Liz Gordillo

Partner

Arias (Guatemala)

Guatemala

Labour

[email protected]

Thought Leader LACCA Approved

Biography

Liz is managing partner of the firm in Guatemala, and member of the regional council, which comprises Arias’ managing partners in the region. As member of the regional council, Liz participates in the decision-making process related to operational, administrative and strategic matters within the region.

With a remarkable career spanning over 30 years, Liz's expertise lies in labour, immigration and regulatory law. Her extensive knowledge and experience in these areas have enabled her to lead those practices within the Arias offices in Guatemala since 2007. She assists international and local companies in compliance with local regulations, contracts, labour disputes, internal labour regulations and occupational safety, among other areas.

Likewise, she is also experienced in intellectual property, industrial property, corporate, agency and distribution, tort, telecommunications, product liability and consumer law. Through her high-quality legal advisory, she consistently achieves outstanding results as she maintains elevated standards of ethics and professionalism. Her clients seek her counsel, given that she delivers strategic legal advice and relies on innovative solutions for complex employment matters. Thanks to her impressive experience, she has become a respected expert in labour law, gaining recognition from her peers and becoming a prominent figure in her field.

And if that wasn't enough, Liz had an active participation in the Review and Drafting Commissions for the Law on Competition, and the User and Consumer Protection Law. She 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 on 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.

When it comes to her educational background, is important to note that 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).

Questions & Answers

Thought Leaders 2024 - 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 time has not passed. It has been an intense and rewarding journey to serve clients and support them in finding solutions to their business needs. Today, as the managing partner of our Guatemala office, I continue to encounter challenges that keep 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 pursue a professional career as a lawyer attorney have made these past three decades diverse and interesting.

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

Providing solutions to our client’s problems, but also discovering that there are many legal and strategic approaches to resolving a case, depending on the circumstances and the specific needs of the clients.

There is always the challenge of being creative and efficient while providing legal services. I enjoy thinking out of the box. It is also very rewarding to listen and learn from the ideas and perspectives of the younger generation; they always bring valuable insights that contribute towards enhancing what we do.

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

This is indeed a challenging question to address. Some cases are challenging due to their complexity, while others pose challenges because of the sensitivity of the issues involved such as harassment, labour litigation or business closures. In every situation, there is a duty to act in the most professional manner but, also considering the human element and the interest of our clients.

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

In general, the greatest challenge lies in the complexity of the judicial system for resolving labour disputes. This is particularly due to the slowness in resolving processes and the inconsistency of judicial criteria, which often involve superficial analyses.

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

It is an area of continuous growth, particularly due to the opening or acquisition of new businesses, the requirements from labour authorities and social insurance to comply with labour obligations. Furthermore, we have observed a trend in the restructuring of business models of many multinational companies, which involves adapting the workforce to their new needs.

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

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

They are definitely seeking 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 remains at the forefront, both locally and regionally, in terms of quality and the manner in which we provide 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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