Firm Profile > Holland & Knight > Bogota, Colombia

Holland & Knight
CARRERA 7 #71-21
TORRE A, PISO 8
BOGOTÁ, DC
Colombia

Environment Tier 1

The ‘excellent’ multidisciplinary team at Holland & Knight has in-depth knowledge of all issues related to land use and environmental law, covering the full spectrum of matters but with a particular focus on climate change, compliance auditing and corporate governance, energy efficiency, environmental health and safety, green building, natural resources and sustainability issues. The team acts for a number of high-profile companies in the oil-and-gas industry and has seen recent growth in its client roster in to the  food and beverage and chemicals segmments, among others. Leading the 16-strong team is José Vicente Zapata, a well-known prasence in th eenvironmental sector and natural resources' expert with over 20 years' experience – he currently focuses on corporate and commercial matters which include an emphasis on the environment, energy and natural resources. Other names to note are: Ines Elvira Vesga (who was promoted to partner in August 2021), senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas, senior associate Camila Del Villar and associate Margarita Solorza.

Practice head(s):

José Vicente Zapata

Testimonials

‘It is an excellent team with a lot of experience and practice. The lawyers know how to prioritise and understand the needs of their clients.’

‘Excellent and close attention. Quick responses.

It is a very solid team with great cohesion, knowledge and management of environmental issues, and the ability to articulate these issues with those of the sector in which the company is located, as well as great knowledge and management of regulatory issues that apply to the company. As a team they complement each other perfectly and have excellent handling.

Empathy to understand the needs of the company and the difficulties faced in the development of activities so as to provide solutions.

This area in Colombia is very demanding because it is made up of legal elements and environmental technical elements. Lawyers who handle this issue require solid legal knowledge complemented with an understanding of how the environmental authorities operate, along with environmental knowledge. I believe that H&K has a solid team and that it builds responses based on experience and risk assessment. They are people with deep knowledge and a permanent attitude of investigation and seeking solutions. They are very accomplished and efficient in responding to the needs we have as clients.

Key clients

Racafe CIA SCA

Petrobras de Valores Internacional de España (sucursal Colombia)

Sator

Emerald Energy

Lewis Energy Colombia

Syngenta

Terranum Desarrollo

TransGas de Occidente

Equión Energía

Arbitration Tier 2

Holland & Knight's Bogotá disputes practice excels in arbitration and frequently works in conjunction with its US colleagues on more complex multijurisdictional cases. The Colombia-based team undertakes local and international investment and commercial arbitration, which is handled primarily by two reputed partners, both of whom also have extensive experience sitting as arbitrators. A well-known figure in arbitral circles, Alberto Zuleta is currently sitting as an arbitrator on three domestic arbitrations and two international (ICC) arbitrations, as well as acting as counsel in two ICC and one ICSID cases. Zuleta has extensive experience acting within ICSID and UNCITRAL frameworks, as well as under local arbitration centre rules; peers regard him as 'excellent in arbitration' and as having 'a great grasp of [the relevant] non-legal matters'. Executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón divides his time between Bogotá and Washington and has been on the ICSID roster of arbitrators since 2000; with past experience in investment cases throughout the region, he is currently leading a team that is representing the Coordinating Committee of Communities affected by the Chixoy Dam in reparations negotiations with the Guatemalan government. Other current matters include representing a mining client in ICSID arbitration against the Colombian state; a major ICC proceeding and acting for clients in the oil and gas sector. Energy and environment partner Jose Vicente Zapata is also highly active in arbitral matters related to his areas of specialisation, and frequently works in close conjunction with senior counsel Juan Casallas Romero who has experience in international and domestic commercial and investment arbitration disputes -both ICSID and ICC- primarily in relation to energy, construction and natural resources disputes, as part of his broader contentious practice.

Practice head(s):

Alberto Zuleta

Testimonials

It is a team of lawyers that combines attention to detail, in-depth knowledge of the law and excellent litigation skills, which makes them undoubtedly one of the most relevant in the country.

Alberto Zuleta is one of the most important trial lawyers in the country and leads a team of great value and weight in the legal world.

Energy and natural resources Tier 2

The ‘excellent’, 15-strong team at Holland & Knight undertakes the full spectrum of oil, gas, energy and natural resources matters, as well as providing advice on environmental matters such as climate change, compliance auditing, energy efficiency, and sustainability issues, among others. Market stalwart and practice head Jose Vicente Zapata has over 20 years’ experience in the natural resources sector, representing electric, oil, gas and mining companies as well as having particular expertise in environmental matters. Raised to the partnership in August 2021, Ines Elvira Vesga is highlighted for her advice to national and foreign clients on regulatory issues and complex corporate negotiations involving petroleum agreements (in particular), but also handles matters across right across the oil, gas, and electricity sectors, along with natural resources matters in general. Senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas is another key figure in the practice group, his practice taking in public law, arbitration and administrative and constitutional litigation, largely in relation to the energy and natural resources sector, along with community and governmental affairs management, environmental liability, anti-trust proceedings and pre-merger review.  Semi-senior associate Estefanny Pardo is also a contentious specialist and is particularly active on environmental matters in the energy sector. However, former counsel Daniel Fajardo left the firm in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

José Vicente Zapata

Testimonials

It is an excellent team with a lot of experience and practice. He knows how to prioritise and understand the needs of his clients.

Very good and close attention. Immediate availability and quick responses.

Key clients

Petrobras de Valores Internacional de España (sucursal Colombia)

Sator

Emerald Energy

Lewis Energy Colombia

Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDBG)

TransGas de Occidente

Equión Energía

Corporate and M&A Tier 3

The Bogotá office of international firm Holland & Knight is a notable presence in complex international mergers involving large commercial groups in Colombia. In addition to transactional matters the team undertakes incorporations, capitalizations, regulatory matters, and handles compliance and corporate governance along with the full array of company law matters, structuring, contract review and representation before relevant authorities. Highly-regarded executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón co-leads the 11-strong department; his practice focuses on cross-border investment and financing, and M&A, as well as project financing and international arbitration. His fellow co-head, Lucas Saffon-López, was raised to the partnership in January 2020, and also handles transactions with a significant real estate component. Additional partner level support comes from the energy-focused José Vicente Zapata and IP and antitrust specialist Danilo Romero Raad are active in the sector. Recent matters include a $100m capitalization by Hemisphere Media Group; advice to Export Development Canada, as creditors, in relation to the bankruptcy proceedings of various Colombian company; and Productos Ramos on its merger with Molinos Las Mercedes. Key support comes from recently appointed associate practice director, María Isabel Romero de la Torre (corporate advisory and commercial litigation), and senior counselDaniel Fajardo (corporate and energy law); Associate María Alejandra Cabrera  is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Gomez-Pinzón; Lucas Saffon-López

Testimonials

They have an excellent team, highly trained in legal matters and problem solving. Additionally, they stand out for their commitment and excellent customer service / attention to their needs. I consider their service to be a leader in the field.

The high knowledge-levels of the members of the firm, as well as the quality of their attention to the client’s needs. Among the outstanding partners and associates, it is worth mentioning Enrique Gómez Pinzón and María Isabel Romero.

It seems to me a highly professional legal team specialised in the areas they serve.

Danilo Romero, Maria Romero and Juan Valencia are all highly professional specialists.

Key clients

Cemex Colombia

Breccia Salud

Banco General de Panamá

Lenovo

Export Development Canada

Hemisphere Media Group

Productos Ramo

Operadora de Comercio

Ashmore Management Company Colombia

EXL Service

Fundación Grupo Social

Labour and employment Tier 3

While counsel Isabella Gandini departed in November 2020 after some eighteen months at the firm, the employment and benefits practice at Holland & Knight, led by the knowledgeable Vicente Umaña, has otherwise proved remarkably stable. Umaña – whose past experience includes senior positions supervising labour relations both in Colombia and regionally, with companies such as Citibank and IBM – directs a six-strong team that covers the gamut of labour matters, including high-end and complex litigation. More generally the practice is focused on advisory matters, collective bargaining, administrative labour procedures, labour policies, and contractual and compensation matters. Key associate support comes from Carolina Castro, who handles litigation and contentious matters, including those before the Ministry of Work and social security authority UGPP, along with arbitration; Jimena Nieto, who focuses on collective negotiations, labour inspections, redundancies and labour risk-mitigation, among other matters; and Camilo García, who advises on filing labour claims and matters involving the labour courts and government institutions, particularly the UGPP. Isabella Gandini left in November 2020 to join the partnership at Deloitte Asesores y Consultores.

Practice head(s):

Vicente Umaña

Testimonials

They stand out for their practicality, for seeking a solution for the client with legal solutions tailored to the client’s needs.

Associate Maria Isabel Anaya stands out for her intelligence and practicality, as well as for her customer service.

Permanent availability, high quality and opportunity in the provision of services and deliverables. They represent the interests of their clients with great courage.

They have a great cost-benefit ratio, both for extensive jobs that require a large number of hours, and for specialised jobs that require precision and expert judgment.’

Communication is always fluid and meets customer requests and requirements with great precision. They have a global vision of the contingencies that their clients may have and are a great help to anticipate and mitigate them.’

HK Colombia’s labour law practice is of the highest level, made up of trained professionals who are always ready to collaborate with our legal advice needs. They are also professionals with high human qualities and who understand the idiosyncrasies of foreign clients.’

Carolina Castro de la Torre. She is an excellent professional, trained, with a high level of commitment and customer service. In the cases where we have received advice from her, the results have been very positive.’

Use of information technologies to be in permanent contact with customers.’

We appreciate that there is always a partner in charge as the main interlocutor. This is a very important differentiator.

The quality of the professionals is exceptional.

During the pandemic the firm was a pioneer in keeping customers informed.’

Key clients

Messer Colombia

Crepes & Waffles

Restaurantes Muy

Arthur J Gallagher

Xactly Corporation

Control de Riesgo

WEG Colombia

Drummond

Growth Acceleration Partners Colombia

Maquet Colombia (Getinge)

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas

Quality Water Services Colombia

Philips Colombiana

CSRA Colombia

Rich Chemical Green

Grupo SM Colombia

Litigation Tier 3

The Bogotá office of Holland & Knight has been far more active in arbitral matters of late, particularly on international cases in conjunction with the firm's US offices. Nevertheless, the team is accustomed to handling complex commercial, administrative and constitutional litigation, and recent matters include advising a client in the energy and natural resources segment regarding constitutional claims for the protection of fundamental rights (in relation to disputes related to prior consultation processes), as well as  fiscal liability proceedings before the Contraloría General de la República, nullity claims before the Council of State and damage reparation lawsuits, among others. The eight-strong multidisciplinary practice group includes three highly regarded and specialist partners. Increasingly active as an arbitrator, practice head Alberto Zuleta is nevertheless 'one of the most important trial lawyers in the country' and also has expertise in antitrust investigations and unfair competition cases. The practice also has particular strength in energy-sector disputes, particularly those presenting environmental or community aspects, where energy and natural resources head Jose Vicente Zapata brings his expertise to bear. Prestigious corporate and transactional figure, executive partner Enrique Gómez Pinzón is also active in the area, although again, primarily on the arbitral side. The eight-strong group also includes senior counsel Juan Casallas who focuses on public law,  and constitutional and administrative litigation; and associate Estefanny Pardo who undertakes environmental and mining litigation.

Practice head(s):

Alberto Zuleta

Testimonials

It is a team of lawyers that combines attention to detail, in-depth knowledge of the law and excellent litigation skills, which makes them undoubtedly one of the most relevant in the country.

Alberto Zuleta is one of the most important trial lawyers in the country and leads a team of great value and weight in the legal world.

Public law Tier 3

Recognised as one of the go-to firms for public law matters related to energy and natural resources, Holland & Knight is well versed in advising various major companies in the mining, oil, energy and infrastructure sectors. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach to administrative and constitutional matters, practice co-heads Alberto Zuleta, an arbitration and litigation specialist, and Jose Vicente Zapata, who is an ‘expert on environmental issues’, co-lead a 10-strong team which also advises government agencies both in defining the terms and conditions of regulations and in sensitive international judicial cases. Senior counsel Juan Casallas Romero also plays an active role in the practice, with his recent matters incuding representation of a mining company in several constitutional claims for the protection of fundamental rights before the Constitutional Court.

Practice head(s):

José Vicente Zapata; Alberto Zuleta

Testimonials

José Vicente Zapata is excellent in handling contracts with the State, especially hydrocarbons. He has excellent business acumen. And he is an expert on environmental issues.

Key clients

Equion Energía

Banking and finance Tier 4

The local office of Holland & Knight fields an eight-strong, multidisciplinary team with experience across the banking and brokerage arena. Executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón needs little introduction: a 30-year veteran of corporate transactional work, financings and project finance (and more recently, arbitration), among other areas of expertise, he co-leads the team with fellow corporate partner Lucas Saffon-López; the pair combined recently to lead advice to the FDN and Banco Davivienda on their $10.9m financing to the Bosques de los Llanos 1 solar power project. Promoted to partner in August 2021, key practitioner Juliana Saa focuses on financial law, capital markets, bank investment, and corporate and commercial law, and is a constant presence in the firm's financing teams. However, former fellow senior counsel Carolina Arciniegas left the firm in June 2020 to establish her own, eponymous boutique. Nevertheless, the firm can also call on its network - particularly the Miami office - with financial-services specialist Norberto Quintana frequently involved in mandates with a Colombian aspect.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Gómez Pinzon; Lucas Saffon-López

Key clients

MUFG Bank

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional

Banco Davivienda

Competition and antitrust Tier 4

Following on from the specialisation of the highly regarded IP expert Danilo Romero Raad, the competiiton practice at Holland & Knight's Colombia office is, perhaps, more focused on unfair competition and the IP aspects of the practice, than antitrust matters and merger filings. Nevertheless, the practice does attend to all aspects of the sector with the 'very capable and business oriented' Romero leading a 'highy professional' five-strong team that demonstrates 'quality in their work' and 'understanding of the case'. Recent matters saw experienced litigator Romero represent GE Healthcare Colombia in contentious matters before the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce. With associate Bettina Sojo currently undertaking her LLM, key support comes from Camila López Vigoya, who has a post-graduate degree in competition law.

Practice head(s):

Danilo Romero

Testimonials

Precise and timely advice. Danilo Romero is an outstanding lawyer, very capable and business-oriented.

It seems to me a highly professional legal team specialised in the areas they serve.

Their teamwork, disposition and quality of work distinguishes them from other firms, I think; Danilo Romero, Andres Nossa, Bettina Sojo and Paula Castaño – quality in their work, understanding of the case.

Key clients

Ortomec (formerly Biomec)

Acesco

Ole Communications

GE Healthcare Colombia

Intellectual property Tier 4

Holland & Knight takes on registration and enforcement of trade marks, patents, commercial names, slogans and domain names. On the copyright side, the firm advises on contracts and rights payments for entertainment clients such as publishers, audiovisual companies and theatre managers, as well as management of trade secrets. Work also covers consumer protection, antitrust and data protection. Practice head Danilo Romero Raad brought a trade mark infringement action for KFC against a former franchisee. Romero also advises Nintendo on protection of its IP rights, assisted by associate Bettina Sojo, who handles litigation and advises on data protection and unfair competition.

Practice head(s):

Danilo Romero Raad

Testimonials

They are very attentive to the client, always with the best disposition and attitude. Short response times.

Human qualities and infinite kindness to the client.

Professionalism, opportunity and security. It stands out well above the rest of its competitors. Best price-quality ratio.’

Seriousness, knowledge of legal practice, opportunity, certainty – Danilo Romero, Bettina Sojo, Camila López and Paula Castãno. They have more female than male staff and this has always been an element in which they stand out.

Key clients

Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings

Restaurante Muy

Acerías de Colombia

Otestra

Major League Baseball Properties

Nintendo of America

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Pegatex Artecola

Cala Colombia

Disagro de Guatemala

Projects Tier 4

The team at Holland & Knight is noted for having extensive experience in Colombian and Latin American environmental compliance and regulatory litigation, oil and gas projects, mining projects, project finance, foreign investment projects, mergers and acquisitions, complex corporate reorganisations and financial restructurings. Norberto Quintana and Enrique Gomez-Pinzon are the key practice contacts.

Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 1,400 lawyers and other professionals in 27 offices in the US, London, Bogota and Mexico City.

With over 35 years of experience representing clients in Latin America, Holland & Knight expanded in the region by opening an office in Bogota in 2012. It is one of the few US-based firms with a full-service office in Colombia, which allows it to play a key role in helping clients achieve their short and long-term goals. The office includes Colombian-licensed practitioners based in Bogota, in addition to lawyers who maintain dual practices with offices in both the US and Colombia.

The team offers solutions to Colombian companies with local and international legal needs as well as non-Colombian companies that wish to enter the Colombian market. Members of the team assist clients in all aspects of their business operations, with an emphasis on transactional matters and international disputes.

The Bogota office team includes Colombian-licensed practitioners based in Bogota, as well as lawyers who maintain dual practices with offices in both the US and Colombia. It provides bilingual and bicultural representation to companies in Colombia and across Latin America. The firm’s physical presence in Colombia, combined with the depth and scale of its practices, regional relationships and international reach, enables Holland & Knight to provide comprehensive and seamless legal services to its clients in the region.

Main areas of practice
Corporate services: the firm is ready to represent clients in a wide variety of legal transactions, including M&A, formation of new companies, corporate reorganizations and capitalization structures, real estate, financial services and contracts.

Taxation: services are both preventive and remedial. The team helps clients avoid tax pitfalls, as well as assisting in the efficient structuring of transactions to avoid overpayment of tax obligations.

Labor and employment: the group can provide organizations with corporate diversity and equal employment opportunity counseling, advice on union-management relations and assistance in all corporate immigration matters.

Energy/natural resources: the team leads oil and gas, energy, natural resources and mining practice in Colombia, with more than 25 years of experience in environmental compliance and regulatory litigation, oil and gas projects, mining projects, project finance, foreign investment projects, mergers and acquisitions, and complex corporate reorganizations and financial restructurings.

Environment: the team’s experience includes issues pertaining to climate change; coastal issues; compliance auditing and corporate governance; energy efficiency; environmental health and safety; environmental issues in corporate and real estate transactions; environmental permit approvals in major project development; green building; litigation, including toxic torts; natural resources; solid and hazardous waste; and sustainability issues.

Intellectual property and competition: the firm is ready to advise in all matters related with trademark and patents, as well as in copyright. The firm has the experience required to manage all kind of mergers and acquisitions following local regulations.

Litigation and arbitration: the group has the experience to coordinate, manage and supervise multijurisdictional litigation, and local and international arbitration, determining the most favourable applicable law and resolving conflicts between the laws of multiple interested jurisdictions.

Financial services: the group has the experience required to work in all kind of project finance transactions, as well as in market capital matters.

Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate services and M&A Enrique Gómez Pinzón enrique.gomezpinzon@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Taxation Juan Carlos Valencia jvalencia@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Financial services Enrique Gómez Pinzón enrique.gomezpinzon@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Energy/natural resources and environment José Vicente Zapata jose.zapata@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Intellectual property and competition Danilo Romero Raad danilo.romeroraad@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Litigation and arbitration Alberto Zuleta Londoño alberto.zuleta@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Labor and employment Vicente Umaña Carrizosa vicente.umana@hklaw.com +57.1.745.5720
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Juan Casallas photo Mr Juan Casallas Senior Counsel
Mr Daniel Fajardo photo Mr Daniel Fajardo Senior Counsel
Ms Isabella Gandini  photo Ms Isabella Gandini Senior Counsel
Mr Enrique Gomez-Pinzon  photo Mr Enrique Gomez-Pinzon Exeutive Partner of the Bogota Office
Mr Rafael Lafont  photo Mr Rafael Lafont Senior Counsel
Mr Danilo Romero Raad  photo Mr Danilo Romero Raad Partner
Ms Juliana Saa photo Ms Juliana Saa Senior Counsel
 Lucas Saffon-López  photo Lucas Saffon-López Partner
 Vicente Umaña  photo Vicente Umaña Partner
Mr Juan Carlos Valencia  photo Mr Juan Carlos Valencia Partner
Ms Ines Elvira Vesga  photo Ms Ines Elvira Vesga Senior Counsel
Mr Jose Vicente Zapata  photo Mr Jose Vicente Zapata Equity Partner
Mr Alberto Zuleta  photo Mr Alberto Zuleta Partner
Other fee-earners : 47
Total staff : 81
Spanish etc.
English
French
Italian
Chinese (Mandarin)
Partners : 6
Senior Counsels : 3
Associates : 38
Law Clerks : 6