The Colombian firm continues to take on disputes work following the loss of a high-profile practice co-chair
|Pending cases as counsel||4|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$327.5 million|
Colombia’s Gómez-Pinzón Abogados was known primarily for its transactional work until 2008, when it merged with a local disputes boutique, Zuleta & Partners. That brought on board a pair of practice co-chairs – Eduardo Zuleta and William Araque. The two men had cut their teeth at Baker & McKenzie in Bogotá in the 1990s, where they acted for Merck Sharp & Dohme in some early cases that generated important local court precedents for arbitration.
Under their leadership, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta (as it became) grew to be known as the standout firm for international arbitration in Colombia, with Zuleta achieving international prominence as an investment arbitrator at ICSID.
Zuleta left in 2016 to set up his own firm Zuleta Abogados (which also features in the GAR 100), leaving William Araque to steer the practice. He’s been involved in over 50 arbitrations and has also appeared in local courts on litigation matters.
The arbitration team is based in Bogotá but the firm also has an office in Medellin. It is part of the Affinitas network, which includes GAR 100-listed Miranda & Amado in Peru and other firms in Chile and Mexico.
Who uses it?
The practice has advised General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Honeywell, Benetton, US technology company Viavi Solutions, Bavaria Brewery (part of Anheuser-Busch InBev), Chilean department store chain Falabella and US advertising agency Young & Rubicam.
Colombian state energy companies Isagen and Ecopetrol have retained it, while the country’s national hydrocarbons agency is using it in a US$300 million matter.
Alongside Zuleta, the team recently helped General Motors defeat a US$39 million claim by a car distributor owned by Colombian entrepreneur Ardila Lülle, winning the client costs. The firm is now defending the award in the local courts against an annulment application and a constitutional challenge.
Araque has also had a hand in victories for Nortel Networks and several Japanese companies in disputes with a state-owned telecoms company.
The practice has received mandates from Ecopetrol’s oil refining subsidiary Reficar in four Bogotá Chamber of Commerce cases worth US$10 million.
It is defending an Ecopetrol pipeline consortium, Oleoducto Bicentenario, against a Bogotá Chamber claim by an Italian company; and pusuing a claim on behalf of a group of international investors in forestry assets against a Colombian company.
US gaming company IGT is using it for a US$20 million dispute with Colombian state entity Coljuegos.