Firm Profile

DLA Piper Martínez Beltrán

Colombia

LL 250 Highly Recommended

Established: 1996

Partners: 10

Lawyers: 65

Work areas

This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas.

DLA Piper had a successful couple of years in 2020 and 2021, pursuing a path towards linear growth in the face of a year that presented a host of unforeseen obstacles. The Bogotá office of the international outfit added new firepower with the addition of a project finance head by hiring a senior associate from Posse Herrera Ruiz. The move reinforced its infrastructure muscle as Colombia continues to roll out its nationwide 4G project aimed at renovating its road network. The development of its increasingly prominent project finance group followed on from the recent launch of an office in Medellín, a hotspot that is quickly becoming popular with the local offices of global law firms – among which DLA Piper is one of the most visible.

DLA Piper has been steadily adding to its partnership in Colombia for the past two years and in 2021 it opened an international arbitration practice bringing in a lawyer from Shearman & Sterling. There may be an increased concentration of global players in the Colombian market, but the firm has earned itself a place among an exclusive club of those shaking up the competition.

When it comes to highly relevant transactional deal-making in the region, DLA Piper’s local team is often present and sits at the table across from the leading competitors in the market. Last year, it earned itself a spot advising six of Latin America’s largest companies according to a study, Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies? undertaken by Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer.

Distinguished by its creative solutions to complex legal issues, the firm is recognised for its highly capable banking team. This coveted group is deft at handling a broad range of sophisticated finance transactions. That muscle was put to work with its advice to the lenders in troubled Latin American airline group LATAM, which sought a US$2.45 billion debtor-in-possession financing amid pandemic-linked financial woes last year. The deal called on the DLA Piper’s restructuring practice group too, which has excelled since the firm bet on its expansion in 2019.

The firm’s quickly-growing project finance group can lean on its financial dexterity too, with the department becoming increasingly visible on complex and high-value infrastructure deals. It recently helped Consorcio Energía de la Costa buy assets from indebted local counterpart Electricaribe for US$1.6 billion, including contracts to supply power to two populous areas of Colombia. This area of the firm is suitably complemented by reputable natural resources expertise in its mining group. DLA Piper reinforced that pillar of the firm recently too, hiring an in-house lawyer from Colombia's Ministry of Mines and Energy as director of the group in April 2021.

Along with its successful banking and project finance groups, the firm is known for its corporate and M&A capabilities too, while its disputes, tax and insurance teams consistently do well. The firm’s client book is extensive and counts top-tier names in its energy practice, including US oil company Chevron and Colombia’s Ecopetrol. Spain’s Telefónica, América Móvil in Mexico, Colombian conglomerates Grupo Aval and Organización Ardila Lülle, Australian insurer QBE Insurance and international investor Oaktree Capital Management are other clients.

The relatively young firm has matured quite a bit since it became DLA Piper Martínez Beltrán in 2015, while junior lawyers benefit from a vibrant culture that puts the wellbeing of its staff at the forefront of what it does. DLA Piper has invested in new office space too, ensuring that its teams are equipped with the best tools to reach their full potential. Like many of its aspiring professionals, the firm remains ambitious with many future goals for further exponential growth solidly in the pipeline.

Offices

Leveraging its impressive and far-reaching global presence DLA Piper has put down strong roots throughout Latin America, with offices in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru. It has an office in São Paulo, Brazil through its association with Campos Mello Advogados. DLA Piper Martinez Beltran recently opened an office in Medellín and plans to add new partners soon.

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