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Holland & Knight announced in late April the expansion of its Bogotá office with the addition of 13 attorneys from Suárez Zapata Partners Abogados, a local firm that specializes in energy, environmental and natural resources law, and infrastructure. The new lawyers will join the firm later in May.
Internationally-recognized attorney José Vicente Zapata will join Holland & Knight as a partner along with 12 associates. Holland & Knight established a presence in Bogotá in 2012 and is one of only three U.S.-based law firms to have an office in Colombia.
Enrique Gomez-Pinzón, executive partner of the firm's Bogotá office, said:
"The integration of these distinguished attorneys represents a major milestone for Holland & Knight in Colombia. We will have a critical mass of legal expertise in all of the areas that are vital to Colombia's economy and future. We look forward to expanding client relationships by offering sophisticated services to new and longtime clients."
With the addition of the new attorneys, Holland & Knight will expand its capabilities in the region beyond its current offerings of transactions, arbitration, and labor and tax law. The team led by Mr. Zapata has more than 20 years of experience in the highly complex and regulated oil and gas industry and has advised multinational corporations, business associations, government agencies, and relevant authorities at the national, regional and local levels. In February 2014, they served as local counsel to Latin American oil and gas company GeoPark in its $95 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
Mr. Zapata and his team also bring significant M&A, corporate, project finance and infrastructure experience and have advised on several of Colombia's high-profile projects in diverse industries including electric power and water utilities, roads, oil and gas pipelines and mining. The team is well-known for its highly-specialized practice in regulatory matters in these sectors.
Mr. Zapata said:
"This move will expand the range of services that the team offers to clients, as the specialties of the current group of Holland & Knight attorneys in Colombia are fully complementary and different from ours. In addition, the Holland & Knight platform allows us to provide services to our clients in different Latin American countries. Our approach is to help clients succeed in a highly competitive environment by offering them rigorous and personalized legal services and unmatched industry knowledge."
Prior to joining Suárez Zapata, Mr. Zapata served as an officer and legal representative of several oil and gas corporations and as president of Columbus Energy Sucursal Colombia. Mr. Zapata is recognized by Chambers Latin America, Chambers Global, The Legal 500, Best Lawyers and Who's Who Legal as one of the leading environmental lawyers in Colombia and among the world's top energy lawyers.
Holland & Knight has more than 90 attorneys with in-depth experience in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity and financing transactions, and business disputes in and involving Latin America in commercial centers throughout the world.