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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

Pacheco Coto (Costa Rica)

Costa Rica

Top-notch firm undergoing rapid institutionalisation

  • Established: 1939
  • Partners: 9
  • Total lawyers: 36

Pacheco Coto has a well-established reputation in Costa Rica, especially for international tax and asset planning. Its regional presence, bolstered by a sprawling network of international representative offices, reinforces this top-flight offer.

Pacheco Coto’s capabilities do not end with tax. In Costa Rica, the firm has a good real estate, corporate and environmental offering – a status underlined last year by the firm closing one of the county’s largest real estate transactions. Resources are also being poured into new areas such as data protection, consumer rights and e-commerce. Pacheco Coto is targeting start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses with a new an online platform called Legaloop, which allows potential customers to request services quickly and easily over the internet. The infrastructure and real estate market in Límon is another focus: Pacheco Coto opened an office in the coastal city in 2016.

At a regional level, Pacheco Coto has a centralised approach to management, which is led from Costa Rica. The partnership believes top-down administration keeps quality consistent. The firm is encouraging deeper specialisation in its offices across Central America. By hiring new lawyers with good knowledge of competition, environment and trade law, Pacheco Coto aims to distinguish itself from more transactional-focused competitors.

Having expanded across Central America, Pacheco Coto is now eyeing the Dominican Republic. The firm continues to grow its network of representative offices, adding a sixth outpost in Hong Kong.

Offices

Besides San José and Límon in Costa Rica, Pacheco Coto has offices in the capitals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It also has six representative offices that assist the firm’s international tax planning services in Auckland, Geneva, Madrid, Munich, Zurich, and, as of 2016, Hong Kong.

Practice Areas

Tax

Key partners: Alejandro Antillón, Humberto Pacheco Alpizar and Randall Madriz.

Analysis: Pacheco Coto’s flagship practice is a major draw for many clients, who rely on the firm for everything from planning and compliance to preventive advice and litigation. An unrivalled network of representative offices scattered across Europe and Asia helps the firm attract and retain new customers.

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: Hernán Pacheco Orfila, who is recognised in LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister publication, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association. Fernando Vargas is also prominent.

Analysis: The firm’s corporate and M&A department is very good. Local demand, which increasingly comes from small and medium-sized businesses, is an important source of work, alongside inbound investment from elsewhere in Latin America and beyond. Multiple Central American offices give it regional clout.

Real estate & tourism

Key partners: Alejandro Antillón

Analysis: Real estate is big business in Costa Rica, and Pacheco Coto has shown itself to be more than capable of getting a piece of the action. Its excellent team is behind some of the country’s biggest deals. Customers from the residential and commercial sectors are often attracted by its complementary strength in tax planning.

Top deals

Litigation

Key partners: Marvín Céspedes, who is recognised in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: The firm's disputes team is adept at both administrative and judicial proceedings. Customers note the team’s professionalism.

Pro bono

Analysis: Pacheco Coto has gone a long way toward institutionalising its pro bono offering. The firm recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Costa Rican Bar Association’s Pro Bono Commission and instituted an internal committee to identify which projects it should pursue. Moreover, a percentage of profits at the end of the fiscal year will now go toward its pro bono programme. Beneficiaries include Proyecto Tierra Fertil, a not-for-profit scheme that provides painting and reading workshops to youngsters in the impoverished town of Guararí. Pacheco Coto’s lawyers through the firm’s Fundación Humberto Pacheco Coto also invest time in a scholarship programme, which allows students with limited means to go to university.


Regional presence

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