Firm Profile > Holland & Knight > Bogota, Colombia

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

Environment Tier 1

Holland & Knight is widely respected for its deep and broad environmental focus, which encompasses a comprehensive spread of regulatory and compliance issues, corporate support matters, permitting and certifications, and top administrative and judicial litigation. In terms of industry strengths, the team is best known for its expertise in the energy and natural resources sector, but it also acts for private and public sector clients in the food, beverage, transport and construction sectors, among others. A longstanding authority in the field, practice head José Vicente Zapata has 'an impressive practical sense and never limits himself to just answering what the law says', leads the 15-associate strong team. Senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas, who focuses on public law, arbitration, and constitutional and administrative litigation; and associates Margarita Solorza (corporate and litigation), and Camila Del Villar (environmental law), render key support.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

We highlight the presence of José Vicente Zapata, who is definitely the soul of Holland & Knight’s environmental practice. His practicality and knowledge of the operations of his clients, makes his participation and that of his team in the affairs of the company, friendly, without losing the critical analysis and correct and timely recommendations, so much so that we feel he is part of the organisation’s work team. Finally, José Vicente’s team goes through a process of training and team building, which generates a lot of confidence and tranquility when working with any lawyer who has been trained at his school‘.

José Vicente Zapata stands out in this area. As a partner of the firm, he always strives to understand the client’s needs and provide comprehensive advice. José Vicente has an impressive practical sense and never limits himself to just answering what the law says, but goes further and tries to explain how the law may or may not affect the client’s business. In addition, Jose Vicente provides excellent customer service as he is always attentive to answering the emails that are sent to him and to meeting the deadlines that are agreed with him‘.

It is a very organised team, with a lot of knowledge of the subject, very agile in the requirements and always complying with the proposed times. The team is very well articulated and they have a lot of knowledge on environmental issues‘.

In general, the team works very well. Their strength is being able to balance lawyers with a strong theoretical foundation with lawyers with a very practical sense. This allows their opinions to be duly supported by the law but attending to the client’s business needs. In environmental law issues, they also stand out for their creativity and in not limiting themselves to giving text book answers, but, actually trying to solve clients’ legal problems‘.

Customer service, the importance given to the different issues, the opportunity in their responses, the warmth of the people, the knowledge and handling of the legislation, the experience put at the service of providing the best alternative solutions‘.

Arbitration Tier 2

Holland & Knight's disputes practice excels in arbitration, with notable firepower in complex, multi-jurisdictional cases. Primarily acting for multinationals with operations in Colombia, the practice undertakes local and international investment and commercial arbitration, which is handled by two reputed partners who also both have experience sitting as arbitrators. Executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, who currently divides his time between Bogotá and Washington, has been on the ICSID roster of arbitrators since 2000; with past experience in investment cases throughout the region, more recently he has acted as arbitrator in two ICSID cases, and also has extensive experience in ICC and CIETAC tribunals. As party counsel, Gómez-Pinzón paired up with practice head Alberto Zuleta to represent a contractor against a state-owned entity in ICC arbitration. Zuleta, in turn, who has extensive experience operating within the ICSID and UNCITRAL frameworks, as well as under local arbitration centre rules, has been active of late as party counsel to a hydrocarbons company, and is acting as arbitrator in two ICC cases. With over ten years' experience, senior counsel Juan Casallas focuses on public law, arbitration, and constitutional and administrative litigation.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

Holland & Knight’s dispute resolution group knows how to handle the dynamics of a judicial process and they have high standards of experience in each of the disputes they advise’.

Alberto Zuleta’s high experience in judicial and arbitration processes allows him to generate confidence in the client, knowing that his dispute is in the best hands‘.

Energy and natural resources Tier 2

Led by the 'excellent' Jose Vicente Zapata, Holland & Knight's 16-strong energy and natural resources team that receives fulsome praise, with clients highlighting 'proximity', 'response times as well as transversal and comprehensive solutions'. The practice covers the full scope of energy and natural resources work, with an emphasis on environmental law. Senior counsels Inés Elvira Vesga, who focuses on hydrocarbons; and Daniel Fajardo, who advises energy, oil, gas and mining companies on regulatory issues and M&A, are key practitioners and contacts. On the contentious side, senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas (public law, administrative and constitutional litigation; arbitration) and associate Estefanny Pardo also provide relevant support.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

Response times as well as transversal and comprehensive solutions are the strength of the team. It does stand out favourably compared to other firms’.

The effectiveness and practicality of the proposed solutions. Outstanding: José Vicente Zapata and associates Inés Vesga, Estefany Pardo and Daniel Fajardo’.

The deep knowledge of mining and oil law from the firm’s lawyers.  What I would highlight most is the excellent balance between a deep theoretical knowledge and a great sense of practicality. Although in environmental law, José Vicente Zapata does an excellent job, in the energy and natural resources team the entire team seems to have excellent qualities to provide a good service. It does stand out from the competition and I do not know of another multi-service firm with an energy team at this level’.

José Vicente Zapata has excellent knowledge of mining, oil and environmental law, which added to his great practical sense and his excellent customer service make him stand out from his competitors. Likewise, senior counsel Daniel Fajardo has excellent knowledge of these three issues – the quality of his work is unquestionable’.

José Vicente Zapata stands out for his knowledge of the hydrocarbons and the environmental areas. He is excellent’.

Key clients

Novum Energy Colombia

Litigation Tier 2

Handling top tier commercial, administrative and constitutional litigation, Holland & Knight's multi-disciplinary practice fields three renowned specialist partners. Practice head Alberto Zuleta is a litigator and arbitrator who also undertakes antitrust investigations and unfair competition cases. The practice has a notable sweet spot in all-type disputes related to the energy sector, particularly those presenting environmental or community aspects, where energy and natural resources head José Vicente Zapata brings his expertise to bear. Prestigious corporate and transactional figure, executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón is also active in the area, especially in arbitration. The eight-strong group also includes senior counsel Juan Casallas who focuses on public law, constitutional and administrative litigation; and associate Estefanny Pardo who acts in environmental and mining litigation.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

Holland & Knight’s dispute resolution group knows how to handle the dynamics of a judicial process and they have high standards of experience in each of the disputes they advise’.

Alberto Zuleta’s extensive experience in judicial and arbitration processes allows him to generate confidence in the client, knowing that his dispute is in the best hands‘.

Banking and finance Tier 3

Holland & Knight's multidisciplinary team is particularly valued for its origination of ‘creative and practical solutions when establishing financing structures for complex or unusual projects'.  The eight-strong practice group, which fields three expert partners, covers the gamut of finance matters. Managing partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, whose well-established trajectory combines handling cross-border investment and project finance, with international arbitration, heads the team. Lucas Saffon-López, promoted to the partnership in January 2020, advises on structured finance, among other matters; while José Vicente Zapata primarily advises energy clients such as his recent advisory on GeoPark issuance of senior notes under Rule 144A/Reg S. The firm's international network also provides solid backing, with Miami-based Norberto Quintana, in particular, a frequent participant in matters related to Colombia. Relevant support comes from senior counsels Carolina Arciniegas and Juliana Saa.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

Holland & Knight’s team has been working with FDN for several years in defining legal aspects of the products and projects in which we were involved. We always receive an excellent legal service tailored to the needs of the bank‘.

Norberto Quintana is our main reference partner. Norberto and his team were always very attentive to our demands. Senior associate Juliana Saa was also at the forefront of complex operations. The service of the H&K lawyers always seemed very personalized and participative in all the needs of the bank‘.

Juliana Saa and Norberto Quintana are two people of exceptional personal and professional qualities. Their positive and solution-focused attitude is very positive for the development of transactions‘.

High level of commitment, specialised knowledge and focus on excellence‘.

A highly capacitated team with invaluable experience and a very high willingness and work capacity‘.

It is a team that looks for creative and practical solutions when establishing financing structures for complex or unusual projects‘.

Key clients

GeoPark Limited

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN)

Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Holland & Knight shines in complex international mergers of large commercial groups in Colombia. The group provides a broad service on corporate governance, compliance and risk management, advising as well on financing and growth opportunities. Highly-reputed executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón co-heads the 11-strong department, and focuses on cross-border investment and financing, M&A, as well as in international arbitration and project financing. Fellow co-head Lucas Saffon-López, promoted to the partnership January 2020, additionally handles transactions with a real estate component.  Bringing extra bench-depth, the energy-focused José Vicente Zapata and IP and antitrust specialist Danilo Romero are active in the sector. Senior counsel Daniel Fajardo, and associates Maria Isabel Romero and Juliana Archila are also relevant members of the team.

Testimonials

Fantastic legal services delivered by a very capable team with unmatched responsiveness in the market‘.

Danilo Romero Raad, Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, Lucas Saffon-López and Juliana Archila are highlighted‘.

Key clients

Cemex Colombia

Breccia Salud

Centros Comerciales Único

Puig

Hemisphere Media Group

ACN

Public law Tier 3

Holland & Knight's practice has a focus on contentious work relating to public environmental law matters, acting for major mining, oil and gas, and construction companies. The group advises on jurisprudence from the Constitutional Court and the Council of State on matters such as popular consultations, prior consultation and constitutional claims for the protection of fundamental rights, as well as undertaking local and international arbitration. Energy and natural resources leader José Vicente Zapata and experienced litigator Alberto Zuleta (also head of the firm's dispute resolution area) co-head a ten-strong practice group that provides 'excellent customer service and pragmatism'. Senior counsel Juan Casallas, particularly noted for his 'substantive knowledge of administrative and constitutional law', is also a key member of the practice group.

 

Testimonials

HK’s practice in public law is good because it has lawyers with a great knowledge of administrative and constitutional law‘.

Substantive knowledge of administrative and constitutional law in Colombia, particularly that of lawyer Juan Casallas. Juan’s substantive knowledge, with the excellent customer service and pragmatism of Jose Vicente Zapata and Alberto Zuleta, make it easy to work with this team on issues of public law. A point to highlight is that this team does not “accommodate to” what the client asks for, but they truly provide an objective and responsible advice, not just to please the client‘.

We require lawyers with solid and deep knowledge in environmental and procedural matters. Compared to other teams of professionals from other offices, Holland & Knight has top-quality environmental specialists who efficiently contribute to meet our consulting needs‘.

They are always willing to collaborate with us. It is a robust team, prepared in a real and effective way to act immediately to our needs. They have good communication skills and a willingness to collaborate, especially Jose Vicente Zapata, Estefanny Pardo and Jonathan Sánchez‘.

Competition and antitrust Tier 4

With an orientation towards IP, copyright, consumer and data protection law, Holland & Knight is praised for its 'customer service, business orientation and its ability to attend to urgent matters'. Under the leadership of Danilo Romero, a reputed and specialised litigator, the four-strong practice handles investigations and merger controls before the SIC, as well as contentious matters related to restrictive commercial practices and unfair competition. Associate Bettina Sojo brings noteworthy support.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

The team led by Danilo Romero is highly trained and committed. It is characterised by providing timely advice, with a business orientation and practical application. Additionally, they attend to requests and inquiries with a speed that few law firms offer in this matter‘.

Customer service, business orientation and its ability to attend to urgent matters‘.

Key clients

Ole Communications

Breccia Salud

Sm Educación

Otestra

Mónica Viviana Cristancho González

Yum! Restaurants International

Pegatex Artecola

Cariola Diez-Perez Cotapos

Intellectual property Tier 4

Holland & Knight's five-strong practice is under the leadership of litigator Danilo Romero and has a sweet spot in trade mark prosecution and IP litigation - although it also shines in trade mark portfolio management. Serving local and international companies in various sectors, the group renders specialised advice to the publishing, music, software and audio-visual industries on the negotiation and drafting of contracts relating to copyright. Also heading the office's competition area, Romero focuses on antitrust litigation, consumer protection law, copyright and data protection, and is also versed in media and entertainment law. Associate Bettina Sojo, who handles IP litigation proceedings, is also noted.

Testimonials

They are very professional in what they do and their knowledge on the issues shows’.

They are very friendly, always ready to find a solution for any problem that may arise with very short response times. We always work with Danilo Romero and last year Bettina Sojo accompanied us.

Key clients

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Restaurante MUY

Acerías de Colombia

Otestra

Major League Baseball Properties

Bridgewood Capital

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Pegatex Artecola

Anciano & Ayala Abogados – Linio Colombia

Organización Terpel

Labour and employment Tier 4

Holland & Knight's labour, employment and benefits practice is led by Vicente Umaña, who has held senior positions supervising labour relations in Colombia and regionally at Citibank and IBM, and has extensive experience developing and implementing labour legal strategies for corporations, managing relationships with Colombian labour unions, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements. Focusing on labour relations, senior counsel Isabella Gandini - who formerly led Norton Rose Fulbright's labour practice - is also a key member of the six-strong team. Associates Jimena Nieto, Camilo García and Carolina Castro provide relevant support.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Lenovo

Ediciones SM

Crepes & Waffles

Linde Colombia

Inversiones Dama Salud – Sonria

Apergy Colombia

Asociación Colombiana de Medios de Información (AMI)

Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas (FLAR)

Plural Comunicaciones

Novum Energy

Braserv Petroleo (Colombia)

Litomedica

Projects Tier 4

Holland & Knight is primarily active on the project finance side of 4G road infrastructure projects. Norberto Quintana and Enrique Gomez-Pinzon  are the key practice contacts, with Colombian infrastructure promotion agency Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) a major client.

Tax Tier 4

Holland & Knight’s tax team provides advice on international and national transactional tax and on currency exchange matters, as well as offering preventive advisory and handling litigation proceedings. Juan Carlos Valencia, who has consolidated a 20-year track record in dealing with tax controversies before the DIAN, municipal tax authorities and the State Council, heads the four-strong practice. Associate María Kamila Pineda is well-versed in the incorporation of national and foreign companies and their branches; while associate Rafael Lafont has extensive experience in foreign exchange, in-bound and out-bound investment projects and double taxation matters. All are praised for their quick response capacity, understanding the needs of the client and being proactive.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They handle the topics in a practical and simple way’.

When we require some information, the answer is quick and clear, whether you have consulted directly with Juan Carlos Valencia or with one of the lawyers on his team, María Kamila Pineda or Rafael Lafont’.

Firstly, they have a very quick response capacity and they understand perfectly when the client needs something urgently and they act accordingly. On the other hand, they have extensive knowledge on all the queries we make and are very proactive in letting us know if they think that any new law or regulation may affect the client’.

With all the professionals of the office with whom we have had contact, their level of knowledge in taxes is very high and very focused on the business that our company carries out. Rafael Lafont has excellent customer service and our business is not easy to understand, however he has become familiar with our business and perfectly understands all our needs’.

Key clients

Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina

Autorregulador del Mercado de Valores

Natura Cosméticos

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 U.S.-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
 Juan Casallas photo Juan Casallas Senior Counsel
 Daniel Fajardo photo 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
 Juliana Saa photo 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