Colombian lawyers are preparing for change as Gustavo Petro, a former leftist guerrilla who has pledged to restrict extractive industries and raise taxes on the rich, takes office as president on August 7. He is the first leftist to govern Colombia, which is one of Latin America’s largest economies and which has recently been a hotbed of cross-border corporate work for global lawyers.
Law.com International asked José Luis Suárez, managing partner of elite Colombian law firm Gómez-Pinzón Abogados, about his expectations for legal work under the incoming government.
Suárez is optimistic that work will continue to flow. Gómez-Pinzón employs 152 lawyers and 22 partners across 16 practice areas in Colombia.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
In which practice areas do you expect to see more demand for legal services during the next administration? Why?
We are optimistic and trust that this new government will help industry grow in the country. We see extensive work on taxes because an important tax reform is coming that will make several changes. We also see an increase in work in energy matters with the transition toward renewable and clean energies. Similarly, we expect demand in administrative law with hirings and readjustments of relations between the private sector and the state.
In which practices do you expect to see less demand? Why?
We see a positive panorama and we believe that we will see demand in all our practices. However, there is some uncertainty regarding foreign investment, since investors are still trying to understand what is going to happen with financing and access for Colombian issuers in international markets. Also, there are questions about whether the cost of public-private projects or concessions will hold steady, or if we will return to a public works scheme.
What are you advising clients? Have your recommendations changed given the changes in Colombia?
As a firm, we remain committed to keeping clients informed as changes are presented—the legal, constitutional reforms and the corresponding regulatory adjustments. Our objective, regardless of the changes ahead, will always be to contribute to the development and defense of rights in the country.