The San Salvador office is the jewel of Arias’ regional crown, having garnered a reputation as a market leader thanks to its impressive talent pool of lawyers. The firm exceeds its competitors in size and has a leading position in cross-border transactions that is hard to match. It owes much of its success to Armando Arias, pioneer of the regional model many competitors have sought to emulate. Clients laud the firm’s responsiveness and in-depth understanding of business needs.
Arias’ high level of service extends beyond the transactional fields to areas such as tax, labour and intellectual property. Its prestige is recognised across each of these disciplines, helping to ensure clients receive a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary offering. The firm has been especially busy in 2022 with an impressive roster of clients from the retail and pharmaceutical industries. It has been active in financing and infrastructure projects, while seeing continued growth in emerging areas of fintech and compliance. With the recent introduction of a new water resources law in El Salvador, the firm’s environmental practice has received a good deal of work. Meanwhile, a hire in Costa Rica has strengthened the firm’s regional ESG group.
In-house counsel research conducted by LACCA, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, into “Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies” underlines the popularity of Arias among big-name clients. As a regional law firm, it is one of the three most popular firms among the approximately 100 largest companies in Latin America, 11 of which are represented by Arias.
Arias has capably stood its ground amid the rapidly rising number of regional firms and the arrival of international players. The firm’s founding partner Armando Arias remains active in its management, while the regional leadership is helmed by a three-member committee, with Roberta Gallardo as the Salvadorean representative.
While Arias’ cohesive multi-jurisdictional offering, which includes regional practice groups, is often mentioned enviously by its competitors, the partnership believes more can still be done. A key focus over the past few years has been to fully implement a new firm-wide career track to give young talent clear guidelines on how to grow within the firm. An internal mentorship scheme has also been established in El Salvador to encourage organic growth. The firm’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon office-closure policy on Fridays has continued into 2022, with management placing great emphasis on the lawyers’ wellbeing.
Arias is well aware of the significance of technology investment in staying ahead of the curve. The firm has invested in the development of internal software for the management of its cases in IP, litigation and migration, so that clients are automatically informed of progress in their matters. The same software is being rolled out across further areas in 2022, with development plans in place for the firm’s ESG commitments. Meanwhile, a new document delivery software is also in the making, which aims to improve process efficiency and free up resources, and the firm benefits from internal programmes for streamlining billing and administrative issues.
The firm is managed at a regional level by Armando Arias and an elected management council composed of three partners: Costa Rica’s Carolina Flores, Guatemala’s Liz Gordillo and Roberta Gallardo in El Salvador. Gallardo and Lilian Arias co-lead the San Salvador office. A management committee comprised of all managing partners across the region is also involved in the operation of the firm.
Arias has seven offices: six located in the capital cities of Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, and one in San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
Alliances & networks
The firm is a member of the Pacific Rim Advisory Council, and the Costa Rica office forms part of the World Law Group.