BLP has received praise from Legal 500, Latin Lawyer, the International Financial Law Review (IFLR), and Chambers and Partners.
What is being said about BLP
QUOTES CHAMBERS 2016
• Banking & Finance
“BLP continues to provide business-friendly legal support and top work products. What separates it from other firms is that it provides that type and level of support at all levels of seniority.”
‘Sources are impressed with lead partner David Gutiérrez, whom they describe as ‘a brilliant lawyer.” They go on to comment: “He is very well known and active in the banking and finance sphere.” ‘
The “very reputable” Andrés López co-chairs the department and is commended by market commentators for his strength in banking and finance law. He has over 15 years of experience in both domestic and international transactions.
Vivian Liberman co-chairs the department and brings over 15 years of experience to the table. Her expertise in banking and finance matters is complemented by her knowledge of corporate and commercial law.
Star associate Luis Fernando Hernández is highlighted by sources for “the depth of his analyses, the design of his strategies, his efficiency and his interaction with lawyers in other departments.”
Associate Julio Castellanos has ample experience in different strands of banking and finance law including project finance structures and regulatory matters.
• Corporate/ M&A
“In my opinion it is the best firm. They have the fastest response time, their lawyers are accessible, they understand the needs of the client and they are flexible. Their greatest strength, in addition to their technical and expert knowledge, is their client service.”
“They are excellent. They have a keen awareness of commercial matters and are focused on ensuring that the deal gets done in the right way.”
The “excellent” David Gutiérrez heads the department and is held in high esteem by clients and peers alike. Sources comment: “We are very impressed by his professional quality, leadership within the firm and creative solutions to problems.” He works regularly with key multinationals on general corporate issues as well as large transactions.
Key partner Eduardo Calderón is described by sources as “a very thorough attorney with a lot of valuable expertise and experience. He’s very intelligent and prominent in this market.” His areas of expertise include M&A and private equity as well as general corporate issues.
Sources describe Mauricio Salas as “very business-oriented and great from a technical perspective.” They go on to comment: “His expertise in antitrust matters is remarkable.” His broad practice also covers environmental law and litigation.
Market commentators are impressed with Luis Manuel Castro for his strength in the corporate arena. They comment: “He’s a very strong, business-oriented attorney; definitely an asset to the firm in this field.” Also recognized for his expertise in real estate law.
Associate Adriana Castro is praised by sources as “a very good communicator with a lot of potential.” She focuses her practice on all areas of business, corporate and commercial law.
Carolina Trejos‘ practice covers the full spectrum of relevant issues. She is described by market commentators as “a very thorough lawyer with great attention to detail.”
Associate Marianna Fonseca is highlighted by sources for her “excellent technical knowledge, orientation towards results and focus on client service.”
Ronald Lachner brings an array of experience on finance, aviation and free trade zones to the corporate team.
The “brilliant” Uri Weinstok receives strong praise from sources for his expertise in competition and antitrust matters. They comment: “He’s an excellent antitrust attorney; an expert in this field.”
Pamela Sittenfeld focuses her practice on antitrust law, regulatory matters and consumer protection issues. She has 20 years of experience in the field and has impressed sources with her “extremely high level work, efficiency and degree of specialism.”
• Dispute Resolution
“We think they are the strongest litigation firm we have seen in Latin America. They take a practical approach to the management and development of the case and have an understanding of how a matter in litigation actually progresses through the court.”
“They do a great job of working to resolve our disputes, advising us on what the risk factors are and aggressively pursuing our interests.”
Department head Mauricio Salas focuses his practice on corporate litigation and arbitration. Sources value his sound judgement and broad knowledge. Also recognized for his expertise in corporate and environmental law.
“One of their key strengths is their ability to adapt to the needs of the client, responding in a creative way and creating an atmosphere conducive to work and innovation.”
Department head Mauricio Salas is praised by sources for “his experience and his ability to arrive rapidly at solutions to problems.” In addition to his expertise in environmental law he is also recognized as a leading practitioner in litigation and corporate law.
“The firm comprises excellent professionals who are highly specialized in the subject and whose client service has always been of the highest standard.”
“BLP stands out the most in the local market. They work with the main insurance companies and deal with a lot of the biggest banks.”
Department head Neftalí Garro is “without a doubt one of the main players in the insurance market,” according to sources. They go on to describe him as “an insurance specialist with a profound knowledge of the subject and the reality of the Costa Rican market.” He focuses his practice on regulatory matters, insurance contracts, reinsurance and consumer issues.
Associate Juan José López has notable experience in insurance and reinsurance matters, regularly assisting clients with regulatory matters and policy form filings and claims.
• Intellectual Property
“BLP is one of the best firms. Their main strength is the breadth of different matters that they are able to handle.”
“The IP department at BLP benefits from a strong leader; they are very solid and experienced in the material.”
Department head Giselle Reuben is highlighted by sources for her visibility and activity in the field. They go on to praise her “excellent technical management and sense of urgency.”
Uri Weinstok focuses his practice on unfair competition, anti-counterfeiting, advertising and consumer law. Sources describe him as “smart, engaging and responsive.” They go on to say: “He is strong in many areas; he not only knows IP well but can also advise on business law generally in Costa Rica.”
Associate León Weinstok is highlighted by sources for his recent activity in “patents, trade marks and enforcements.” He is described as “a good professional” with ample experience in the field.
• Labour & Employment
“BLP has expertise in all matters in which I have sought advice from them; however their greatest strength in my opinion is their attentiveness to client needs and their ability to act as a partner and business adviser in local matters.”
“They have a keen awareness of commercial matters and are focused on ensuring that the deal gets done in the right way.”
Department head Randall González brings 22 years of experience to the table. Sources praise his “knowledge, response time and focus on client service.” They go on to describe him as “very skilled and knowledgeable in labour and employment matters.”
“BLP is a top-notch firm. They are knowledgeable, creative and efficient. They are highly service-oriented and commercially aware.”
“They are very knowledgeable and produce high-quality work.”
Department head Luis Ortiz focuses his practice on regulatory and administrative issues. He has significant experience in complex infrastructure projects.
Associate Julio Castellanos focuses his practice on energy, transportation and social projects. Sources praise him as “very committed to his clients.”
• Public Law
“BLP is an excellent firm, one of the best. Among their strengths are their excellent client service, availability and technical knowledge and, above all, their orientation towards business objectives.”
“I have a very good impression of the firm. Their strength lies in their precision, their assertiveness and their in-depth analysis of each case.”
Department head Luis Ortiz elicits strong praise from clients and peers, who highlight his abilities in contentious administrative cases and describe him as “very professional and studious, with excellent knowledge of the market and the best strategies to follow.”
Associate Esteban Alfaro is recognized by sources for his expertise in the field. They praise his “magnificent technical knowledge as well as his great intuition for anticipating decisions of the public administration.”
• Real Estate
“The client service that BLP provides is remarkable. One of the things we value the most is that they are very committed with our projects and are very interested that our business succeeds.”
“Their greatest strength is their attentiveness to client needs and their ability to act as my partner and business adviser in local matters.”
Department head Luis Manuel Castro elicits strong praise from clients and peers alike, who highlight his “great experience, business sense and constant attention to the client’s needs.” They go on to describe him as “an extremely good attorney who knows the real estate market very well and knows exactly how to navigate it.”
Associate Andrea González is praised by sources for her “experience, knowledge and problem-solving abilities.” They go on to insist that “she has a very good future ahead of her.”
Key partner Eduardo Calderón has vast experience in all areas of real estate law, with additional expertise in corporate law and TMT. Sources comment: “He has great attention to detail and knows how to handle things very well.”
“BLP is a first-rate firm. Their strength lies in their technical abilities as well as their client-oriented and result-oriented service. I highly recommend them.”
“I like their personalized service and the involvement and availability of the partners. Although it is a smaller firm it is on a top level for tax issues.”
Luis Chacón is highlighted by market commentators for his strength in tax litigation. Sources describe him as “always prepared to resolve issues and quash doubts at any hour; he is proactive and benefits from a highly qualified team.”
“BLP is a solid law firm with important clients in TMT.”
Work highlights Continues to defend Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH) against an accusation by a cable company alleging ESPH’s violation of antitrust regulations.
Department head Eduardo Calderón is recognized as a key figure in the TMT market with particular expertise in related litigation. His broad practice also covers real estate and corporate law.
QUOTES IFLR 1000 – 2016
“BLP’s attorneys and staff work under a shared Vision. They believe that legal advisors should become true business partners of their clients, and to do so by providing top legal advice with business sense. BLP is consistently ranked as one of the top law firms in Central America by well-known legal and business rankings, all of which praise its culture of client service, leadership, and legal innovation. The main international practice of BLP is focused in coordinating legal services in Central America for its clients. The law firm has offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. BLP has formed a high quality network of firm in other countries of the region, and a different areas of law for the benefits of its clients.”
“BLP is better than most firms in the US and the UK. The firm has a superior operation in terms of legal skill, responsiveness and practical advice”
“Exceptional service, as usual and very professional advice. The team had absolute knowledge of the subject matter”
• Energy & Infrastructure
“BLP is far and away the best firm,” a client says. “They have mastered the service ethic and are always highly responsive. The quality of their advice and their ability to counsel clients on strategy as well as the law sets them apart.” Another adds: “BLP is very helpful and responsive. The team has good local knowledge and a network of relevant contacts within the utility sector.”
One peer notes: “BLP is a very good firm. They are very active and easy to work with.”
• Financial & Corporate
BLP is highly regarded for financial and corporate work and client feedback backs this up. A finance client describes the team as an “excellent firm, very responsive, with a client-focused approach”. A client from the healthcare sector says the firm provides “completely reliable, timely and knowledgeable advice”. There is also individual praise for David Gutierrez: “An excellent lawyer, very well respected in the country and in Central America. His understanding of issues and the needs of the clients is top notch,” says one client, another concurs: “Extremely knowledgeable and professional, very direct and realistic on scenarios and courses of action and always available and reliable. David is well above the field.”
QUOTES LATIN LAWYER – 2016
• General View
Until relatively recently the dynamic Young upstarts in the Costa Rica market, BLP has now come of age, comfortably an elite firm in the market and a leader in many practices areas across the board. It maintains its reputation as a gamer-changer though and many rivals keep a close eye on it within this highly competitive marketplace to see which way the wind is blowing.
The firm is very highly regarded in real estate, an expertise honed during the boom in Costa Rica, and hopes to export that to its new offices. Beyond that, BLP is known for its transactional expertise; during the slump caused by the crisis, it has also developed its capabilities in strategic day-to-day essential areas, such as public law, procurement, regulatory law and public utilities law, as well as working on a retainer basis with a wide range of start-ups and smaller businesses (not only interesting work in its own right, but also creating enviable link with tomorrow’s medium or large companies). BLP’s innovative reputation also extends to its social conscience, which is reflected in the firm’s admirable pro bono efforts.
• People & Practices
Described as a ‘genius’ by one of his clients, Georgetown-educated founding partner David Gutiérrez is the brains behind BLP’s expansion and a respected figure within Costa Rica’s legal community. He heads the firm’s flagship corporate practice and is recommended in LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister association, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association. He worked alongside fellow Georgetown alumnus and co-founder Luis Castro. Castro leads the firm’s well-known and exceptionally busy real estate division and takes the lead on tax, but is also a tried hand in everything from corporate and M&A to energy finance. Castro has inspired loyalty from his clients – one of whom says he is the first port of call before making any investment in Costa Rica.
The firm’s IP offering was strengthened even further in 2015 by the incorporation of IP and antitrust boutique Weinstok Abogados, which added eight new lawyers to the firm, including founding partner Uri Weinstok. He receives glowing reviews from clients. ‘Uri Weinstock is a solid leader, and his brother Leon is second to none as a future star,’ says a lawyer from a leading Venezuelan IP firm. ‘The addition of Weinstock & Associates to their team put them as the “best of class” in Costa Rica in the areas of interest for our clients.
Ricardo Cevallos, one of the top names in Salvadorean corporate law, leads the office. BLP’s strategy in El Salvador is driven by his extensive knowledge of the market and management expertise gained over 15 years.“Ricardo Cevallos, a very prominent corporate practitioner from a well-respected rival to head the office, and staffing it with a small team of associates”
Corporate and M&A and banking and finance practitioner Ernesto Rizo heads BLP’s Nicaraguan branch and is the sole partner. Georgetown-educated, Rizo is well placed to hold his own against the local competition and can draw on BLP’s wider expertise, particularly in tax and real estate, when necessary. He is backed by an experienced team of associates.
Clients heap praise on the firm’s service offering. ‘They are the best at making business happen, while protecting our interests every inch,’ says one, while another commends them on the quality of their advice. ‘We chose to hire them for their outstanding performance and in-depth analysis,’ he says.
QUOTES LEGAL 500 – 2015
• General View
BLP is consistently ranked as one of the top law firms in Central America by well-known legal and business rankings. They focus on the firm’s culture of client service, as well as the quality of its work. It is also one of the law firms that is referred to by the embassies of the world’s largest economies.
The firm’s international capabilities extend worldwide. BLP has developed a network of law firms around the world, not only through years of working with some of the leading lawyers in each country, but also through exclusive legal networks in which it actively participates: Meritas (www.meritas.com) and the State Capital Law Firm Group (www.statecapitallaw.com). Today, BLP is one of the very few law firms in Central America that works with a true business structure, where all its professionals and staff work together towards a common goal: to satisfy the demands of its clients. BLP’s professionals do not simply share costs or a logo; they also share values and principles, all for the benefit of its clients. BLP operates under a series of guiding criteria, which allow it to pursue the total satisfaction of its clients. These are: commitment to quality; commitment to service; ethics; teamwork and cost-consciousness; commitment to leadership and development; talent; and pro bono work.
Since its opening, the firm has remained loyal to this vision and understood that clients are not only seeking the best legal advice, but also efficiency. BLP defines efficient service as one provided with world-class quality, in a timely and cost-conscious manner, while being open to alternative fee arrangements with clients. Consequently, leading multinationals have retained BLP’s services, either for one or more transactions, or for their day-to-day needs.
The main international practice of BLP is focused on co-coordinating legal services in Latin America for its clients. The firm has offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. BLP has formed a high-quality network of firms in other countries of the Latin American region and in different areas of law for the benefit of its clients.
• Banking & Finance
Traditionally one of the strongest players in the banking and finance arena, BLP is frequently involved in the market’s most prominent transactions. The practice group is led by the highly recommended duo Andrés López and Vivian Liberman, and demonstrates particularly strong cross-border expertise for a predominantly multilateral lender-based client rosterFounding partner David Gutíerrez is a key team member Eduardo Calderón and Luis M Castro are also active in the sector.
• Corporate & M&A
Corporate powerhouse BLP is well-known in the market for its considerable transactional activity, cross-border expertise and sophisticated day-to-day advice to local and international clients alike. The practice was further strengthened, recently, with the arrival of Uri Weinstok, as a partner, and Pamela Sittenfeld, as special counsel, from Weinstok Abogados; both bring further competition and antitrust expertise to the team. In 2014, key practitioner Eduardo Calderón advised Bekaert on its expansion plans in Central and Latin America, which included the acquisition of a majority shareholding in the ArcelorMittal steel wire plant in Costa Rica, and acquiring all remaining shares in the Cimaf ropes plant in Brazil, among other matters; the investment in Costa Rica alone was $25m. In other highlight work, highly regarded managing partner Luís M Castro assisted Mayca Distribuidores with the sale of 50% of its stock to Sysco, and advised digital marketing agency Darwin Zone on its acquisition by Lionbridge. The particularly visible Castro also assisted ENGIE (formerly GDF SUEZ) with an $850m sale of assets in Costa Rica and Panama to Celsia. Founding partner David Gutiérrez is another name to note, as is Ronald Lachner, who assisted AGM Automotive on its acquisition of Chicago Miniature Lighting. Other key clients include Hyatt Hotels and UPS.
• Dispute resolution
With 21 lawyers committed to dispute resolution, BLP fields one of the largest and most diverse contentious practices in the country. While personnel specializations within the team differ from commercial law, product liability, IP, real estate, public law, labour and tax among others, the group packs a particular punch representing clients in distribution disputes, where it has acted for industry heavyweights.
• Intellectual Property
Demonstrating impressive strength in the IP arena, BLP covers the entire spectrum of intellectual property-related advice but is particularly active in counterfeiting actions and the registration and protection of trade marks. The team was recently strengthened considerably with the arrival of eight lawyers from Weinstok Abogados which merged into the firm in June 2015. Senior figure Uri Weinstok, who joins the firm as co-chair of the IP-practice group, is also a former president of the Costa Rican antitrust authority (COPROCOM). In other work, co-practice head Giselle Reuben, who made partner in November 2014, advised home technology company Bticino on designs, copyright and IP infringement.
• Labour & Employment
Costa Rican powerhouse BLP’s four-strong employment practice group houses considerable experience and provides expert advice on both the contentious and non-contentious aspects of the sector. In 2014, highly regarded practice head Randall González and his group were particularly active on labour disputes for a number of high-profile multinational clients.
• Real Estate
While covering the entire spectrum of real estate related advice, BLP has particular clout in the hospitality. In a further indication of its commitment to the practice, in mid-2015 the firm opened a third Costa Rican office (in addition to those in San José and Bahía Herradura) in Guanacaste, specifically to handle real estate matters in the country’s north-western region. Experienced and well-known figures Eduardo Calderón and Luis M Castro oversee the new office and are also the key contacts in San José.
Costa Rican powerhouse BLP has significant experience in advising on tax and asset planning and corporate restructuring processes, but in 2014, was particularly active in contentious matters. Recommended practice co-head Luis Chacón, who has an impressive track record in contentious tax matters, represented a major international airline in a litigation pertaining to municipal license tax, as well as acting for a domestic supermarket chain in a tax litigation related to foreign remittances. His fellow co-leader, Luis M Castro, is also recommended.