Legalsa > Guatemala, Guatemala > Firm Profile

5ª. AV. 5-55 ZONA 14

Guatemala > Dispute resolution Tier 1

A highly regarded domestic firm, Legalsa is well known for its strong litigation practice, with experience in administrative, civil, commercial, criminal and constitutional cases that range from procurement-related litigation to shareholders’ disputes and white-collar crime defence. The team is also active in national and international arbitration and has represented multinational companies in arbitration proceedings against Guatemalan government entities. Founding partner Henry Comte has vast experience in complex litigation and arbitration and is one of three practice heads, alongside Alejandro Penados, whose areas of specialism include shareholder, inheritance and concessions-related disputes, and Marisol Fión, an expert in administrative, civil and commercial litigation. The strong cohort of associates includes Julia González, who focuses on criminal litigation (including tax, environmental and white-collar crime cases), and corporate litigation specialist Andrés Dubón.

Practice head(s):

Henry Comte; Alejandro Penados; Marisol Fión

Key clients


CBC- Cabcorp


Constructora del Sur

Cía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana

Telecomunicaciones de Guatemala (Claro Guatemala)

Desarrollos los Manglares/Oceana Beach Resort

Hunter Warfield

América Móvil


Petróleos del Sur

Administrador de Mercado Mayorista

Guatemala > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Legalsa advises domestic companies and international investors on a wide range of corporate matters, including M&A, joint ventures and the launch of operations in Guatemala. Drawing on the firm’s powerhouse litigation practice, the team also assists companies engaged in shareholder litigation with corporate governance matters. The department has a strong practice focused on fintech and mobile apps, which advises investors on the rollout of new technology platforms, and acts for a number of local start-ups in the food and technology sectors. The practice is led by David Font, who is experienced in M&A, with notable expertise in the fintech and real estate sectors, and Johann Hartleben, whose fortes include the design of corporate structures in national and international jurisdictions, corporate governance structures, and shareholder agreements.

Practice head(s):

David Font; Johann Hartleben

Key clients

América Móvil

Claro Guatemala (Telgua)

Grupo Ultramar

Grupo Logístico Mesoamérica


Prime Media & Entertainment

Norton Lilly International

Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana

Zuma Pagos

Super Auto Repuestos Acquaroni

Work highlights

  • Assisting Zuma Pagos, which owns a technology platform for processing credit card payments, with corporate and contractual matters in relation to its expansion from Mexico to Guatemala.
  • Advised Hotel Villas de Balam Ya on the sale of a luxury hotel to US-based private investors for $1.5m.
  • Advised Ecuadorian start-up Doctorisy on the expansion of its telemedical app business into Guatemala.

Guatemala > Intellectual property Tier 2

Benefitting from the firm’s highly regarded litigation department, Legalsa‘s IP practice is a strong choice for unfair competition and anti-counterfeiting disputes. The team is also skilled in non-contentious matters, particularly in the management of IP portfolios for regional clients and assisting with IP protection strategies in the financial services and IT sectors. Advising artists on copyright matters is a niche area of expertise for the practice, and the firm also has dedicated e-commerce and start-up programmes that assist with IP issues. Practice co-head Karina Calderón has extensive experience in the prosecution, enforcement and transfer of IP rights, as well as e-commerce and unfair competition matters. Co-heads Henry Comte and Alejandro Penados are noted for IP litigation.

Practice head(s):

Karina Calderón; Henry Comte; Alejandro Penados

Key clients

Tommy Hilfiger Licenses

Grupo Licores de Guatemala

Grupo Gutis

General Nutrition Investments Company (GNC)

San Fausto

Misión Técnico-Agropecuaria entre la República de China (Taiwán) y la República de Guatemala


Grupo Topke (Almacén de Maquinaria Topke)


Agro Sevilla Aceitunas

Diageo Great Britain



Amazon Techonologies

Puma Energy International

Grupo TRT


Jose Bay

Hennés & Mauritz (H&M)

Forbo Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Puma Energy International with the registration of its non-traditional motion trade mark, an animated sequence of images lasting 1.22 seconds.
  • Assisted AAUA, a regional association of coffee producers, with the prosecution of the collective trade marks ENTRETRES and CAFÉ DE ALOTENANGO, and a collective trade dress design.
  • Defended Agro Sevilla Aceitunas against an opposition to the registration of its trade mark by arguing that Agro Sevilla is a well-known international trade mark for olives.

Guatemala > Real estate Tier 2

Legalsa has notable expertise in advising major domestic developers on the construction of luxury residential and high-rise office buildings in Guatemala. The practice covers project financing, lease agreement negotiation (particularly for shopping centres and office complexes), and property-related dispute resolution, drawing on the firm’s powerhouse litigation department. Founding partner David Font, who has considerable strength in the financing, sale and acquisition of real estate, co-leads the group with Johann Hartleben, who acts in the range of the firm's real estate mandates. Associate Mónica Linares is also noted for her advice on commercial and residential developments.

Practice head(s):

David Font; Johann Hartleben

Key clients

Premiere Properties

Inmobiliaria Zacsa

Quantic Investment Group


Grupo Inmobiliario Obelix

Grupo Cotesco


Centro Comercial Plaza Jocotenango

Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana

Hotel Villas de Balam Ya

Oceana Beach Resort

Work highlights

  • Advised Premiere Properties on the development of two luxury apartment buildings in Guatemala City – the $16m 17-storey Sekkei and the $11m 22-storey Novus.
  • Advised Inverscope-Factor on the development of a medical building in Guatemala City.
  • Advised Grupo Inmobiliario Obelix on the management of lease agreements for commercial properties in Plaza Comercial Barbarena, including the renegotiation of agreements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Guatemala > Banking and finance Tier 3

Advising foreign investors on setting up new financial services operations in Guatemala is the focus of the team at Legalsa, which also assists domestic financial services companies with the regulatory issues relating to international expansion. Founding partner David Font and Johann Hartleben, a specialist in advising local and foreign investors, lead the team.

Practice head(s):

David Font; Johann Hartleben

Legalsa, has grown into one of the leading law firms in Guatemala, providing services as a one-stop firm and becoming business advisors for both big companies and new entrepreneurs. The firm has been successful in dispute resolution, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, banking, intellectual property and administrative law relating to bids and concessions. Recently, the firm has grown its portfolio in real estate and has also led the legal advice for startups and entrepreneurs wanting to operate within Guatemala.

Main areas of practice
Aviation: In recent years, the firm has been recognised by the market as a firm with special expertise in the sale and acquisition of aircrafts in Guatemala. Since 2017 the firm has formalised aircraft sales transactions, both locally and internationally.

Banking law: The firm provides a full range of legal services for international and national banks and financial institutions including syndicated loans and leasing contracts.

Corporate and M&A: The firm acts as a regular outside counsel for new and established corporations in several business sectors which include: banks, food and beverage, manufacturing, call centres, shipping, power generation, shopping malls, agricultural industries and a real estate development, among others. The firm has advised and represented national and foreign investors in cross-border transactions, including M&A and joint ventures, and has provided comprehensive legal advice and assistance to direct foreign investors for organisation, set up, start-up and ongoing operation of new business ventures in Guatemala.

Dispute resolution: The firm provides specialised dispute resolution services which include civil and administrative litigation, arbitration, credit recovery, intellectual property litigation, constitutional law actions and criminal law proceedings. The firm is best known in Guatemala for its capabilities in: highly complex, ‘bet the company’ litigation; shareholder dispute resolution and prevention; Dispute resolution involving government procurement, concessions and public tenders; and white-collar and business crimes.

Intellectual property: The firm has extensive experience in implementing intellectual property strategies for companies in the IT and financial services sector. This includes strategies for the protection and defense of intellectual property rights, agreements such as license, franchising, confidentiality (NDA), non-compete, technology transfer, distribution, and others. The firm provides advisory services to artists on copyright protection for works of art, auction management, and works of art resale rights.

Immigration: The firm handles different clients with their matters in the immigration field, both national and internationally.

Real estate: The firm is best known for having upscale developers as clients that require special neighbour regulations to determine the correct use of the different amenities on their buildings. Structuring Horizontal Property regimes and the related contracts and documents to ensure the projects success. Estate planning for family estates that have a large number or complex assets. Enforceability and execution of lease contracts in shopping centres and office complexes.

Startups Legalsa: In 2017 the firm officially launched the project ‘Startups Legalsa’, which aims to serve as legal advisors for entrepreneurs and startups. The entrepreneurship ecosystem in Guatemala has been growing in recent years, and through this project, the firm has been known as the pioneer and leading firm by sharing knowledge and participating as legal mentors with different private entities as incubators and accelerators, as well as public sector entities like the Ministry of Economy.

Tax: Comte & Font – Legalsa advises clients in the design and execution of tax planning for corporate businesses and transactions as well as tax litigation.

Languages: Spanish, English, German, French.

Senior contacts Henry
Senior contacts David
Administrative Law David
Corporate/M&A Johann
Dispute Resolution Alejandro
Dispute Resolution Marisol Fió
Dispute Resolution Julia Gonzá
Dispute Resolution Juan Carlos
Banking and finance David
Intellectual property Karina Calderó
Direct foreign investment Johann
Real Estate Mónica
Tax/estate planning David
Constiutional Law Javier
Startups Jose
Other fee-earners : 9
Total staff : 45
Partners : 6