BLP (El Salvador) may be smaller in size than the other elite firms in this chapter, but it punches well above its weight. Best known for its prowess in corporate and M&A law, the outfit also has noteworthy strength in banking and finance, as evidenced by its work in recent years.
Flanked by an experienced team, banking virtuoso Zygmunt Brett has steered this office to transactional excellence, making it one of the market’s most prominent players in the field. In fact, BLP recently advised Scotiabank as lead arranger and bookrunner in the restructuring of several loans by US telecoms group Phoenix Tower. The transaction won Latin Lawyer’s 2022 Deal of the Year Award in the banking and finance category.
Lawyers here are also adept at providing labour and tax advice, especially in light of new cryptocurrency regulations in El Salvador which have been attracting increasing amounts of national and foreign investment. BLP is looking to further broaden its offering, with plans to expand the litigation and IP practices.
The firm prioritises client satisfaction and constantly invests in technology to improve services. The outfit relies on state-of-the-art accounting and billing software across its offices, and has rolled out an AI platform in collaboration with Microsoft for the automation of notary public services, including immigration documentation. BLP has four full-time internal programmers to assist with technological innovation, as well as an innovation committee responsible for identifying products on the market that could benefit the group. The committee also encourages lawyers and clients alike to suggest technological improvements that could streamline the firm’s legal services. Additionally, BLP has developed software aimed at providing client quotes, based on a calculation of estimated working hours required for a project, while another piece of software informs clients of regulatory updates.
The focus on technology is indicative of BLP’s broader strategy to provide client-tailored services while facilitating talent retention at the practice. Through BLP University, the firm provides further training for its lawyers, focusing on technical skills, as well as soft skills such as leadership training and communication.
BLP’s client-centric philosophy is bearing fruit, as demonstrated by its popularity among many large businesses in Latin America. According to a study, “Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies”, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, BLP, as a regional law firm, represents 19 of the 100 biggest companies in Latin America, making it the most popular Central American practice among these clients.
BLP is aware of the need to place resources into diversity efforts and corporate social responsibility. Despite navigating different social realities across its five jurisdictions, BLP has tried to maintain a vision on diversity that is truly integrated. Achieving a greater degree of gender parity is particularly important to the firm (30% of its partners are women) and, as such, it has set up an equity commission staffed by both female and male employees to produce annual research reports and ensure pay gaps between women and men in the group are eliminated. BLP also continues to take part in equality and inclusion initiatives in the legal market, such as the International Women in Law programme. Pro bono work is also of great significance to BLP, where matters related to freedom of the press and media rights are close at heart for the firm.
With offices in five Central American countries, the Salvadorean outpost can depend on its regional presence as a source for work. BLP’s rapid and successful expansion across the region is thanks to the firm’s well-rounded approach to management, inclusive working environment and emphasis on technology, innovation and flexibility.
While BLP’s primary objective for the years to come varies slightly across the region, with individual strategic plans for each office, the underlying themes remain consolidation and stable growth to solidify its status as a regional market leader.
Costa Rican partner Luis Castro is the regional managing partner and sits on the regional executive committee alongside David Gutiérrez and Eduardo Calderón. Zygmunt Brett is the local managing partner in El Salvador. The firm has a wider regional managing committee formed of the executive committee members along with Brett, Luis Ruiz, José Álvarez, Ernesto Rizo, Karla Aguilar and María Inés Arenales.
BLP operates from the country’s capital, San Salvador. The firm has offices in Guatemala, the Honduran cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, and Nicaragua’s capital, Managua. Its largest office is in San José, Costa Rica, where it also maintains outposts in Los Sueños and Guanacaste. A representative office in Madrid was added in 2017.