regional Managing Partner Armando Ariasarmando.arias@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Project Development and Energy Luisa Rivasluisa.rivas@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Head of Project Development and Environmental Carolina Lazocarolina.lazo@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Corporate and M&A Lilian Ariaslilian.arias@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Dispute Resolution Jaime Rodríguezjaime.rodriguez@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Compliance Fernando Montanofernando.montano@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partner, Banking and Finance Mario Lozanomario.lozano@ariaslaw.com503 22570900
Partners : 12
Associates : 25
Administrative Staff : 31
INTA - International Trademark Association
AIPPI (Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property)
Pacific Rim Advisory Council (PRAC)
World Law Group
IBA (International Bar Association)
Partners throughout the Central American Region : 42
Partners in El Salvador : 12