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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

Paz Horowitz Abogados

Ecuador

Respected, compliance-focused firm

  • Established: 1991
  • Partners: 7
  • Total lawyers: 20

Paz Horowitz Abogados is a respected mid-sized firm in Ecuador, with a forward-looking view thanks to a thoughtful leadership. It hardly ever publicises the work it does, demonstrating a level of discretion much appreciated by clients – especially considering the high volume of sensitive disputes it has on its books. “Excellent knowledge of the law and comprehension of the client’s requirements” is how one in-house lawyer characterises this top-notch firm.

Paz Horowitz is taking a more specialised approach to its legal services, investing heavily in areas like white collar crime where it already has a stellar reputation. It is also enhancing its offering in particularly competitive practices such as IP by developing expertise in complex areas like data privacy law. It expects its environmental and labour practices to grow in 2017. These efforts are complemented by programmes that encourage associates to study and work abroad.

Paz Horowitz appears well on the road to recovery after a former name partner and prominent arbitrator left to head up Uruguayan firm Ferrere’s new operation in the country in 2015, alongside a group of lawyers. It has since made a series of additions to its partnership and opened a new consumer protection practice.

Offices

Paz Horowitz is based just outside of Quito in San Juan de Cumbaya. It also has a base in the port city of Guayaquil.

Alliances & networks

The firm has an alliance with TP Consultants and World Accounting Services SCC, and is a member firm of the State Capital Global Law Firm Group and Transatlantic Law International.

Practice Areas

Intellectual property

Key partners: Bruce Horowitz, who is licensed in the US and recommended by LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister publication, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association. Byron Robayo is also prominent.

Analysis: The firm has achieved trademark victories in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors and companies turn to Paz Horowitz to combat counterfeiting. The team also helps with transactional and non-prosecution work including privacy matters and advice relating to new communications legislation. “[They] have a very proactive and business oriented approach which, combined with their outstanding legal skills, makes work very effective,” says one client in the healthcare sector.

White collar crime and compliance

Key partners: Bruce Horowitz is recognised in LACCA Approved for his anti-corruption and compliance work.

Analysis: Paz Horowitz was an early mover in this field, making it well-placed to assist local companies waking up to the threat of the FCPA and UKBA. It also acts for international clients. The firm handles industrial espionage and data protection matters and there is an of counsel specialising in anti-money laundering legislation. Paz Horowitz has done important work with the Centre for the Study of Bribery and Extortion Situations (CESSE in Spanish), an organisation affiliated with Universidad San Francisco de Quito, to help individuals to ethically overcome the pressures to pay, accept, demand or hide bribes. It also works with a group of women leaders on extortion issues and has an anti-corruption blog.

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: Jorge Paz Durini, who is recognised in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: Paz Horowitz has a good corporate M&A practice that is well-received by clients and legal peers alike. “What impresses us the most is their knowledge as well as the different solutions they propose, always backed up by the required laws and regulations,” says a client in Ecuadorian heavy industry. The firm aims to distinguish itself by offering specialised services in this highly competitive area of law. Aviation clients feature prominently.

Energy

Key partners: Jorge Paz Durini is well-received by clients, particularly for contract work.

Analysis: Paz Horowitz helps various top-tier oil and gas companies on issues related to environmental, real estate and contractual law. It has also assisted clients in the renewables sector.

Tax

Key partners: Of counsel Rodrigo Garcés is recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: The firm is involved in transfer pricing cases, represents free trade zone users in claims over VAT refunds and litigates on behalf of its clients before the tax authority. It also handles tax matters for banks and mining companies and tax planning for business families. Compliance is a key part of its service offer.

Labour

Key partners: Xavier Sisa 

Analysis: Employment litigation is a mainstay for this busy team. Lawyers are also experienced in helping clients terminate employment for large workforces and engaging with unions.

Pro bono

Analysis: Paz Horowitz encourages lawyers to meet a target of 40 hours of pro bono annually. The firm gives out an award for the lawyer with the most pro bono hours, and there is a pro bono club lawyers can join, which brings them benefits. Lawyers often work with the Centre for the Study of Bribery and Extortion Situations (CESSE). CESSE helps individuals to overcome bribery pressure ethically. The Ecuadorian Rural Women Community Leaders Association is another recent benefactor. Paz Horowitz has been advising local community leaders on ways to overcome bribery pressures through a highly innovative project that makes use of “positive deviance” techniques to ensure all parties abide by the law.


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