Like some of BLP’s other offices in the region, its Guatemalan outpost is smaller in size than those of its competitors. But it packs a mighty punch, particularly in cross-border transactions. The firm boasts a highly respected corporate and M&A offering in Guatemala, with an already established client base and contact network.
The firm is active in big-ticket banking and finance deals – including mandates for regular client Banco Promerica – as well as complex cross-border financings. For example, it advised Scotiabank as a lead arranger and bookrunner for a restructured loan agreement to US telecoms group Phoenix Tower. The transaction won Latin Lawyer’s 2022 Deal of the Year Award in the banking and finance category.
BLP also has noted capital markets and arbitration groups in Guatemala, while the leadership reports increased work in labour law and real estate, fuelled by the nearshoring trend in northern Latin America. The office’s corporate and financial prowess was further bolstered by the 2023 arrival of Jorge Arenales as partner.
A horizontal structure and an attractive working environment for lawyers have enabled BLP to expand rapidly and become a market leader – the firm’s goal consists of creating a flat culture and making the workplace inclusive and enjoyable. BLP has been demonstrably active in gender parity initiatives too, recently introducing an equity commission staffed by both female and male employees to produce annual research reports and ensure pay gaps between women and men at the firm are eliminated. When it comes to diversity goals, BLP is working hard to maintain a unified vision across its offices – something further bolstered by its popular pro bono programme.
Across the region, BLP has been pouring resources into technological investments, including the development of software aimed at providing a client quote based on a calculation of the expected hours required for a project. It has also invested in its accounting and billing software in recent years, as well as an AI platform for the automation of notary public services. BLP counts on four internal programmers, who work across the firm to develop technological innovation. In addition to this, BLP has set up an innovation committee responsible for identifying products on the market that could benefit the firm. The aim of the committee is also to encourage lawyers and clients alike to suggest technological improvements that could streamline the outfit’s services to patrons.
BLP’s client-centric approach, as well as its presence in cross-border transactional work, makes it a popular choice for an array of clients. The firm’s strength is further evidenced by its popularity among Latin America’s largest companies. According to in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s affiliate, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), BLP in Central America represents 19 out of the 100 largest companies in Latin America. That makes it the most popular Central American firm among these clients.
Luis Ruiz is the managing partner in Guatemala. He sits on the regional managing committee for BLP, alongside leaders from each of the offices. Costa Rican partner Luis Castro is the firm’s regional managing partner.
BLP’s Guatemalan office is in the country’s capital. Elsewhere in Central America, the firm has offices in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and in the Honduran cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. The firm’s largest office is in San José, Costa Rica, where it also maintains an outpost in Los Sueños and two in Guanacaste. BLP established a representative office in Madrid in 2017, and since 2019 has had a special counsel based in Mexico focusing on business between Mexico and Central America.