Solicitors governing body: Superior Council of the Judiciary
Competition authority: Superintendency of Industry and Commerce
Financial regulator: Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia
IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction:
Those who wish to practice law in Colombia must register with the National Registry of Attorneys with the Superior Council of the Judiciary. Foreign lawyers have the option of getting their degrees approved by participating in a proceeding with the Colombian Ministry of Education.
In order to be allowed to set up a legal practice in Colombia, foreign firms must either partner with local firms or have a local subsidiary in Colombia.
Baker & McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright and Garrigues are examples of global firms with a presence in Colombia.
In January 2015, Colombian firm Prietocarrizosa and Chilean firm Philippi Yrarrázaval Pulido & Brunner, in association with Iberian law firm Uría Menéndez, merged to create Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría.This marked the first merger between a Colombian and Chilean law firm that resulted in a major regional firm.
Firms are spread throughout Colombia, but are strongly concentrated in the capital Bogotá and in Medellín.
Mendoza Abogados is active in banking and finance. The transactional details were confidential but the firm was particularly active in derivatives, acquisition finance and real estate finance.
Baker McKenzie has a leading M&A practice. One key deal involved the firm’s advice to Brookfield Infrastructure Group on acquiring a controlling stake in Gas Natural.
While the firm is better known for M&A, the firm also has an active financing practice, particularly when it comes to acquisition financing. For example, the firm advised in the financing of the acquisition of Brookfield’s acquisition of the Gas Natural stake. The firm also works on refinancings and on financings related to projects.
Although the firm lost M&A partner Juan Manuel de la Rosa to DLA Piper, the firm strengthened its M&A practice with the hire of Andrés Crump from Brookfield Asset Management.
The firm advises the likes of Grupo ADO, ICU Medical and Bonus Banca de Inversión.
"Highly specialised, client-driven lawyers." - Banking, M&A
"The mere fact of having worked with B&M for more than 10 years indicates that its work has been totally satisfactory, at all levels of consultation and advisory." - Banking and finance
“I like them very much. I've used them in several practice areas and I truly think that they provide a very complete and robust practice. I haven't found a practice area I've felt that they don't provide a great service. I like that they are very helpful when there are time constrains on the death-lines. I fell particularly in good hands with Ricardo Trejos, Alejandro Mesa and Adriana Combatt.” - Project finance, M&A
“They get highly involved in transactions and one of their major attributes is they are very organised and comprehensive when analysing potential implications/risks for their clients.” - M&A
Brigard & Urrutia is a leader in M&A, banking and project development matters.
The firm has been one of the most active firms on 4G (fourth-generation) infrastructure financings, financings for a major road development program in the country. This research period, the firm continued to flex its financing muscle through its advice on the Bancolombia $750 million 4.875% notes issue.
The firm’s M&A team is also active on high-value transactions. One highlight saw the firm work on AIG International Group’s $240 million sale of its subsidiary AIG Seguros.
In one notable project development deal, the firm helped to structure a PPP for several medical centres.
The firm both lost and gained lawyers over the research period. Senior associates Laura Villaveces, Giovanni Acosta and Jeison Larrota left the firm but the firm hired senior associates Jeison Larrota and María Fernanda Sánchez. The firm also hired Jaime Robledo, an M&A partner from Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados.
The firm advise the likes of Ecopetrol, Bancolombia and Telefónica.
The firm also opened a branch office in Cali, Colombia in January 2017.
“Brigard & Urrutia has a long tradition in the Colombian law firm market. Its lawyers come from recognised universities and have attractive backgrounds. On the other hand, its rates are very high and it is not a firm to work with for daily work.” Corporate law and compliance
“Short response time, great expertise, great service, very professional lawyers and great understanding.” - Regulatory
“Strengths are the professionalism and assertiveness about structuring the ideas, concepts and documents.” - Project development
“Partners roll-up their sleeves to work with clients. The firm is interdisciplinary so has the ability to solve different needs in different areas of practice. Manuel Fernando Quinche, partner at BU, has excellent knowledge of project finance in the energy space and is a lead partner that we really like working with.” - Project finance
“Marianna is a very kind person, and it is easy to work with her. She is reachable and always has a good disposition.”
“Short time to respond and they provide all the services to help the client with all bureaucratic processes.”
“[Strengths include] the excellent analysis of the situation, the alternatives proposed and the excellent structuring of the documents.”
Manuel Fernando Quinche
“Manuel is a very skilled attorney with remarkable client skills. He is a hand-on partner at BU who works side-by-side with his clients. Basically Manuel is the reason why we selected BU as our lead firm.”
Cavelier Abogados is active in banking and finance.
In one highlight deal, the firm advised Banco Davivienda on the sale and lease back of real estate assets.
Key clients include Progresión and Hugo Dealers.
Chalela Abogados is strong in M&A and is particularly active in the oil and gas, mining and energy sectors.
The firm advised Equion, Ecopetrol, Cenit & Repsol in regard to the structuring and implementation of equity and transportation investments in the oil and gas business in Colombia.
The firm hired M&A counsel Felice Chalela from Independent Drilling in M&A. The firm lost senior lawyer Laura Pulverail, who joined Equion Energia Limited.
Significant clients include Petrosud and WeWork.
Dentons Cárdenas & Cárdenas has a track record of advising on significant, high-value M&A and financing deals.
One key financing deal involves the firm’s advice on Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi $450 million unsecured credit agreement with Almacenes Éxito. In M&A the firm advised Compañía de Puertos Asociados on its $136 million acquisition by Goldman Sachs.
The firm strengthened its mining practice with the hire of partners Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González and associates Adriana González and Carlos Vicioso from Norton Rose.
The firm advises the likes of US-Exim Bank, Gran Tierra Energy and International Finance Corporation.
"It was very good." - Banking
“Very accurate and timely advice. Excellent client relationship management.” - Project development
Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos is active in banking and finance, capital markets, M&A and projects.
On the banking side, the firm advised health insurance company Emssanar ESS in connection to the restructuring of its debt.
In M&A, the firm advised Daimler Colombia with the sale of its commercial vehicles.
The projects team advised infrastructure company Strabag on structuring its 4G (fourth generation) concession projects.
Key clients include Coomeva, Financiera Desarroollo Nacional, the Ministry of Transport and Exxon Mobil de Colombia.
“Very professional. Always good advice.” - Investment funds
“Great law firm, quick answer to all issues that came out during the contract. The firm provided a wide variety of specialists to complement the study, so we had different points of view.” - Investment funds
Gómez-Pinzón Abogados has a leading financing and M&A practice.
The firm’s finance team both advises on bank loans and capital markets deals. The team primarily advises lenders and banks, but has also advised borrowers. In capital markets the firm advised Banco Davivienda on the issue of peso-denominated notes. In banking the firm advised a group of banks on a loan to Grupo Energía Bogotá.
In M&A, the firm advised Gerdau Diaco on a joint venture with Putney Capital Management.
The firm lost M&A partner Jaime Robledo but gained M&A senior associates Emanuela Guevara Fadul, Alberto Bravo Rey and Juan Camilo Varón Alzate. The firm also gained banking and capital markets senior associates Jimena González Alarcón and Mateo Moreno Villa.
The firm advises the likes of Barclays Capital, Almacenes Éxito and Bank of America.
“GPA has helped us resolving complex questions regarding financing and some specialised areas of law. We always have a clear and concrete answer. The response times are optimal, although sometimes the project queries require that they be answered very quickly. Their legal work is very good.” - Banking
“Good service and excellent legal knowledge.” - Banking
“I will highlight the profound knowledge the firm has on corporate, taxes and competency laws which is well combined with a multi-disciplinary approach to other legal areas. They work very close to their clients and take the time to understand the client’s business and necessities. Their attention is personal and the partner in charge is always on top of matters.” - Banking
Juan Antonio Ucró
“Diligent, proactive, looking for alternative solutions and precise risks of decisions.”
Felipe Mariño Dueñas
“Excellent knowledge of the law, good service.”
“Excellent lawyer, responsive and assertive.”
Holland & Knight is active in financing and M&A transactions. The transport sector has been particularly active for the firm. One key financing deal was the firm’s advice to Geopark Limited on its 7.5% notes issue. Most clients are confidential but Infrared Capital Partners is a key client.
“H&K is a very good law firm. It always provides support and cooperation on time. In general, the work they provide is outstanding.” - Banking
Lloreda Camacho & Co is active in banking and finance.
In one highlight banking deal, the firm advised Multidimensionales on obtaining a credit agreement from a group of lenders.
Key clients include Banco Popular, Colombia Fintech, Bulltick Capital Markets, City National Bank of Florida and China Construction America.
Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados is a strong project development firm. The firm is particularly active in the electrical and gas sectors.
In one highlight project development deal, the firm advised Andean Tower and Digital Bridge in their telecommunications projects in Colombia. The firm has also advised confidential clients on bidding processes.
Key clients include Broota.
Since time of press, Norton Rose Fulbright has closed its Colombia office.
Norton Rose Fulbright has been active on financings of 4G projects and other concessions.
One M&A deal saw the firm advise Energizer Holdings in the Colombian aspects of the global acquisition of Spectrum Brands
The firm lost three mining focused partners to Dentons over the research period.
The firm advise the likes of Pollos El Bucanero and IC Inversiones.
“We have always been very pleased with the advice and support we receive from NRF in Colombia. They have access to a wide range of experts in various fields and are always able to meet tight deadlines. They are always available to us, and even if we are not their largest client, they treat us like we are the most important to them.” - Project development
Parra Rodríguez Abogados is a strong financial and corporate firm. The firm is particularly known for its work in the aviation sector. All the transactional details and clients are confidential but the firm advised banks, financiers, lenders, borrowers, maritime companies and government organizations. In particular, the firm has worked on the development of crowdfunding in Columbia.
“Parra Rodriguez Abogados is an excellent law firm. The firm has a great knowledge of aviation and finance law and is a pleasure to deal with. The firm is very efficient and professional in handling of transactions. It responds quickly to queries and goes out of its way to ensure transactions go smoothly.” – Finance
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría has a leading banking, M&A and project development practice. The firm has been a leader on 4G (fourth-generation) infrastructure financings.
One financing deal saw the firm advise the banks on the financing for the concession Antioquia-Bolivar. The firm is also strong on the capital markets side where it has worked on notes and share issues.
In M&A the firm worked on Colpatria’s acquisition of Citibank Colombia’s consumer business.
Key clients include Scotiabank, Empresa de Energía de Bogotá and Odinsa.
“Their team is highly qualified in every aspect. They have a deep knowledge about these kind of transactions and their negotiation skills are always in the best interest of their clients.” - Banking
Juan Fernando Gaviria
“Knowledge and negotiation skills are far beyond expected.”
Posse Herrera Ruiz is a leading player in financing, M&A and projects.
The firm has been particularly active on 4G financings. For example, the firm advised Concesionaria Vial del Sur in the financing of a PPP project for the construction, operation and maintenance of the highway Pasto - Rumichaca.
In the project development space the firm has advised clients on bids. For example, the firm advised on the bid to design, build and install a mass transit cable car system in the city of Pereira in Colombia.
The firm rises to tier one in project development this year.
The firm advises the likes of Grupo Sura, Banco de Bogotá and Odinsa.
“Despite being a large firm with a high volume of work, we have felt accompanied and advised. We consider that the professionals who work there are very well prepared and are oriented to the search for solutions. We highlight the fact that Mariana Posse, despite being a partner of the firm, is relatively affordable, has worked hand in hand with us and has been aware of all the details of the transactions. However, on some occasions, we had the impression that the team was either small or perhaps had a lot of work, since it was not always easy to communicate with the different lawyers and get answers with the promptness that was required.” - Project finance
“I think that the work and advice that the law firm provides is very valuable and with an extended knowledge and experience on the matters they are dealing with.” Banking
“Responsibility, honesty, specialised and updated knowledge in legal areas. High level of commitment. Cordial and respectful treatment with clients. Prompt response to customer requirements.” - Regulatory
"PHR has been very useful in structuring legal contracts and helping us in identifying risks and advantages of alternatives." - M&A
“Full time availability, very detailed emphasis, sound knowledge of different law areas, including regulatory, projects and M&A.” - Project development, M&A, regulatory
"My company and myself are very pleased with the services rendered." - Banking, regulatory
“Strengths include knowledge of the country and good relationships.”
“Deep knowledge in the oil and gas sector’s regulation and history. High multifunctional competences regarding contracts and competition.”
“Very intuitive. Excellent responsiveness and availability.”
“He is a superlative professional.”