In its second lateral partner hire of the year, Arias & Muñoz’s Panama office has hired Sheyla Soto as partner to head the firm’s banking and finance practice.

Soto joins the firm from Banco Internacional de Costa Rica (Bicsa), where she worked as Regional General Counsel. Bicsa is based in Costa Rica, but also has offices in Panama and Miami.

Arias & Muñoz’s Panama office, which opened five years ago, has experienced significant staffing changes in 2016. As of now, the firm boasts four partners: Siaska Lorenzo, Yuri Moreno, Tania Solis and now Sheyla Soto, and three of the four were not partners at the firm before the start of the year.

In January, the firm promoted associate Tania Solis, who specialises in banking, securities, M&A and insurance, to partner. About a month later, the firm incorporated Moreno Vásquez & Asociados, thus hiring Yuri Moreno as partner. Moreno advises banks and insurance companies, and his practice areas include litigation and arbitration. In April, then-managing partner Gisela Porras left the firm to serve on an advisory committee for the government, and Siaska Lorenzo (who was a partner of the firm at the time) took over as managing partner of Panama.

Porras also specialized in banking and finance, so Soto’s hire comes at a ripe time for the firm. Soto recalled that she had eye on the firm since its inception. “I had the opportunity to crystalize this project that was in the drawer of my desk for almost five years. I met with the partners from the rest of the region when the Panama office opened five years ago. It was, for me, something I wanted to achieve,” she said.

Since she came to Panama, Soto has worked at the Superintendence of Banks as a lawyer; then as Trust Manager at another bank and after that as in-house counsel at a series of banks.