2021 Latin Lawyer Elite Firm
Aguilar Castillo Love provides high-end corporate advice to major international companies doing business across the region through offices in all five Central American countries, as well as Panama.
While comparably small to most of its competitors, Aguilar Castillo Love is a highly visible firm. The Costa Rican office is a strong local player and a highly valuable part of the firm's regional network. A proven ability to coordinate affairs regionally has earned it an impressive group of clients, who ensure it a place on some of Central American's biggest tie-ups, restructurings and financings.
According to in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s affiliate the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association into Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies, Aguilar Castillo represents 11 of the approximately 100 biggest companies in Latin America. Some of the firm’s big clients include Amazon, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Central American dairy cooperative Dos Pinos, General Electric, US life sciences business MicroVention and Johnson & Johnson.
Aguilar Castillo Love’s regional reach and ambition extend beyond Central America. The firm has for many years had a joint venture with Ecuadorian firm Pólit & Pólit, which supports the firm’s cross-border deal-making. The Quito office has seen two new partner hires in 2020. Also in the last year, the firm entered Paraguay by hiring a local energy practitioner with significant in-house experience. The firm has carved out a space for itself in countries that so far have been overlooked by large international players. The partnership argues that with more markets, the firm can also grow locally.
A highly regarded team of senior partners is behind this successful firm with region-wide ambitions. Corporate and M&A law is the firm’s standout practice, but those in need of banking, litigation and tax advice need not look elsewhere. The firm stands out for a strong offering across several practices, many of which has been strengthened lately. The busy labour practice hired a partner in 2020, adding to several new partners the year prior across several departments. Anti-corruption investigations work is among the firm’s more recent additions to the legal repertoire and the practice has landed some impressive work on high-profile cases. A real estate partner departed in the past year.
Aguilar Castillo is a 2021 Latin Lawyer Elite Firm for good reason. The firm’s underlying goal is to be Central America's premier made-to-measure firm with an unmatched reputation for ethical practice. The firm emphasises quality over quantity as a key tenet, along with business ethics and compliance, and does not strive to be the largest, nor to do it all. Office headcounts are intentionally kept low to prevent talent from being diluted, while clients and legal matters are picked selectively. The partnership argues that a law firm is only as strong as its reputation and poor service can have a devastating effect.
Internally, diversity is a strong focus. Partner Tatiana Rojas-Hernandez heads the Costa Rican chapter of the Vance Center’s Women in the Profession initiative, which promotes female advancement in the legal profession.
Aguilar Castillo supports a group of senior Central American in-counsel who launched the very first Central American association for in-house lawyers called Asociación de Abogados de Empresas para Centroamérica in 2018.
John Aguilar Quesada in San José and Juan Carlos Castillo in Guatemala City serve as the firm’s regional co-managing partners. Aguilar also leads the Costa Rica office. Costa Rica-based partner Esteban Agüero manages the firm’s Salvadorian operations, splitting his time between the two countries.
Aguilar Castillo Love has offices in all five Central American jurisdictions, as well as a branch in Panama City. It also has a joint venture with Ecuadorian firm Pólit & Pólit. In 2020, it opened in Paraguay’s capital Asunción.