Firm Profile > D'Empaire > Caracas, Venezuela


Banking and finance Tier 1

The highly regarded team at D'Empaire is regularly instructed by foreign banks and other financial institutions to handle restructurings and financing matters. Recent work saw the group advise Maurel & Prom on a financing transaction regarding a re-development plan pertaining to the increase of oil production following its acquisition of Shell’s stake in joint venture Petroregional del Lago. Fulvio Italiani assisted various banks, including BNP, Banco BPI and Banco Sabadell, with the closure of their representative offices in Venezuela. Carlos Omaña is another name to note. Roland Pettersson was a new hire in June 2019 from LEC Abogados.

Competition and antitrust Tier 1

At D'Empaire, competition law specialist José Humberto Frías is the key name. He is experienced in advising on the competition-related regulatory aspects of transactions, investigations and unfair competition.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

D'Empaire has a highly regarded corporate and M&A practice, which frequently assists international clients with transactions. Recent work saw the team advising both parties, through a Chinese wall arrangement, on Sommers' acquisition of the Venezuelan subsidiary of Pirelli; Fulvio Italiani assisted the former, and Arnoldo Troconis led the advice to the latter. In another work highlight, Italiani and Carlos Omaña acted as co-counsel for Maurel & Prom, which acquired Shell’s stake in a joint venture with state-owned oil group PDVSA. The group also assisted Zurich with the sale of its local operations to a Venezuelan investor. Other noted team members include Inés Parra, Geraldine D’EmpairePaula Serra and Roberto Mas.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

The team at D'Empaire is noted for its experience in civil and commercial proceedings, in which it acts for clients from a variety of industries, including energy, manufacturing and media. It is also involved in various ICSID and ICC arbitrations, in which practice head José Humberto Frías is particularly well versed. Together with associate Daniel Bustos, he is acting for Tenaris in the execution of a $230m arbitration award against Venezuela concerning the nationalisation of a foreign-owned company. Pedro Perera and Dubraska Galarraga represent Radio Caracas Televisión in a copyright infringement dispute concerning several soap operas.

Energy and natural resources Tier 1

With the backing of its reputed corporate practice, D'Empaire is regularly involved in significant transactions in the oil-and-gas sector. Recent mandates saw Carlos Omaña and Fulvio Italiani lead a team advising Maurel & Prom on its acquisitions of Shell’s stake in joint venture Petroregional del Lago. Other work saw the 'ever-active' Italiani and Roberto Mas assisting Chevron with the restructuring of an oil joint venture in the Orinoco Belt; while Arnoldo Troconis and dispute resolution expert José Humberto Frías were instructed by Repsol in connection with an ICC arbitration involving an EPC contract.

Environment Tier 1

D'Empaire is instructed by clients from a variety of industries, such as the food and agribusiness, construction, manufacturing, energy and mining sectors, among others. The team's strengths include advising on liabilities and regulatory compliance, as well as handling environmental due diligence and disputes. The recommended Francisco Bolinaga continues to provide strategic advice to Nestlé regarding the obtaining of different permits. Other clients are Alimentos Polar and Industrias Alimenticias Hermo de Venezuela.

Labour and employment Tier 1

The highly reputed team at D'Empaire covers a variety of employment matters, including collective bargaining, compensation and benefits as well as conflict management. Practice heads Alejandro Disilvestro and Victorino Márquez act for an impressive client portfolio, which includes companies such as 21st Century Fox, Citibank, American Airlines and new client Bimbo. Associates Aixa Añez and Biba Arciniegas are also noted.

Public law Tier 1

D'Empaire enjoys an excellent market reputation and is regularly instructed by clients from the pharmaceutical, automotive and media industries. The team is particularly experienced in expropriations and nationalisations as well as in criminal matters relating to regulatory cases. Practice co-head José Humberto Frías and corporate partner Arnoldo Troconis advised United Airlines on the regulatory aspects of its decision to cancel all flights to Venezuela. José Valentín González, who leads the team together with Frías, is assisting Bristol Myers Squibb with all its contracts with the Venezuelan social security administration, as well as with regulatory queries. Associate Ornella Bernabei is another name to note.

Tax Tier 1

D'Empaire has a highly reputed tax team, which is experienced in transfer pricing disputes and advising on the tax implications of transactions, as well as inheritance planning and business succession planning. Alberto Benshimol assisted Kraft Heinz in a corporate reorganisation involving its Venezuelan and Mexican subsidiaries; he also advises BMS Venezuela on all of the tax implications of its operations in Venezuela. Humberto Romero-Muci continues to represent Weatherford in tax litigation relating to an income tax assessment levied to one of its Venezuelan subsidiaries for previous fiscal years. José Valecillos made partner in 2018; he leads the practice together with Benshimol and Romero-Muci.

Real estate Tier 2

D'Empaire covers the full gamut of real estate matters, from the financing, development and construction of a project to the purchase, sale or acquisition of office buildings, industrial facilities, retail stores, hotels and shopping centres. The team also has experience in contentious matters. Inés Parra recently advised Banco Sabadell on obtaining all of the necessary authorisations and certificates regarding the sale of the bank’s offices in Caracas. Roberto Mas and Pedro Perera are other key practitioners in the group.

Intellectual property Tier 3

D'Empaire's team covers particularly contentious matters; it defends clients from the pharmaceutical and media sectors, among others, in litigation regarding patents, copyright, and trade marks. José González heads the practice and is supported by dispute resolution expert Pedro Perera.

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

D'Empaire represents Venezuelan and international companies in arbitration proceedings conducted under ICC rules; José Humberto Frías is the main contact. Eugenio Hernández-Bretón at Baker & McKenzie, S.C. acts as counsel as well as arbitrator in arbitration proceedings. Luis Alfredo Araque at ARAQUEREYNA is also a name to note.

D’Empaire is a full-service law firm founded in 1972. It provides legal services in Venezuela’s complex business environment, with the goal of being the premier firm for clients facing the most challenging transactions, matters or disputes in Venezuela.

D’Empaire’s 40 attorneys, including its 17 partners, have completed graduate studies in diverse fields of law and some are part-time law professors at leading Venezuelan universities. All are admitted to practice in Venezuela, and several are also admitted to practice in the State of New York. Most of the partners began as associates and most of the associates have developed their entire legal careers at D’Empaire. This has allowed the firm to develop a strong sense of compromise and team work.

D’Empaire is one of the top-tier Venezuelan law firms. It is the law firm of choice for complex matters in all sectors of the economy and fields of law. Its clients include multinationals, major Venezuelan companies and international investment banks. It works for companies engaged in virtually all business sectors of the Venezuelan economy.

Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate; mergers and acquisitions Fulvio Italiani
Corporate; mergers and acquisitions Carlos Omaña
Corporate; mergers and acquisitions Inés Parra
Corporate; mergers and acquisitions Arnoldo Troconis
Oil and gas, energy, mining and petrochemical projects Fulvio Italiani
Oil and gas, energy, mining and petrochemical projects Carlos Omaña
Oil and gas, energy, mining and petrochemical projects Inés Parra
Oil and gas, energy, mining and petrochemical projects Arnoldo Troconis
Finance; restructuring; banking; capital markets; sovereign debt Carlos Omaña
Finance; restructuring; banking; capital markets; sovereign debt Fulvio Italiani
Tax Humberto Romero-Muci
Tax Alberto Benshimol
Labor and human resources Alejandro Disilvestro
Labor and human resources Victorino Márquez
Public law, competition, antitrust José Valentín González
Public law, competition, antitrust José Humberto Frías
Litigation, arbitration Pedro Perera
Litigation, arbitration José Humberto Frías
Telecommunications and media Arnoldo Troconis
Intellectual property José Valentín González
Environmental Francisco Bolinaga
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Alejandro Disilvestro  photo Mr Alejandro Disilvestro
Ms Geraldine D’Empaire  photo Ms Geraldine D’Empaire
Mr José Humberto Frías  photo Mr José Humberto Frías
Ms Dubraska Galarraga  photo Ms Dubraska Galarraga
Mr José Valentín González  photo Mr José Valentín González
Mr Fulvio Italiani  photo Mr Fulvio Italiani
Mr Carlos Omaña  photo Mr Carlos Omaña
Ms Ines Parra  photo Ms Ines Parra
Mr Pedro Perera  photo Mr Pedro Perera
Mr Arnoldo Troconis  photo Mr Arnoldo Troconis
Total staff : 40
Partners : 17