Costa Rica

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Bar Association of Costa Rica

Competition authority: Commission for the Promotion of Competition

Financial regulator: SUGEVAL; SUGESE

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporate, Project development

Jurisdiction overview

Costa Rica is a civil law system heavily influenced by the French and Spanish legal models.

Lawyers in Costa Rica are required to have a Master in Laws (LLM) to practice. In May 2015 the country introduced a mandatory bar exam for lawyers, making it the only Latin American country other than Brazil to require its lawyers to pass a bar exam.

Foreign lawyers who have not re-qualified are only allowed to advise on international law, but do not face regulatory limits.

Many law firms in Costa Rica are regional firms with a presence in countries throughout Central America.

The country has seen considerable growth in its renewable energy sector in recent years and it’s expected that 97% of its electricity will come from renewable energy in 2015. Law firms are taking advantage of this picking up work in project financing and licensing.

Financial and corporate
Arias

Arias is a strong transactional firm that is active across M&A, projects and bank lending work.

In banking, the firm often advises lenders and its clients include Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. The firm is also active in M&A, and has recently advised on deals in a range of sectors including education, aviation and healthcare.

The project development team has experience advising clients on public procurements, contracting matters and PPPs.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      American Vanguard Corporation $50 million acquisition of Agricenter

•                      CrediQ $154.4 million financing 

•                      International Schools Partnership acquisition of St. Jude’s School

•                      Lifemiles $320 million financing

•                      Vinci acquisition of 48.75% stake in Juan Santamaría International Airport and 45% stake in Daniel Oduber International Airport  

Client feedback

“They are resourceful and well-structured.” – Project finance

Vicente Lines

He is very knowledgeable and proficient.”

BLP

BLP is at the top of the market for M&A expertise. The firm is also a key banking firm in the local market, which extends to project finance practice work where it has a track record deals in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Additionally, the firm has secured roles on significant debt capital markets deals.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Medtronic $100 million acquisition of Cincotek Medical

•                      Millicom $150 financing

•                      Millicom $1.65 billion acquisition of Telefónica's assets in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua

•                      One Equity Partners $150 million acquisition of OneLink Holdings  

•                      Seidler Equity Partners acquisition of Rawlings Sporting Goods Company

Client feedback

“Always aware of our issues and gives a quick response.” – Project development

“Well organized, professional, always on top of their game, refreshing to work with them.” – Real estate

“The firm excellent, their work is simply flawless. Very responsive, proactive and professional.” – M&A

“Pragmatic and solution driven.” – M&A

“Extraordinary job. No matter the hour of the day (or night!), the firm supported us in all possible forms to have the deal closed.” – M&A

“Highly effective.” – M&A

“Very experienced partners.  They understand our business, and are always trying to find solutions within legal parameters.” – M&A, Real estate

“BLP is a law firm well recognised in Costa Rica and Central America in general. For me the biggest strength they have is how well connected they are. Always know who to ask, who to recommend and the exactly people to have the most informed criteria and legal advice.” – M&A

Eduardo Calderón

“Impressive leadership of his team. Open to suggestions.”

Julio Castellanos

“Highly reliable, hands-on and solution driven lawyer with a very good sensitivity for the transaction parties.”

Adriana Castro

“Accessible at all times. Effective. Smart. Quick.”

Luis Castro

“Always available and open to finding solutions. Extremely well connected in our sector. Extensive network outside of Costa Rica as well. Needs to have better communication with other departments within the firm.”

Andrea Gonzalez

“Outstanding, professional, excellent.”

Ronald Lachner

“Ronald is excellent at his work. He has a deep legal knowledge, very involved on the client matters and responsive.”

Uri Weinstok

“He knows what he's doing, knows the industry, country and region political and commercial matters and is well connected. Therefore, is perfect to have him as an adviser.”

Consortium Legal

Consortium Legal is among the market leaders for banking deals – usually advising lenders – and for M&A work. The firm is also experienced in advising on debt capital markets issues.    

 Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Credi Q Inversiones $41 million financing

•                      Desarrollos Parque de la Sabana $35 million financing

•                      Liberty Global $250 million acquisition of 80% stake in Cabletica

•                      Hoteles DT Puntarenas acquisition of Hilton Doubletree Puntarenas Hotel

•                      Millicom $150 financing

Client feedback

“The strengths of the firm are the knowledge of its professionals and availability of experts.”

Oscar Sandoval

“Strengths include his availability, the fact that he is multilingual and his knowledge and expertise.”  

EY Law

In Costa Rica, EY Law is best known for its M&A practice but is also active on banking and projects deals.

During this research period the firm’s banking team has worked on credit facilities for clients, but the details are confidential.

The firm’s M&A team works in a range of sectors and has seen work in the telecommunications, automotive and education sectors this research period.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Liberty Global  $250 million acquisition of 80% stake in Cabletica

•                      Inchape $285 million acquisition of Grupo Rudelman

•                      NPH Holdco acquisition of North Peninsula Holding

 

Client feedback

“Very attentive and knowledgeable.” – Corporate

Hernan Pacheco and Jürgen Gustav Nanne

“Very responsive and reliable, offering practical and client-centric advice that makes sense for the applicable industry.”  

Fernando Vargas

“High expertise on corporate and tax matters. He bothers to learn about the industry and the activities carried out by the client.”

Hernan Pacheco

“Hernan is excellent with clients and calm under pressure, whether in negotiations or in strict client deadlines.”

AG Legal

AG Legal is an active project development firm. One notable matter over the research period saw the firm advise a bidder on a transport project.

Batalla

Batalla is an active M&A firm. The research period saw the firm advise buyers and sellers and advise on both strategic and private equity M&A. Recent work took place in the telecommunications, gaming and investment management sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Antin Infrastructure Partners/ Sixth Cinven Fund $2.3 billion acquisition of Ufinet 

•Blackstone Group €2.1 billion acquisition of Cirsa Gaming 

•UPL $32 million acquisition of Industrias Bioquim Centroamericana 

Central Law Costa Rica

Central Law is active on M&A deals. The research period saw the firm advise buyers and sellers in the aviation, real estate and media sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Grupo Multimedios acquisition of Los 40 Principales, Besame, and Q´Teja radio stations  

Dentons Muñoz

Dentons Muñoz, the Costa Rican arm of global firm Dentons, is a strong transactional firm. The banking team often advises lenders providing finance to local borrowers and the counts IFC and DEG among its clients. The M&A team is active and in this research period has advised many clients on the Costa Rican aspects of global acquisitions.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Banco Promerica de Costa Rica $20 million financing

•                      BASF €7.6 billion acquisition of Bayer's assets

•                      Baypiness Enterprises $15 million financing

•                      Cooperativa Nacional de Educadores $20 million financing

•                      Factoring Nicaraguense $1 million financing

Client feedback

“An outstanding law firm that provides personalised and efficient service and has highly capable lawyers with a broad mastery of tax and business acumen and services. They are very knowledgeable and experienced and are very active in proving competitive services at a high quality and impressive speed. In M&A, they make projects very easy to handle and understand in a very organised way.” – M&A

ECIJA

ECIJA is an active M&A firm in Costa Rica. Recent matters include a sell-side pharmaceuticals and a buy-side energy deal.  

Client feedback 

“Strengths include the firm’s efficiency, its concrete, fast and simple answers, its proper follow up, its commitment and its ethics and hard work.” – Corporate  

“The strengths of the firm are the knowledge of the work/matter, the commitment to the client and timing, as well as the capability to provide regional services with one single point of contact. The only probable weakness is the small team, but on the other hand this ensures that a partner is always involved on performing tasks and taking care of the critical matters for the client.” – M&A  

“ECIJA is a good firm, especially, Mr. Guillermo Zuniga who is advising us. He is effective and responsive on the matters.” – M&A  

“The law firm has an excellent knowledge of the power industry in Costa Rica.” – Project development  

“Strengths include reliability, reaction time and service quality.” – Project development 

Lexincorp

Lexincorp has an active M&A firm and advised merger parties and sellers in chemicals and hospitality this research period.

Sfera Legal

Sfera Legal is an active M&A firm. The firm advise buyers and sellers and saw recent work in healthcare, education and logistics.   

Client feedback 

“Pragmatic and prompt.” – Real estate  

Javier Montejo and Abraham Stern 

“Excellent. We are so happy to have them on our team. They have given us excellent legal advice and they are very responsive.”