Liz Gordillo

Arias (Guatemala)

Guatemala

Labour

[email protected]

Thought Leader LACCA Approved

Biography

Liz is a managing partner of the firm and member of the regional council. She assists international and local companies in compliance with local regulations, contracts, labour disputes, internal labour regulations and occupational safety, among other areas. Her practice is devoted to labour, immigration and regulatory law. She is also experienced in intellectual property, industrial property, corporate, agency and distribution, tort, telecommunications, product liability and consumer law.

She has had an active participation in the Review and Drafting Commissions for the Law on Competition, and the User and Consumer Protection Law. Liz has been a legal adviser to the United Nations in the Guatemalan modernisation programme (1997); adviser to the Guatemalan Tourism Institute in the modernisation programme (1997); consultant to the Revision of the Civil Services Bill (1996–1997); legal adviser to the minister and vice minister of the economy (1996–1997); legal adviser to the Immigration Bill (1998); legal adviser for the CAFTA Trade and Commercial Law Assessment Activity Overview seminar (2004); and leader of the Guatemalan team on the seminar pertaining to the USAID regional conference on the evaluation of the Trade and Commercial Law of CAFTA 2005.

She has a law degree from Rafael Landívar University, and is an active attorney at law and public notary. She studied legal issues on international business at INCAE Business School; the programme of instruction for lawyers at Harvard Law School; the Harvard leading professional service firms’ course; and tort law at the University of Salamanca, in Spain (2003).

Liz has been recognised by LACCA as a Thought Leader in labour matters.

Questions & Answers

Thought Leaders 2023 - Interview with Liz Gordillo

Can you briefly describe your career to date?

I have more than 30 years of practice as a lawyer in different areas, and I feel that the time has not passed. It has been an intense and rewarding process to be able to serve clients and, support them in finding solutions to their business needs. Nowadays, being the managing partner of our Guatemala office is also challenging and keeps me motivated every single day. Creating an appropriate work environment for our younger lawyers and seeing them become better professionals every day, and being able to chase a professional career as a lawyer attorney have made this past three decades diverse and interesting.

What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer in your practice area?

Providing solutions to the problems of our clients, but also discovering that there are many legal and strategic ways to solve a case, depending on the circumstances and the specific needs of the clients. 

There is always the challenge to be creative and efficient when providing a legal service. I like to think out of the box.

What was the most challenging case or transaction you have ever worked on and why?

This is a difficult question to answer, indeed. Some cases are challenging because of their complexity and, others because of the sensitivity of the issues such as harassment, labour litigation or the closing of a business. In every situation there is a duty to act in the most professional manner but, also considering the human part and the interest of our clients.

What are the greatest challenges for lawyers in your practice area in your country this year?

We’re still facing the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic, because it represented a new way of operating for a lot of employers. We’ve been cautious (country-wide) with the rising of health regulations, and we’re still following very close the numbers of cases, so we know every client is taking the correct measures for their employees.

On the other hand, we’re now in front of a new challenge, inflation, we know this may be the most relevant topic for 2023, so we’re taking advantage of the predictions and planning of our clients’ needs.

Unemployment is still something we need to address with our government authorities before inflation hits harder and the solutions become uphill. Nevertheless, I still believe in Guatemala and our great potential to overcome hard situations.

How do you expect your practice to evolve over the next five years?

It is an area of continuous growth.

The hybrid work-from-home, in-office model and the new structures adopted after the confinement, have been keeping us busy since then. However, our legislation is not as modern as our needs, so I think the evolution in this particular labour and employment area will be a commitment as lawyers to work closely with the government and leverage the need for laws that match the reality for our society.

At the same time, we see now how several countries of the region are creating and already offering the “digital nomad” visa, which is an interesting approach to increase interest in our region and may have a positive impact on our economy. However, in Guatemala the law is far behind, and this represents a great opportunity because it can change the course of the employment visa.

What do clients look for when selecting you as a lawyer?

They are definitely looking for experience, ethics, human connection, and a prompt solution to their problems.

How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?

I hope that our firm continues to grow and be at the forefront both locally and regionally in terms of quality and, the way of providing services to clients.

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I consider myself privileged because of the opportunities that I have had and that I currently have, to develop my career. I would like to be part of the professionals who can contribute to present and implement proposals for the modernisation of labour legislation in Guatemala.

It is important to think about the new generations that need access to employment and a legal labour framework that provides the facilities for this to happen.

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