Solicitors governing body: Colegio de Abogados y Notarios(CANG)
Financial regulator: Superintendencia de Bancos
IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction:
Guatemala has a civil law legal system backed by the constitution which was originally issued in 1985.
According to Guatemala’s constitution, The University of San Carlos de Guatemala is the only entity allowed to revalidate professional degrees issued by foreign universities. All lawyers, to act in court, must be a part of CANG or Guatemala’s bar association. They must also have a degree from a recognised university and register with Courts Registry of Attorneys and Notaries. Foreign lawyers can work in Guatemala if licensed by CANG.
A mixture of regional and local firms dominate the market, and there have been notable mergers throughout the nation. In September 2015, local firm Asencio Barrios Andrade & Flores merged with regional firm Garcia & Bodan, which strengthened Garcia’s Guatemalan practice. In January 2015, QIL Abogados merged with 4 Abogados to create QIL+ 4 Abogados. Alongside this trend, in 2014 Guatemalan firm Arenales & Skinner-Klée formed LatamLex.
Most major players in the legal market are based in Guatemala’s capital Guatemala City.
Aguilar Castillo Love has an active banking practice. The firm’s banking team advised the banks and borrowers on credit facilities and notes issues.
Recent clients include Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Nature Conservancy.
Arias has a strong practice, both in banking and M&A.
Most banking deals were confidential this research period but involved advice to both borrowers and lenders on credit facilities. One publishable deal saw the firm advise Bladex on a loan to Banco de America Central – BAC.
M&A took place in a range of sectors. One deal saw the firm advise Sika Guatemala on a land acquisition and helping American Vanguard Corporation acquire agricultural solutions provider Grupo Agricenter. The firm often works alongside its other Central American offices.
Key clients include Bladex, Sealed Air Corporation and American Vanguard Corporation.
"The law firm is very responsive and provides a good level of service in a timely manner. We are using Arias throughout the Central America region and quality of advice varies between countries." - M&A
"It is very professional and diligent. It's great working with the firm." - M&A
BLP has advised on financing agreements, acquisitions, due diligence for acquisitions and the termination of commercial relations over the research period. The specifics of this transactional information were confidential.
The firm also worked on projects deals involving contracts. One deal example involved advising Energy & Infrastructure Analysis Center on evaluating the possible transmission of electricity through private lines between Guatemala and Honduras.
Central Law Guatemala has worked on the transfer of shares, acquisitions and provided general corporate advice to clients. One deal saw the firm advise Bluestone Resoruces in the acquisition of Goldcorp's Cerro Blanco Gold project.
The firm’s projects team has worked on developing a mining project and granting licenses, among other matters over the research period. One deal saw the firm work on developing a PPP model waste management in the city of Quetzaltenango.
Key clients include APM Terminals and Hard Rock Café International.
"It's knowledgeable of law and culture in Guatemala and well connected to the regulators." - Project development
"The law firm provides solid and accurate legal advice and translates it very well into actions. However, what differentiates Central Law from any other law firm in Guatemala is its intimate understanding of the political environment and its ability to navigate it without compromising high levels of ethical standards. This is an essential strength in a country where there is limited reliance on the rule of law. Juan Pablo Carrasco is the key person of the law firm. He is highly connected with the domestic and international business community and the political players. His level of personal engagement and will to succeed is unprecedented." - Banking, M&A
Consortium Legal has worked on loans, capital markets deals and acquisitions. One deal saw the firm advise the underwriters in the Republic of Guatemala’s bond issue.
In M&A, the firm advised EIG Credit Management on acquiring an energy company in Guatemala.
Citibank and Credit Suisse Securities were key clients of the firm.
"Great firm with a diverse team that specialises in multiple disciplines. The firm is among the few regional firms in Central America, building a solid base of young attorneys for the future." - Banking, M&A
"It has excellent lawyers, especially in tax matters. Alfredo Rodriguez has an excellent vision about business. He always has good advice and good ideas." - M&A, Tax
“Extremely knowledgeable about corporate finance and tax. Is able to make good recommendations from a legal perspective that make business sense.”
EY Law is active on banking, corporate and M&A deals
The firm advised Capital Bank on financial contracts and credit titles in Guatemala.
Significant clients include Cargill, Improsa, Losa Group, Renace and Inversiones Victoria.
“The firm provides high-qualified legal advice in several fields of law. Area strength is the broad-range of professionals with knowledge in multiple areas. Area weakness is the lack of flexibility of legal fees.” -- Corporate
“Highly qualified lawyer.”
LatinAlliance is active in financial and corporate law.
The corporate team supported Poza de Guatemala on its formation.
Significant clients include Cargill, Aluminios y Techos Guatemala, Multiproductors Globales, Sukarne Guatemala and Profilaxis Guatemala.
Lexincorp provides general corporate advice and has advised on credit agreements and acquisitions. One deal saw the firm help Grupo Modelo with its loan restructuring.
The firm’s projects team is active within the renewable energy sector. Transactions have included PPAs and supply agreements. One deal saw the firm help Xolhuits set up a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala.
The firm advises the likes of Ingenio la Unión and Agricola El Caspirol.
"Excellent corporate structuring plans. Extensive experience in energy issues and agricultural supply contracts. Exceptional knowledge of local laws and tax issues." - Project development
José Andrés Fuxet
“High knowledge of corporate restructuring and accounting.”
Mayora & Mayora is a leading firm for M&A and financings in Guatemala and also has a strong projects practice. One deal saw the firm advise Energuate in multiple bids to purchase energy. The firm also helped Sucden America with the structure of promissory notes.
The firm advises the likes of GBM, OHL and Productos Roche.
QIL+4 Abogados has been active on securities issues, project finance and M&A. The firm often advises the banks on the capital markets issues but it advises a mix of borrowers and lenders on loans. In one transaction the firm advised the borrowers and the lenders on the project finance for Renace to finance four hydropower plants.
Citibank, JP Morgan and The Bank of Nova Scotia were key clients.
"It is a professional, innovative, up and coming law firm with very knowledgeable lawyers. It's a good combination of skills within the partners and team." - Banking
"Very professional, with a very good combination between strategy and details." - Banking
"Great team, very professional, with world class deliveries." - M&A
“Creative, innovative, very driven.”
“Very professional, very reliable. Trustful.”
Skinner Klée & Asociados | Latamlex is an active M&A player. In one deal, the firm advised Jardines de la Asunción Sociedad Anónima on a joint venture.
"The principal of Skinner-Klée & Asociados - LatamLex, Alfredo Skinner, is a professional with high competence on legal matters in Guatemala and also has high-level networking in the Central America region. His law firm has been supporting our company for the last several decades. Along that productive pathway the firm has provided sound help with the change of proprietory group." Corporate, Project development