In the 1990’s, the speed, volume and amounts of business transactions increased exponentially throughout the world. Guatemala was not an exception: the end of the global Cold War coincided with the end of a decades-long internal armed conflict and with the early stages of a worldwide trend toward globalization, all circumstances which brought about major privatizations, increased foreign investment, multiple mergers and acquisitions and a boom in the banking and construction sectors.
This wave of economic growth and acceleration presented unprecedented opportunities for the law firms which were able to exploit them; some of the traditional family-owned law firms which, until then, had dominated the legal services market slowly evolved into more institutional models; and several lawyers who had built their careers as employees of the family firms left them and joined forces to found new, institutional law partnerships. These two groups of institutional law firms grew to become the current leaders of the Guatemalan legal services market.
Legalsa, an institutional business law firm, was founded in 2000, at the tail-end of the worldwide wave of economic expansion, to fulfill an unmet need in this new business environment: In the race to close quickly deals on M&A’s, public concessions, international loans, real estate developments and other major transactions, the majority of corporate and commercial specialists at leading law firms were not prepared to provide seamless continued support in the face of unexpected opposition or other adverse circumstances; their response to disputes between companies or, even worse, disputes within a given company, tended to be slow, disorganized, impersonal and lacking the necessary leadership. Deals were put on hold while cases were delegated to the firms’ litigators who were unfamiliar with the client’s business or, frequently, outsourced to sole-practitioner specialists who had no relationship with the clients or understanding of their business. Many clients found these responses unsatisfactory. It is precisely when their rights, their property or even their freedom are threatened that most clients want and need to know that they can count on their lawyer as an unconditional ally looking out for them.
At Legalsa, that is our essence; zealous defense of our clients is built into our DNA. We began as a team of young, aggressive, driven and highly specialized business lawyers fully committed to defending the rights, property and freedom of our clients, whether they are companies or private individuals, by maintaining a high-intensity focus and agile response times, whether at negotiating tables, before regulatory agencies or courts and arbitration forums of all types and levels.
This approach, our technical expertise, personal attention and human warmth, in combination with an impeccable record of wins, put Legalsa at the forefront of the market, as the only Guatemalan business law firm specialized in all types of dispute resolution and contentious transactions.
Over time, Legalsa has grown and evolved beyond our roots as a dispute resolution boutique, to become one of Guatemala’s leading full-service business law firms: we have been counsel to some of the most important recent mergers and acquisitions; we have advised and defended the holders of several of the largest public concessions in Guatemalan history; we have a thriving and highly-specialized real estate practice; we have one of Guatemala’s stronger teams of specialists in contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters; we have advised and assisted foreign companies and high-net-worth individuals to invest in new ventures in Guatemala; and advised private clients and family groups on estate and succession planning matters. Legalsa is now a law firm with the ability and expertise to fulfill all of our clients´ legal needs.
Over these 20 years, we have grown, learned and matured. We have developed capabilities and successful experience in most of the practice areas involved in business law, and we have enriched our team by adding new experts with different life experiences and viewpoints. However, we have made sure never to forget our roots, our essence, our DNA. At Legalsa we remain committed to be our clients’ unconditional ally, always in their corner.
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