Firm Profile > Brigard Urrutia > Bogota, Colombia

Brigard Urrutia
CALLE 70A #4-41

Banking and finance Tier 1

Full-service firm Brigard Urrutia handles all types of financial transactions and structured operations. The experienced 18-strong practice, led by four partners, advises both private and public entities on project finance, capital markets and private equity, derivatives and structured products, and syndicated and club-deal loans. Practice co-head Carlos Fradique-Méndez led the advice to Cementos Argos in connection with an amended and restated credit and guaranty agreement for $600m. Manuel Quinche advised a group of financial institutions, as lenders, on the financing of the rehabilitation, construction and improvement of the ‘Ruta del Cacao’ (Bucaramanga–Barrancabermeja–Yondó) toll road, including review and negotiation of the terms and conditions of the financing and the transaction’s legal structuring. Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela and César Rodríguez, who was promoted to partner in January 2019, also co-head the team. Clients include Crédit Agricole, Ashmore Investment Management, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Santander and BlackRock. Luis Gabriel Morcillo is also a name to note.

Competition and antitrust Tier 1

Brigard Urrutia is deeply experienced in advising on merger control before Colombia’s competition authority, the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC); its 2018 mandates included, among others, advising Linde on the local merger control aspects of its $73bn global merger with Praxair, with both companies holding a substantial share of the industrial and medicinal gases market in Colombia. On the cartel investigation side, the team acted as counsel to Cemex in an SIC antitrust investigation that resulted in the fining of all the companies involved; Cemex is challenging the SIC’s decision before an administrative court. Alejandro García heads the team with key support coming from notable senior associate Nicolás Cardona. Associate Carlos Ignacio Arboleda moved to Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas in October 2018.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Full-service firm Brigard Urrutia is a longstanding point of reference in the corporate and M&A market, with a sizeable 30-strong team of lawyers whose service is recommended as ‘outstanding’. Overall practice co-heads Sergio Michelsen, Dario Laguado and Jaime Robledo focus primarily on transactional matters and led the legal advice to Primax Peru -as independent third-party purchaser- on the acquisition of approximately 95% of the shares of Terpel subsidiary Distribuidora Andina de Combustibles (formerly owned by Copec, Mobil Petroleum Overseas Company and ExxonMobil); the operation involved complex regulatory and antitrust analysis, as well as difficult operational issues involving relationships with other business partners. Michelsen and Laguado led the advice to Bolsa de Valores de Colombia and Depósito Centralizado de Valores de Colombia (Deceval) on the acquisition by the former of a 100% stake in Deceval. Other key names include José Francisco Mafla and Carlos Umaña; while company-law specialist Álvaro Cala heads the corporate practice. At the associate level Laura Ricardo, Verónica Umaña and senior Ángela García arrived from Gas Natural Fenosa, Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) , respectively; however, five associates left the firm, including senior associates Jeison Larrota (to Acumen Legal) and Christian Díaz Ordóñez (to Geopark). Since pubication the firm has abbounced the elevation of Fernando Castillo and Tomas Holguín to the partnership, effective January 2020.

Insurance Tier 1

The well-reputed Brigard Urrutia fields an 11-strong practice group co-directed by five partners; all have been busy. Recent work saw managing partner Carlos Umaña lead advice to Bupa in connection with agreements entered into with a local insurer for the commercialisation of international private health insurance plans in Colombia. Carlos Urrutia provided legal advice to Talanx International in connection with the potential acquisition of a Colombian insurance company and its merger with another local insurer already controlled by Talanx. Irma Rivera advised IBM on various matters related to a claim brought by a client of the company against IBM’s insurer and concerning the performance of a bond. Luis Alfredo Barragán and senior associate Lucas Fajardo are also key members of the team. Clients include Lloyd’s, Willis Towers Watson Colombia Corredores de Seguros, Allianz Seguros and PEI Asset Management.

Litigation Tier 1

Brigard Urrutia’s litigation and insolvency department provides clients with ‘great strategy proposals’ that display ‘deep knowledge of the law’. Leading figures Luis Alfredo Barragán and Irma Rivera head a 21-strong practice group, one of the largest in the market; it recently successfully represented Almacenes Éxito in a judicial action filed by shareholder Alimentos Bonfiglio, seeking to vacate a decision taken by the general shareholders’ assembly to approve the purchase of two foreign retail companies. Other mandates saw the firm successfully representing General Electric, in the first and second instance, in a lawsuit initiated by insurance companies arising from damages to a power plant; the firm proved that the root cause of the damage was attributable to an operational error by the facility’s owner and was therefore unrelated to a fabrication or installation issue. Senior associates Felipe Mutis, Natalia Ángel and María Munevar-Torrado are also key members of the team; however, senior associate Susana Hidvegi left the firm to join the nation’s companies’ regulator, Superintendencia de Sociedades.

Projects Tier 1

Leading full-service firm Brigard Urrutia is particularly recognised for acting on behalf of local and international financial institutions on the development of complex infrastructure projects. The practice - which benefits from having its finance, environmental and corporate lawyers working hand-in-hand - also represents project companies, sponsors and construction companies. Senior partners Carlos Umaña, Manuel Quinche, Carlos Urrutia and Carlos Fradique-Méndez, along with Claudia Navarro, who made partner in January 2019, co-lead the 25-strong practice. Recent mandates include the representation of conglomerates Fanalca and Transdev Group in two public bidding processes conducted by Transmilenio, which operates the world’s largest bus-rapid-transport system; the first involved the award of up to six concession contracts for the supply of over 1,000 buses, while the second concerned six concession contracts for the operation of those fleets for a ten-year term. Other notable matters included advising Vía 40 Express on the renovation of the existing 142km Bogotá–Girardot toll road as part of the fourth-generation (4G) infrastructure plan implemented by the Colombian government. Additional 2018 highlights saw the team assist national development agency Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional with the drafting, negotiation and closing of the first bridge-loan agreement granted by the agency to a special purpose vehicle, Devimar, for the completion of a 4G toll road project. Clients include Ashmore Group, Bancolombia, BBVA, KM Construcciones and Inter-American Investment Corporation.

Tax Tier 1

Providing ‘a thoroughly comprehensive service’, Brigard Urrutia’s tax department is often involved in ground-breaking transactions with a cross-border component, and the team is particularly well reputed for its handling of transfer pricing defence. Lucas Moreno now heads the team following the departure of José Andrés Romero to the Colombia’s tax and customs authority, the DIAN. Customs and international trade practice head José Francisco Mafla and newly promoted partners Catalina Jaramillo and Andrés Hernández (who is recommended for his ‘responsiveness, soft skills and flexibility’) are also key members of the department. The team recently advised Dolphin Drilling Group on tax planning in relation to operating in an offshore free trade zone and transfer pricing analysis, among other matters. Other work saw it advise Fábrica Nacional de Autopartes (FANALCA) on structuring the tax-treatment aspects of its successful bid for a $700m public tender for the provision and maintenance of the bus fleet of Bogotá’s rapid transit system. Other highlights included advising Netflix regarding VAT tax obligations for foreign service providers. Other clients include Bancolombia, Isagen, BlackRock Citibank, Terranum and Grupo Argos.

TMT Tier 1

Top notch’, Brigard Urrutia’s telecoms team is led by Sergio Michelsen, a noted figure with over 30 years’ experience who has been involved in the majority of the relevant public-bidding processes in the telecoms and television sectors, as well as all the relevant regulatory changes in the area. Senior associate Andrea Bonnet and associate Juan Nicolás Laverde are also key members of the five-strong team, which also advises both national and international telecoms, satellite and television services providers on entry into the Colombian market. The practice group also acts on cybersecurity matters, and entertainment and sports law. Ongoing matters include assisting Hughes Network Systems in connection with the provision of a satellite-enabled broadband internet access service; issues dealt with over the last year include the structuring of subscriber agreements, consumer protection actions and permit procedures. The company’s proposed activities, a novelty in the Colombian context, have also led the team to work closely with the relevant regulatory bodies. Other work included acting for Google on the successful annulment of a Constitutional Court ruling that required the company, as the owner of the site “”, to take down its content. The team also advised Citibank on the data-privacy implications of the transferral of the personal information of clients, employees and suppliers, as part of the firm’s broader advice on the sale of the client’s consumer-banking business to Scotiabank. Other mandates included advising Fox Channels in relation to the deployment of its over-the-top (OTT) platform, which bypasses traditional distribution by providing services over the internet, and assisting Worldpay with online gambling regulatory matters. Clients include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Intelsat, HarperCollins, Apple and Banco Davivienda.

Arbitration Tier 2

Full-service powerhouse Brigard Urrutia’s sizeable 21-strong practice acts for local and global companies in national and international arbitration tribunals, particularly disputes involving key sectors such as oil and gas, public services and power infrastructure. ‘A great strategist’, Luis Alfredo Barragán co-heads the practice with Irma Rivera. Both are acting - with the assistance of senior associate Natalia Ángel - in an international arbitration arising from a highly valuable M&A transaction in the Colombian pharmaceutical industry. The trio are also advising a company in domestic arbitration arising from a construction agreement for the development of a new facility.

Energy and natural resources Tier 2

Brigard Urrutia receives praise for ‘knowing how to work as a team and ensuring that the client gets all of the knowledge and support required from many different partners as needed’. Managing partner Carlos Umaña and senior partner Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela head the 11-strong practice, which also includes natural resources director (and head of the Venezuela desk) Marianna Boza and senior associate Guillermo Tejeiro; both ‘stand out’. Directors of the infrastructure and the renewable energy practices Claudia Navarro and Manuel Quinche are also well regarded. The team represented Ashmore Asset Management in the negotiation of an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) and an operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement with Morelco, to build and operate a regional transmission line in La Guajira. Other highlights encompassed advising Faro Energy on conducting its renewable energy projects and advising Sloane on structuring the EPC and PPA agreements for a thermal generation project. In mining, the practice is ‘more dynamic than other firms and has a strong tradition in all areas of law, which is very relevant’; it is assisting new foreign mining investors including Newmont, Newcrest, Fortescue, High Power Exploration, Hochschild, La Mancha and First Quantum. Oil and gas-related activity included advising ONGC Videsh on day-to-day matters related to E&P contracts concerning several onshore and offshore oilfields. The team is also representing Enagas to develop the Pacific Coast regasification plant. Ecopetrol, Frontera Energy, Hades Energy Holding and Inversiones Colombianas Arauco are also on the client roster.

International trade and customs Tier 2

Much in demand’, Brigard Urrutia’s five-strong practice is led by José Francisco Mafla and advises companies on matters concerning customs law, special importation schemes, the application of trade and investment treaties (BITs), customs valuation, and rules of origin and tariff classification, among other areas. The team is currently advising Programa de Transformación Productiva (PTP) on the identification of the most appropriate legal vehicle for the implementation of the so-called “Associations for foreign trade”, identifying opportunities for tax savings in the development the vehicle and other optimisations. The programme is part of the national public policy to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Other matters included providing permanent legal advice to Dufry Group. Senior associate Camilo Castrillón and associate Gerardo Chadid are also names to note.

Labour and employment Tier 2

Brigard Urrutia’s endorsed practice covers all areas of the sector and is particularly noted for labour matters related to, or derived from, M&A deals – such as labour due diligence, pension schemes and collective bargaining. ‘Innovative and with a broad capacity for analysis’, Catalina Santos leads the 13-strong team, with senior associate José Alejandro Sierra and associate Camilo Mutis, who focus on litigation, also key group members. The firm successfully represented Atento in a second-instance court case seeking the dissolution and liquidation of a trade union. It also assisted Linde with due diligence in a transaction that involved the transferal of 1,500 employees. Other mandates included successfully representing Uber before the Ministry of Labour in an investigation into the legality of the business model – specifically in relation to the contractual situation of the company’s drivers. Clients include Iberia, Air France, Philips, Dell and Mattel.

Real estate Tier 3

The team at Brigard Urrutia has broad experience across the sector, handling matters ranging from performing due diligence and the structuring of real estate acquisitions to urban planning regulations, and across segments from hospitality to agribusiness. Álvaro Cala – who also co-leads the firm’s corporate and M&A practice – heads the department, with senior associate Natalia Hernández acting as real estate practice co-ordinator. The team continues to advise Patrimonio Autónomo Estrategias Inmobiliarias on all its real estate acquisitions, including the structuring, drafting, review and negotiation of all required agreements and urban-regulatory analysis of each property. The group also advised Citibank on the process of selling its consumer and small businesses operations to Banco Colpatria, which included the sale of 19 real estate properties; additionally, the team drafted the lease and bailment agreements over other properties held by the client. Other clients include Hyatt Hotels and Blackboard International.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration > Local practitioners of note (by country)

Specialist boutique ZULETA Abogados Asociados S.A.S fields a number of well regarded practitioners. Name partner Eduardo Zuleta regularly acts as both arbitrator and counsel and is the vice president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC; Rafael Rincón Ordóñez is is a name to note for oil and gas disputes; Rafael Bernal Gutiérrez,  Antonio Aljure SalameGustavo Suárez Camacho are also highly recommended. Posse Herrera Ruiz has 'a really impressive team that works with international standards'. Daniel Posse acts as both attorney and arbitrator in various domestic and international arbitration proceedings. Posse recently represented a construction services provider in a series of claims against contractors relating to an EPC contract. Suescún AbogadosFelipe Suescún is active in representing local and international clients in complex arbitration cases. Jorge Suescún Melo acts as lead counsel, arbitrator and chairman in a broad range of disputes. Recent highlight saw the duo representing Reficar in a $500m ICC arbitration against an EPC contractor. Brigard Urrutia 's Luis Alfredo Barragán advises clients in domestic and international arbitration.

Founded in 1934 and with over 80 years of experience, Brigard Urrutia is recognized as a leading law firm in Colombia and one of the most prestigious in Latin America.

The firm is committed to its clients and seeks to provide them with comprehensive and expert advice. It has a proven track record as a supplier of first-rate legal services to a global clientele formed by industrial, commercial and service companies, banks and other financial institutions, private equity funds, insurance companies, as well as national and foreign government agencies and companies.

It has a multidisciplinary team of over 140 specialized attorneys in various practice areas of business law, who follow the most rigorous ethical principles and the highest standards of professional excellence. All of its partners and associates are fluent in at least one language other than Spanish, and many are admitted to practice in foreign jurisdictions (most notably in the state of New York). The firm’s lawyers are graduates from Colombia’s top universities and many have completed post-graduate programs in law schools located in the United States and Europe.

Brigard & Urrutia also has a management team that is constantly innovating through solutions and best practices to attain optimal customer experience levels.

Main areas of practice: Antitrust and competition law; banking and financial services; capital markets, securities and private equity; corporate M&A; customs and international trade; trusts and estates; forex, derivatives and structured finance/compliance; immigration; infrastructure and public utilities; insurance and reinsurance; labor and employment; litigation, arbitration and insolvency; natural resources and environmental law; real estate, urban regulation, hotel and agribusiness; telecommunications, media, entertainment and technology; tax; renewable energy and energy efficiency; intellectual property.

The firm’s international clients include Terranum Inversion, 3M, American Airlines, Itau Bank, Bank of America, British Airways, BlackRock, Casino Groupe, Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF), International Finance Corporation, Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Securities, McDonalds Corporation, Parque Arauco, Ecopetrol S.A., Shikun & Binui, UNE EPM, AB InBev, The World Bank, Refineria de Cartagena, Vinci, Votorantim Metais Sociedad Puerto Industrial Aguadulce S.A., Goldman Sachs & Co. and Smith & Nephew PLC, Colombia Telecomunicaciones, Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), Bancolombia, to mention some.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and financial services Carlos Urrutia
Banking and financial services Manuel Quinche
Banking and financial services Carlos Fradique-Méndez
Antitrust and competition Alejandro García
Corporate M&A Sergio Michelsen
Corporate M&A Álvaro Cala
Corporate M&A Darío Laguado
Corporate M&A Jaime Robledo
Trusts and estates Sergio Michelsen
Trusts and estates José Romero
Trusts and estates Lucas Moreno
Tax José Romero
Tax Lucas Moreno
Infrastructure and public utilities Carlos Umaña
Infrastructure and public utilities
Immigration Catalina Santos
Real estate, urban regulation, hotel and agribusiness Álvaro Cala
Forex, derivatives and structured products Carlos Fradique-Méndez
Labor and employment Catalina Santos
Litigation, arbitration and insolvency Luis Barragán
Litigation, arbitration and insolvency Irma Rivera
Capital markets Carlos Fradique
Capital markets Luis Morcillo
Natural resources and environmental law Carlos Umaña
Natural resources and environmental law Carlos Urrutia
Insurance and reinsurance Carlos Urrutia
Insurance and reinsurance Irma Rivera
Customs and international trade José Francisco Mafla
Telecommunications, media and technology Sergio Michelsen
Renewable energy and energy efficiency Carlos Umaña
Compliance Carlos Fradique-Méndez
Intellectual property Juan Pablo Cadena
Intellectual property Martín Torres
Intellectual property María Fernanda Castellanos
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Natalia Ángel  photo Ms Natalia Ángel
Mr Luis Alfredo Barragán  photo Mr Luis Alfredo Barragán
Ms Andrea Bonnet  photo Ms Andrea Bonnet
Mrs Marianna Boza  photo Mrs Marianna Boza
Mr Juan Pablo Cadena  photo Mr Juan Pablo Cadena
Mr Carlos Alberto Carvajal  photo Mr Carlos Alberto Carvajal
Ms María Fernanda Castellanos  photo Ms María Fernanda Castellanos
Mr Lucas Fajardo  photo Mr Lucas Fajardo
Mr Carlos Fradique-Méndez  photo Mr Carlos Fradique-Méndez
Mr Álvaro Iván Cala  photo Mr Álvaro Iván Cala
Mr Darío Laguado Giraldo  photo Mr Darío Laguado Giraldo
Mr Juan Nicolás Laverde  photo Mr Juan Nicolás Laverde
Mr Jose Francisco Mafla  photo Mr Jose Francisco Mafla
Mr Sergio Michelsen Jaramillo  photo Mr Sergio Michelsen Jaramillo
Mr Luis Gabriel Morcillo  photo Mr Luis Gabriel Morcillo
Mr Lucas Moreno Salazar  photo Mr Lucas Moreno Salazar
Mr Felipe Mutis  photo Mr Felipe Mutis
Mrs Claudia Navarro  photo Mrs Claudia Navarro
Mr Manuel Fernando Quinche  photo Mr Manuel Fernando Quinche
Ms Irma Rivera Ramírez  photo Ms Irma Rivera Ramírez
Mr Jaime Robledo  photo Mr Jaime Robledo
Mr César Rodríguez  photo Mr César Rodríguez
Ms Catalina Santos  photo Ms Catalina Santos
Mr José Alejandro Sierra  photo Mr José Alejandro Sierra
Mr Guillermo Tejeiro  photo Mr Guillermo Tejeiro
Mr Carlos Umaña Trujillo  photo Mr Carlos Umaña Trujillo
Mr Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela  photo Mr Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela
Associates : 140
Partners : 19