Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán > Panama, Panama > Firm Profile

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán

Panama > Capital markets Tier 2

Gabriel González-Ruiz and Michelle O de de la Guardia lead the team at Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán, which is experienced in advising on public offerings on the Panama Stock Exchange, as well as private placements. Clients include a wide range of banks, multilateral development agencies, and private funds and businesses. In addition, the team often assists with regulatory matters, including the licensing of brokerage houses, investment and private pension administrators, and investment advisers. Among the other key members of the practice are Luis Chalhoub, who has additional expertise in corporate and banking matters, and associate Alfredo Fonseca.

Practice head(s):

Gabriel González-Ruiz; Michelle O. de de la Guardia

Key clients

Empresa Nacional de Autopista (ENA)

Superintendency of Banks of Pannama

Metro de Panamá

Insignia Financial Advisors

Banco Nacional

Work highlights

  • Advised Empresa Nacional de Autopista (ENA), ENA Este and Ena Sur on a public offering of $400m 4.00% senior secured notes due 2048.
  • Advising the Superintendency of Banks of Panama on the constitution of a trust that will serve as a liquidity fund with an endowment of $1bn for banks with a general licence in Panama to resolve their liquidity insufficiencies during the pandemic.
  • Advised Metro de Panamá on the notes issuance by SPARC EM SPC for the account of Panama Metro Line 2, backed by promissory note certificates (CDNOs) issued by the client.

Panama > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán‘s ‘extremely strong‘ team is skilled in advising multinational clients, particularly on their entry into the Panamanian market and on cross-border M&A transactions. Restructurings, due diligence and compliance advice are other key areas of work. At the head of the practice, Joaquín Díaz focuses on the firm’s international practice, advising clients based outside Panama, while Alexis Herrera Jr advises multinationals investing in Panama or with operations in the country on domestic M&A and corporate matters. Senior partner Gabriel González-Ruiz, Luis Chalhoub, who has expertise in finance and M&A deals, and Mariela de la Guardia, the director of the firm’s Fundación IGRA pro bono programme, which focuses on social development issues, are also key contacts. The practice group was further strengthened with the raising of Mariano Oteiza Díaz to the partnership in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Joaquin Diaz; Alexis Herrera Jr.


‘An extremely strong team.’

‘They particularly stand out for their dynamic approach to resolving clients’ matters.’

‘They clearly understand the client’s requirement and, on that basis, they try to define the route that best meets those requirements, with detailed knowledge of the relevant issues to take into account.’

Key clients

Inversiones Panamericanas de Café de Panamá

HPH joint venture consortium

AES Panama

Lexvalor Abogados


Delta Airlines



Work highlights

  • Advised Canadian multinational Dollarama on the acquisition of 50.1% of the shares in Dollarcity, a Latin American value retailer.
  • Acted as local counsel to AES Panama and AES Changuinola on the acquisition of UEP Penonome I.
  • Advised the HPH joint venture consortium on the negotiation of the Panama Metro Line 3 project contract.

Panama > Intellectual property Tier 2

Advising multinationals, particularly from the luxury goods, healthcare, and food and beverages sectors, on trade mark registrations and renewals is a key area of work for Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán‘s ‘receptive, clear and professional‘ team. The firm has also developed a practice focused on assisting local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with registering trade marks, and has a growing practice dedicated to assisting IP clients with data protection and privacy issues. On the contentious side, the firm has significant expertise in IP litigation, covering opposition, nullity and cancellation actions, unfair competition cases and anti-counterfeiting proceedings. Practice head Gabriela Tejada de Britton has vast experience in the management of trade mark and patent portfolios. Other key contacts include Mariela de la Guardia, and associates Fernando González-Ruiz, who specialises in anti-counterfeiting actions in particular, Graciela Rodriguez and Moisés Rivera. Since publication, Rivera has been raised to the partnership - effective as of March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Gabriela Tejada de Britton


‘The team stands out for its clarity and precision in explaining legal concepts, as well as the transparency and diligence of its work.’

‘All of the lawyers without exception are very receptive, clear and professional.’

Key clients




Car Freshner Corporation


NBA Properties

The Sherwin-Williams Company

Sky International

Cervecería Nacional – AB InBev

Work highlights

  • Acted for Victorinox in opposition proceedings filed against the defendant’s trade mark registration.
  • Acted for Sky International in a nullity action over the trade mark “Skyworth” filed by Skyworth Group.
  • Acted for Swatch in opposition proceedings against the filing of the trade mark “IWatch” by Brightflash USA and Apple.

Panama > Banking and finance Tier 3

With ‘extensive knowledge of the banking sector‘, Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán is particularly noted for its strength in project finance, advising on developments in the real estate, infrastructure, tourism, transportation and energy sectors. During the pandemic, the team has been increasingly active advising on refinancings in the local market, and it also assists with regulatory issues and obtaining banking licences. Local banks make up a large part of the team’s client roster, in addition to international financial institutions and corporate borrowers. The team is led by the experienced trio of Gabriel González-Ruiz, who is particularly active on project finance mandates, Michelle O de de la Guardia and Luis Chalhoub. The practice group was further strengthened with the raising of Mariano Oteiza Díaz to the partnership in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Gabriel González-Ruiz; Michelle O. de de la Guardia; Luis Chalhoub


‘The firm stands out for its extensive knowledge of the banking sector and the availability of the partners.’

‘They work well as a team compared to other firms.’

‘For banking and fiduciary matters, Luis Chalhoub deserves to be highlighted as a specialist in the field.’

Key clients

The Bank of Nova Scotia (Panamá)

Ministry of Economy and Finance of Panama

JP Morgan Chase Bank, National Association

Global Bank Corporation

Bicsa Capital


Banco Nacional


BHD International Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Metro de Panama on two refinancing transactions relating to the project for the construction of Line 2 of the Panama Metro.
  • Advised Caja de Ahorros in a credit operation through BBVA worth $200m, with a MIGA guarantee, to finance its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised the Superintendency of Banks on the constitution of a trust that will serve as a liquidity fund with an endowment that will reach up to $1bn so that banks with a general licence in Panama can solve their liquidity insufficiencies due to the pandemic.

Panama > Offshore Tier 3

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán provides offshore services in a number of key jurisdictions, with offices in Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay. The team is experienced in the creation of trusts and private interest foundations, and also provides fiduciary services through its group companies,  Icaza Trust Corporation and Icaza, Gonzalez Ruiz & Alemán (BVI) Trust Limited, in Panama and the British Virgin Islands, respectively. Joaquín Díaz Strunz is the key contact.

Panama > Transport: Shipping Tier 3

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán handles a range of maritime matters, including the registration of vessels - both in Panama and in overseas jurisdictions including Belize, the Bahamas, Liberia and the Marshall Islands - the purchase and sale of ships, shipping finance and maritime litigation, including proceedings before the Panama Canal Authority. Among the key members of the team are of counsel Joel Medina and Alexis Herrera Jr.

Practice head(s):

Joel Medina; Alexis Herrera Jr


Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman is a Panamanian law firm established in 1920. It is composed of a team of 39 lawyers capable of handling the most important branches of law, both at national and international levels. It is one of the country’s leading law firms upholding a strong commitment to client responsibility and unyielding ethics.

The firm: Supported by excellent academic credentials and significant experience in legal services, the firm looks after the individual needs of a distinguished and diverse clientele.

With over 100 years of experience, the beginnings of this prestigious law firm date back to the first quarter of the last century, when jurists Juan Lombardi (1875-1944) and Carlos Icaza (1895-1979) founded the firm Lombardi and Icaza in 1920. Almost 30 years later, the firm became Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman.

Since then, the partners of Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman have contributed in significant ways to the structure and jurisprudential blueprints of Panama, with a number of its lawyers leaving an indelible print in public service as pioneers who contributed to the creation of the legal structure of the country.

Over the years, the firm has evolved and expanded alongside Panama’s international services center, delivering services of the highest caliber and enjoying an unrivalled reputation.

Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman provides tailor-made, sophisticated solutions to key corporate clients, international institutions, and public entities while remaining committed to offering a partner-led, individualized legal service and advice to private clients.

The firm’s specialized and high-caliber work has also been acknowledged by important international organizations such as the World Bank and The Inter-American Development Bank, which have been clients of the firm both internationally and locally.

Areas of practice: The legal team has the capacity and required experience to render comprehensive legal consulting in 22 practice areas, including administrative; admiralty and shipping; banking and finance; capital markets and securitization; communications and information technology (CIT); corporate law; consumer protection and competition law; environment and energy; immigration and naturalization; labor; insurance and reinsurance; intellectual property; international commerce; litigation and alternative dispute resolution; mergers and acquisitions; public contracts and privatizations; taxation; company formation; trust and estate planning; and private foundations.

This work is supported by the firm’s membership of prestigious international legal networks, such as Multilaw, a global network of independent law firms, which connects Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman, and its clients with legal professionals in more than 150 cities around the world.

Banking and finance Luis A Chalhoub
Banking and finance Michelle O de de la Guardia
Contracts Gabriel González-Ruiz
Contracts Alfredo Fonseca Zauner
Immigration and naturalization Ana Graciela Medina
Immigration and naturalization Ayleen Quintero
Intellectual property Gabriela Tejada de Britton
Labor and employment Javier Vallarino
Labor and employment Alexis Herrera Jr
Litigation and ADR Marisol Ellis
Litigation and ADR Carlos Villalobos
Maritime and admiralty Joel R Medina
Maritime and admiralty Alexis Herrera Jr
Mergers and acquisitions Luis A Chalhoub
Mergers and acquisitions Gabriel González-Ruiz
Trust services Joaquín Díaz
Trust services Estefania Alemán
Estefania Alemán photoDr Estefania AlemánPanama Trusts and Vista Trusts, and Energy and Hydrocarbons.
Roberto Alemán photoDr Roberto AlemánCorporate Law
Ricardo A. Ceballos G. photoMr Ricardo A. Ceballos G.Administrative Law, Contracts, Corporate Law, Real Estate & Tourism
Luis Chalhoub M. photoMr Luis Chalhoub M.Administrative Law; Banking and Finance; Capital Markets; Consumer Protection & Competition; Contracts, Insurance and Re-Insurance; Panama Trusts; Trust Services.
Joaquín Díaz Strunz photoDr Joaquín Díaz StrunzLabor Law; Company Formation and Management; Corporate Law; Contracts; Panama Private Interest…
Domingo Díaz Strunz photoMr Domingo Díaz StrunzBanking Law, Company Formation and Management, Contracts, Corporate Law, Real Estate and…
Domingo Díaz de la Guardia photoMr Domingo Díaz de la GuardiaAdministrative Law, Company Formation and Management, Corporate Law, Public Contracting
Marisol Ellis photoMrs Marisol EllisLitigation & ADR
Eduardo Flores B. photoMr Eduardo Flores B.Labor Law
Alfredo Fonseca Z. photoMr Alfredo Fonseca Z.Maritime and Admiralty Law; Contracts; Banking Law & Finance; Energy & Hydrocarbons;…
Yexadira García photoMrs Yexadira GarcíaCompany Formation and Management; Corporate Law; Trusts in different jurisdictions.
Fernando González-Ruiz photoMr Fernando González-RuizIntellectual Property; Company Formation and Management; Contracts; Corporate Law; Panama Private Interest Foundations; Civil and Criminal…
Adolfo González-Ruiz photoMr Adolfo González-RuizCorporate Law, Company Formation and Management and Public Contracting.
Francisco González-Ruiz photoMr Francisco González-RuizAdministrative Law; Company Formation and Management;Contracts; Corporate Law; Intellectual Property; Panama Private Interest Foundations
Gabriel González-Ruiz photoMr Gabriel González-RuizPublic Procurement and Privatizations, Administrative Law, Commercial Law, Tax Law, Banking Law,…
Alexis V. Herrera Ríos photoDr Alexis V. Herrera RíosPublic Contracting & Privatization; Mergers, Acquisitions and Financing; Corporate Law; Maritime and…
Nora Jurado photoMrs Nora JuradoCorporate Law, Maritime and Admiralty.
Joel Medina photoMr Joel MedinaMaritime Law, Company Formation and Management, Corporate Law
Ana Graciela Medina photoMrs Ana Graciela MedinaCommunications & IT; Corporate; Immigration and Naturalization; Real Estate; Tourism Law.
Mariano Oteiza Díaz photoMr Mariano Oteiza DíazAdministrative Law; Company Formation and Management; Contracts; Corporate Law; Panama Private Interest Foundations
Mariano Oteiza Icaza photoMr Mariano Oteiza IcazaBanking Law, Corporate Law; Contracts; Company Formation and Management; Real Estate and…
Michelle Oteiza de de la Guardia photoMrs Michelle Oteiza de de la GuardiaAdministrative Law, Banking Law & Finance, Capital Market, Contracts, Corporate Law, Insurance…
Ayleen Quintero photoMrs Ayleen QuinteroInmigration and Naturalization, Real Estate & Tourism, Special Economic Zones, and Contracts.
Moisés Rivera photoMr Moisés RiveraAdministrative Law, Consumer Protection & Competition, Contracts, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Litigation…
Gabriela Tejada de Britton photoMrs Gabriela Tejada de BrittonIntellectual Property: Trademarks, patents, utility models, industrial designs, slogans, copyrights, trade and…
Karen Tejeira S. photoMrs Karen Tejeira S.Labor Law
Javier Vallarino photoMr Javier VallarinoLabor Law: Advisor on labor issues, queries, procedures, conciliation, negotiations, claims and…
Carlos Villalobos photo Carlos VillalobosLitigation & ADR
Mariela de la Guardia O. photoMiss Mariela de la Guardia O.Law; Public Contracting, Company Formation and Management; Contracts; Corporate Law; Intellectual Property;…
Other fee-earners : 19
Total staff : 250
IBA (International Bar Association)
Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)
International Trademark Association (INTA)
International Fiscal Association (IFA)
Partners : 13