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Four Central American law firms join forces to launch Alta Legal
Four Central American law firms have joined forces to launch Alta Legal, a multidisciplinary regional firm, following three years of negotiations.
ALTA is formed by the fusion of Batalla Abogados of Costa Rica, Valdés, Suárez & Velasco Abogados of El Salvador, QIL+4 Abogados of Guatemala, and Melara & Asociados of Honduras.
"We are not a partnership, we are a new Central American regional, multidisciplinary firm that offers our clients exceptional experiences based on a deep understanding of their business and with the same level of service and quality no matter where they are," the new firm said in a statement.
The firm is the result of three years of work and analysis, on top of years of friendship among the four constituent firms’ respective partners, as well as joint regional experience and reciprocal collaboration, Alta Legal said.
The four firms had collaborated on cross-border transactions, resulting in them sharing common clients.
"It is very positive news, a response to the needs of our clients and to market trends. Alta seeks to generate added value in its regionalization by bringing a unique and differentiating approach," the new firm said.
The leadership of the firm will be shared among each local team, with each regional office taking a new name: Alta Batalla, Alta Valdés, Suárez & Velasco, Alta QIL+4 Abogados, and Alta Melara & Asociados.
The new firm has a pool of 157 professionals, including more than 80 lawyers and 23 partners, to serve 13 regional practice areas.
"Our differentiating element is the business vision that we bring to our clients to accelerate their success," the firm said.
Despite the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Central America is experiencing a good economic moment with many challenges and opportunities for its clients and this is evident in the large number of transactions and cases they are currently working on together in the region, including financings, M&A, regional trade, multi-country growth plans and infrastructure investment, the firm said.
"In all the countries there are good prospects and a lot of appetite to attract more investment," the firm said.
The firm’s founding partners include Alejandro Batalla, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a lawyer and as a board member of a number of large companies, as well as a professor at the Autonomous University of Central America and at the University of Costa Rica.
He has also served as a magistrate in Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber for eight years, and holds a law degree from the Autonomous University of Central America and a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Bordeaux in France.
Julio Valdés has a doctorate in law from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado, and a master’s degree in business law from the UAB. He has undertaken studies in international commercial arbitration and comparative corporate law in Paris, taught by Cornell University, Cornell Law School-Université de Paris, as well as a lawyers’ instruction program at Harvard University.
José Quiñones has extensive experience in finance, tax planning and compliance matters, and has advised foreign financial institutions on structured finance transactions, sovereign bond offerings in international capital markets, cross-border transactions and their tax implications, mergers and acquisitions and complex project finance deals involving local and international banks and financial institutions and/or borrowers.
He has also held the position of advisor to insurance companies, advising on complex claims and reinsurance disputes involving agreements or transactions governed by Guatemalan or foreign law.
He is an appointed Arbitrator for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and has also served as a director of several financial and industrial institutions such as the Center for Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR), and actively participates, pro-bono, in institutions that work for the transparency and advancement of the Guatemalan justice system.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Simon School of Business, at the University of Rochester in New York, and a law and notary degree from the Universidad Rafael Landívar.
Oscar Armando Melara Facussé was managing partner at Melara & Asociados since 2002, and is a lawyer and notary public with experience in a range of practice areas, such as corporate, banking, financial, commercial, energy, administrative law, intellectual property, telecommunications and tax.
He has acted as legal advisor to many well-known local and regional commercial and industrial companies, and is a certified arbitrator at the Conciliation and Arbitration Center of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
He holds a master’s degree in law from Northwestern University School of Law in the US, and a law degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras.
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