February 29, 2012 – The law firm of Holland & Knight announced today its intent to open a new office in Bogotá, Colombia. Attorneys in the office, along with those throughout the firm, will primarily provide counsel to non-Colombian companies that wish to enter the Colombian market and assist Colombian enterprises as they look to expand abroad. Holland & Knight will be only the second major U.S.-based law firm to have an office in Colombia.
“Over the past few years, we have experienced a steady increase in the number of engagements for clients with interests in Colombia and the surrounding region. We expect our Bogotá office to become a hub for our growing presence not only in Colombia, but throughout Latin America,” said Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight. “Colombia is a leading center for economic growth in Latin America and is poised for further growth with the adoption of the Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. This should increase foreign investment and provide a growing number of Colombian companies opportunities to expand abroad.”
Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, who has been based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office for the past nine years, will lead the Colombia operation as executive partner of the Bogotá office. Mr. Gómez-Pinzón began his legal career in Colombia and has served as co-founder and director of the Colombian-Japanese Chamber of Commerce, member of the Bogotá Stock Exchange board of directors, and director of the Colombian Trade Bureau in Washington, D.C., where he represented the Colombian government and various Colombian industries. He will divide his time between Bogotá and Washington, D.C.
“For many years, members of our Latin America Practice have been representing clients with interests in Colombia and the surrounding region in complex legal matters,” said Mr. Gómez-Pinzón. “Colombia’s expanding international economy is presenting new opportunities in cross-border transactions and investments, and spurring more international litigation and arbitration cases.
Holland & Knight's recent Colombian engagements include:
· Advising Grupo Pichincha of Ecuador in connection with its sale to and re-acquisition from AIG of AIG's consumer finance operations in Colombia;
· Advising Drummond Ltd. in acquisitions and joint ventures in Colombia in connection with the expansion of international mining operations and infrastructure rail and port projects;
· Advised Industrias Metalúrgicas Unidas (IMUSA) sale to a Colombian subsidiary of Groupe SEB;
· Represented Colombia's Express del Futuro, a concessionary for Bogota's Transmilenio public transportation system, in the resolution of a complex six-year shareholder dispute;
· Advised Biotoscana Farma in sale to private equity companies Advent International and Essex Ventures;
· Advising Juan Valdez Café on expansion and site leasing in the U.S.
The Bogotá office will be Holland & Knight’s 21st office and second in Latin America, following Mexico City. The office is expected to open in April.
About Holland & Knight's Latin America Practice: Formed in 1981, the Latin America Practice includes more than 60 attorneys with in-depth experience in handling cross-border mergers & acquisitions transactions, joint ventures, private equity and financing transactions, and business disputes in and involving Latin America in commercial centers throughout the world. Overall, Holland & Knight has more than 125 attorneys and professionals who are fluent in Spanish, allowing for seamless, bicultural legal representation. www.hklaw.com.
About Holland & Knight LLP: Holland & Knight is a law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers and other professionals in 17 U.S. offices, as well as Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Mexico City. Among the nation's largest law firms, Holland & Knight provides representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law. Interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams provide clients with access to attorneys throughout the firm, regardless of location.