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 > Energy and natural resources

(Leading individuals)

José Vicente ZapataHolland & Knight

Led by the ‘excellentJose 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.

Colombia > Banking and finance

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.

Colombia > Environment

(Leading individuals)

José Vicente ZapataHolland & Knight

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.

Colombia > Public law

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.


Colombia > Dispute resolution > Litigation

(Leading individuals)

José Vicente ZapataHolland & Knight

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.

Colombia > Corporate and M&A

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.