2023 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
As the only regional law firm with a presence in five Central American countries plus Panama and the Dominican Republic, as well as a platform covering some of South America, EY Law is now a serious contender in the regional legal market. It is one of the largest regional firms by headcount in Central America, allowing it to successfully manage multiple mandates at a time.
EY Law Costa Rica operates with an all-hands-on-deck approach, through which home-grown talent has come to be at the heart of the firm’s ethos. EY Law prefers to train and retain lawyers through promotions than seeking new talent laterally. The firm also maintains a strict retirement policy of 65, ensuring that younger talent is always progressing.
Resources are frequently allocated to software and data technology investments to streamline legal services and client communications, meaning lower costs for clients at the end of the day. One example of this is the firm’s state-of-the-art IP platform, which uses AI components to produce more efficient services to big corporate IP portfolios. Although these technological investments have facilitated the firm’s hybrid model of working in recent years, EY Law continues to place significant importance on cultivating a sense of belonging amongst its lawyers, encouraging a fluid balance between in-person and remote working. Work-life balance is another important focus of the management and is high on the list for the human resources department.
Technology aside, EY Law offers expert legal services across several practice areas. The firm prides itself on taking a proactive approach, pre-emptively bringing solutions to clients, rather than waiting for a problem to be presented.
EY Law is renowned for its tax offering, which is now reinforced on both local and international levels. Corporate and M&A and real estate are other rock-solid practice groups, thanks in great part to the deep bench of partners the firm brought in 2017 via the merger that launched its operations. Having already seen a boom in the volume of M&A deals in 2022, the firm has expectations for this area to be even busier in the coming year. An excellent environmental law practice also sets the firm apart from competitors.
Managing partner of EY Law Latam North and Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Hernán Pacheco Orfila, was appointed to lead the organisation’s northern Latin America division in 2020. Since then, the firm has been focusing on bolstering its Latin American coverage and consolidating existing markets. It did just that in 2022 when it launched a second Costa Rican office, this time in Nosara, a prominent location for tourism and real estate. EY Law is clearly betting on capitalising opportunities for the projected investment in the tourism industry in this area. This office is set to focus on real estate, hospitality, immigration, tax and corporate law matters.
Throughout the wider region, EY Law continues to perform well. The firm recently redefined its compensations system and as well as refocusing its KPIs to be more team-based and encourage further collaboration. To successfully cater to the growing start-up sector across several of the Central American jurisdictions, the firm has recently focused on developing a fintech practice, while compliance is another growing area.
EY Law has also recently focused on diversity, and particularly on facilitating the entry of more women into the firm’s partnership, with more flexible policies including the option to focus on fewer clients while still progressing.
Besides its presence in San José and Nosara, EY Law has offices in the capitals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. An outpost in the Honduran industrial hub of San Pedro Sula provides further support in that country. EY Law is also present in the Dominican Republic as well as in Panama.