With a wide service offering, Alta QIL+4 Abogados is one of Guatemala’s largest law firms. It has a respected partnership and an outstanding reputation among clients, who praise lawyers for their business approach, professionality and knowledge. It is best known for its transactional practices, which is the original core of the firm, but strength in labour and litigation help it stand out from many of its competitors. A recently opened environmental practice is also growing in demand, alongside its real estate and compliance offerings.
After some years of eyeing the opportunity to regionalise, QIL+4 joined forces with Batalla from Costa Rica, Valdés, Suárez & Velasco Abogados in El Salvador and Honduran firm Melara & Asociados to launch Central American law firm Alta Legal in 2021. As a result, the firm now operates as Alta QIL+4 Abogados. Guatemalan partner Andrés Lowenthal sits on the new firm’s regional executive committee. The regional firm may include a Nicaraguan outfit in the future. With a regional presence, the Alta QIL+4 is likely to become involved in more cross-border deals than it already is.
Despite a difficult 2020 around the world, the firm reports several impressive M&A and financing transactions, while labour and litigation have been active too. As courts have been closed due to the pandemic, litigious matters have piled up and the partnership aims to add capabilities to deal with that backlog. At the same time, Alta QIL+4 is working hard on identifying new areas. Newly found income sources in criminal and compliance law are growing in demand, while the competition area is yet waiting for a law to be passed, but that will eventually also be a new sector to bite into. Local fintech and start-up companies are carving out space for themselves while seeking financing and legal counsel, which represents another opportunity for Alta QIL+4.
While the regionalisation has been clinched, the firm also remains committed to strengthening its position at home by investing in technology and retaining young talent. A five-year plan, with a particular focus on technology investment, has included a hire to oversee a team researching how to use AI in the firm’s services. It also recruited a long-term in-house counsel from Colgate-Palmolive in 2019 as a strategic manager to lead the implementation of marketing and communication strategies and wellbeing at the firm – a person that has been key during the pandemic to ensure all remote connections and digitalisation work smoothly. A review of the firm’s corporate governance structure is also part of the five-year plan.
A career plan is now in place, providing ambitious young lawyers with clear guidelines on how to reach the partnership. With a young atmosphere – the oldest partner is less than 55 – the firm emphasises organic growth and providing the best possible support to its talents. That goes for all staff – a professional advancement strategy for its administrative personnel has been enforced for a few years. QIL+4 has been conducting externally organised surveys among all employees, allowing the firm to identify what it can do to improve the workplace environment. Better work-life balance, monthly partner–associate catch-ups, inspirational talks and nutrition and fitness sessions are some examples of feel-good initiatives that have come out of such surveys. To keep a horizontal structure in the partnership, the managing partner is appointed through a regular rotation system.
Alliances & networks
Alta QIL+4 is a member of the TAGLaw network and World Services Group.