Mr Jose Vicente Zapata > Holland & Knight > Bogota, Colombia > Lawyer Profile

Holland & Knight
CARRERA 7 #71-21

Work Department

Energy | Environment | Natural Resources | International and Cross Border Transactions |Corporate Services | Mergers and Acquisitions | Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors' Rights | Latin America Practice | Colombia Practice | Israel Practice | Mining | Pipelines |Climate Change | Class Action Litigation and Arbitration | Anti-Corruption and FCPA |Compliance Services | International Arbitration and Litigation | Wind Energy | Renewable and Alternative Energy | China Practice


Equity Partner


José Vicente Zapata is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Bogotá office with more than 25 years of experience in the natural resources sector. He focuses his practice on corporate and commercial matters with an emphasis on the environment, energy and natural resources, regulatory and contractual issues, as well as in corporate compliance and liability cases, including FCPA. Mr. Zapata co-chairs the firm’s Venezuela Focus Team, a group of partners who assists clients with interests in the country.

Mr. Zapata represents electric, oil, gas, mining, agrochemical and industrial companies. In addition, he regularly advises clients in the structuring of foreign investment transactions, corporate reorganizations, and mergers and acquisitions as well as matters of environmental liability and judicial proceedings such as class action and international claims.

Throughout his career, Mr. Zapata has served on various boards of directors and has headed numerous successful companies. He has represented clients in many of the largest transactions made in Colombia to date in the energy, mining, oil and gas sectors, in addition to assisting a range of companies in entering the energy market, obtaining mining and oil and gas concessions and structuring the contractual arrangements for such purposes. More recently, Mr. Zapata has been very active in renewable energy projects, and has led both wind farm and solar ventures. Mr. Zapata has also participated actively in key financing and structuring of transactions in these sectors.

Mr. Zapata has participated in critical environmental liability cases and class action litigation in Colombia. Of particular importance is his participation in complex cases where communities and companies discuss their corresponding rights and in prior public consultations, and environmental permits and authorizations.

Mr. Zapata has acted as co-counsel in major international commercial and investor-state arbitrations, involving sensitive international judicial matters of Colombian interest under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rules. These matters focus in energy and natural resources concerning disputes across the oil and gas, electricity, infrastructure and mining sectors.

Beyond his law practice, Mr. Zapata has served as professor of corporate responsibility, environmental liability and sustainable development at Universidad Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Universidad de Los Andes and Universidad Externado de Colombia.


English - Spanish - French


  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research, International Environmental Law (E-Learning)
  • Yale School of Management, Executive Management Program for Lawyers
  • Bureau Veritas, ISO 14001 Lead Auditor, International Law
  • McGill University, LL.M., Sustainable Development and International Business Law
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, J.D.

Lawyer Rankings

Colombia > Corporate and M&A

Holland & Knight’s ‘very capable’ 12-strong practice is led by managing partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, a renowned figure who is ‘very respected in the market’. Additional key participation comes from the energy-focused José Vicente Zapata and IP and antitrust specialist Danilo Romero, who led the advice to Barcelona-based fashion and beauty group Puig on its acquisition of a minority stake in Loto del Sur. In other work examples, the team is advising two energy sector companies on the structuring of an alliance with a third relevant market player for the purposes of co-developing energy projects in the country. Associate Lucas Saffon-López is also noted.

Colombia > Dispute resolution > Litigation

Primarily acting for multinationals with operations in Colombia, Holland & Knight fields an ‘outstanding’ multi-disciplinary practice group that is ‘available 24/7’. Led by Alberto Zuleta, who finds solutions ‘to the toughest problems’, the eight-strong team also includes energy – and energy disputes – specialist José Vicente Zapata (who is highlighted both for his expertise and because he is ‘always hands-on, supervising and working directly on your requests’) and executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón. The practice is currently representing a mining company in several constitutional claims for the protection of fundamental rights regarding ethnic communities. Among other recent highlights, the team continues to defend a telecoms company against a claim brought by a distributor for breach of contract. Associates Juan Casallas and Daniel Fajardo are also noted.

Colombia > Energy and natural resources

(Leading individuals)

José Vicente ZapataHolland & Knight

Clients particularly value Holland & Knight’s ‘proximity’ and availability to attend to urgent issues in a timely fashion, providing ‘concrete results and showing a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the client’. The practice covers the full scope of energy and natural resources work, with an emphasis on environmental law. The 13-strong team is led by the highly recommended José Vicente Zapata, who has over 20 years’ experience in the sector; Zapata and associate Margarita Solorza are noted for their ‘constant support’. The practice reinforced the oil-and-gas desk with the incorporation of Inés Elvira Vesga, who formerly led the hydrocarbons practice at Norton Rose Fulbright, which has now left the Colombian market. The team is currently advising several international independent oil-and-gas companies and miners in relation to regulatory and environmental matters, including representation in legal proceedings such as class actions and damages suits, related to their operations in the country.