Ignacio Andrade

EDUCATION
Universidad Rafael Landívar. Studies in the Master’s Degree of Constitutional Law, (2015 2016) Universidad de Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Master in Business Administration (1988) Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Graduated in Law with Honors “Cum Laude”, (1986)


MEMBERSHIPS
Guatemalan Bar Association, 1986. International Trademark Association (INTA). Interamerican Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI). International Bar Association (IBA).


CAREER
Managing Partner at Sfera (2018 – today), Managing Partner at Asensio Andrade Flores (1990 – 2018); Consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (2017); Advisor for PRONACOM, for the analysis and dissemination of initiatives and bills: Construction Licenses (December 2017); President of Asociación Amigos del País, (2009 – 2017); Managing Partner of Garcia & Bodán Guatemala, (2015 – 2016); Board Secretary of Fundación Ramiro Castillo Love, (until 2009); Board Secretary of Asociación Amigos del País, (1994 – 2008); External Consultant ad honorem of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, (2004 – 2005); Arbitrator appointed by the Arbitration Center of the Chamber of Commerce of Guatemala (CENAC) and Conflict Resolution Commission of the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (CRECIG); Counsel in Arbitration by the International Chamber of Commerce (CCI) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA); Counsel for appeals, arbitrations and executions of foreign and national arbitration matters; Litigation Attorney in Corporative and Tax Law with experience in labor matters; Alternate Delegate of the General Assembly of the United Nations, (1987)

Melissa Morán

EDUCATION
Boston University School of Law. LLM in Banking and Finance (2010) Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Graduated with honors in Law (2005)

MEMBERSHIPS
Guatemalan Bar Association 2005.


CAREER
Partner at Sfera (2019). Senior Associate at Sfera (2018-2019), Senior Associate at Asensio Andrade Flores (2010 – 2018). Legal advisor for the international division of Banco Industrial, S.A. (2007-2009) Manager of the Conflict Resolution Commission of the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala – CRECIG- (2005-2007).

Rafael E. Cañas

EDUCATION
Stanford University (LL.M., 2008); Yale University (Management Program for Lawyers, 2005); University of Costa Rica (Juris Doctor, Academic Honors, 1994).

MEMBERSHIPS
Costa Rican Bar Association; Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce; Costa Rican International Law Association; International Commission of Jurists, Costa Rica Chapter; International Who’s Who of Professionals.

CAREER
Founding Partner, Sfera Legal (2012-present); Founding Partner, Facio Abogados (2000-2012); Partner, Guardia, Cubero & Facio (1994-2000); Recipient, Latin America’s Leading Lawyers, Chambers and Partners Latin America (2009-present); President, Lincoln School Alumni Association, 2005; Degree Exams Jury, Autonomous University of Central America, 1994; Official Translator and Interpreter, appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1993.

Robert C. van der Putten

Education
Universidad Internacional de las Americas (Juris Doctor, Academic Honors, 1995); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Business Administration, 1990-1992). Professor: Public International Law, Universidad Internacional de Las Americas, 1998.

Memberships
Costa Rican Bar Association, International Trademark Association.

Experience
Founding Partner of Feinzaig, Scharf & van der Putten, (2000-2012); Associate Attorney, Facio & Cañas, (1996-2000); Board Member of ALICO COSTA RICA, S.A., (August 2012-2016); Director of Asociación de Concesionarios de Papagayo since February 2010; Board Member of Panamerican Life Insurance Costa Rica, (2010-2018); Founding Director, Central American and the Caribbean Oil Extractors Association (ACCEA); and Director of La Cámara de Comercio Holandesa de Costa Rica (Holland House) (2019-present).

Eric Scharf

Education
Columbia University School of Law, New York (LL.M., 1999. Designated as honor student. Scholarships from Fulbright-LASPAU and the Organization of American States). College of Insurance, New York. (Courses on Risk Management & Insurance, 1999). Practicing Law Institute, Nueva York. (Courses on Insurance, Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities, 1999-2000). University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica. Law Degree and Notary Public, June 1994. Honor student and Honor graduation

Memberships
Costa Rican Bar Association, 1994. Member of the International Insurance Society. Member of the Costa Rican Association of International Law (Treasurer 2008-2012, Vice-President 2012-2015). Founding member of the Association for the Study of the CAFTA Free Trade Agreement (Treasurer 2005-2006, President 2006-today). Member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (Membership Chair of the Costa Rican Chapter 2012-2104, President of the Costa Rican Chapter 2014-2015, Area Director for Central America and the Caribbean 2015-2017, Regional Director for Latin America 2017-2019). Director of the Costa Rica-Israel Forum (2009-today). Founding member of the Costa Rica-Israel Chamber of Commerce (Vice-President 2015-2016, President 2016- today). Founding member of the Costa Rican Interfaith Forum (2016-today)

Experience
COALICION COSTARRICENSE DE INICIATIVAS DE DESARROLLO (CINDE), San José, Costa Rica. Comptroller of the Board of Directors, 2015-2019. Director of the Board of Directors, 2018-2019. President of the Board of Directors (2019-today). PROMOTORA DE COMERCIO EXTERIOR (PROCOMER), San José, Costa Rica. Member of the Board of Directors, 2010-2014. Sfera Legal, San José, Costa Rica. Founding Partner, 2012-today. Private Property Registry, San José, Costa Rica, 2007-2008.Feinzaig, Scharf & van der Putten (FSV), San José, Costa Rica. Founding Partner, 2000-2012. Brown & Wood LLP, New York. Foreign Associate, 1999-2000. Facio & Cañas Law Firm, San José, Costa Rica. Associate Attorney, 1994-2000. Paralegal, 1989-1994. University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica. Professor of Civil Law (1997-1998, 2001-2002); Professor of Roman Law, (1995-1997).

José A. Schroeder

EDUCATION
University of Costa Rica, (Law degree and Notary Public degree, Academic Honors, 1994).


MEMBERSHIPS
Costa Rican Bar Association, Costa Rican Association of International Law.


CAREER
Founding Partner, Sfera Legal, (2012-present); Partner, Facio Abogados, Costa Rica (2008-2012); Partner, Volio, Chacón & Schroeder (2001-2008); Partner, Asesores Legales Internacionales (1997-2001); Associate, Appel Abogados (1994-1997); Official Translator and Interpreter, appointed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (1993).

José Pablo Arce

EDUCATION
Universidad de Costa Rica (Juris Doctor, Honor Thesis).

MEMERSHIPS
Costa Rican Bar Association.

EXPERIENCE
Partner at Sfera Legal (2016-present); Associate at Sfera Legal (2012-2016); Paralegal/Associate at Facio Abogados (2002-2012).

Ismene Arroyo

EDUCATION
Master in Commercial Law, Laureate International Universities/Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, (2013); Law Degree and Notary Public, University of San José, (2003).

MEMBERSHIPS
Member of the Board of Directors of CATURGUA, (2016-2017); Honorary member of the current Tamarindo Development Association; Honorary member of La Asada de La Garita, Tamarindo, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste; Costa Rican Bar Association (2003).

CAREER
Partner at Sfera Legal Tamarindo (2018-present); Founding Partner at Arroyo & Asociados, (2003-2017).

Andrés Montejo

EDUCATION
Universidad Estatal a Distancia (Master in Economic Law with Emphasis in International Trade, 2006); University of Costa Rica (Law Degree, Honor Graduation, 1989); UNED(Notary Public, 1989); Tulane University, New Orleans, USA (Legal Studies, 1987).


MEMBERSHIPS
Costa Rican Bar Association (1989); Property Law Chair, Law School, University of Costa Rica (1994 – present).


CAREER
Partner at Sfera Legal (2018-present); Member of the Evaluating Court for the position of 4th Civil Judge, Council of the Judiciary, Judicial Power, (2009-2018); President of the National Consumer Commission, MEIC (2000-2002); Member of the National Consumer Commission, MEIC (1999-2003); Executive President of the National Institute of Housing and Urban Planning (2001-2002); Property Law professor, Law School, University of Costa Rica (1994 – present); Commercial Law Professor, Master in Economic Law, Universidad Estatal a Distancia, Costa Rica (2006-2014) ; Advisor National Institute of Municipal Development IFAM (1999-2000); Honorary Professor. Central American University of Business Science, Managua, Nicaragua (2003). Founding Partner at Montejo Law (1989-2017).

Eduardo Gutiérrez

EDUCATION
Vanderbilt University, Law School (Master of Laws, emphasis in Corporate Law – 2011); Universidad Americana (UAM), Bachelor of Laws (2009), INIDEM, Business Law School, Law Practice Management (2017); Universidad Americana (UAM), Postgraduate Studies in Civil Procedure Law (2018); Universidad Americana (UAM), Postgraduate Studies in Corporate and Commercial Law (2009).

 

MEMERSHIPS
Associated Member of Instituto Nicaragüense de Desarrollo (INDE) (2013 to 2016); Member of the Investment Committee of the American Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce (2014-2018).


EXPERIENCE
Partner at Sfera Legal (2018-present), Head of Corporate Department at LatinAlliance Nicaragua (2014-2018), Senior Associate at Pacheco Coto Nicaragua, (2012-2014), Associate, Corporate Law Department at Consortium Legal Nicaragua, (2007-2012). Law Professor, Legal Systems, Universidad Americana (UAM), (2013-2016).

Andrés Cuadra

EDUCATION
INIDEM Business Law School, Masters in Masters in Law (LLM, with Academic Honors), (2013); Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. (Law degree and Notary Public degree, 2011).


MEMBERSHIPS
Memberships: Founding Members of the Nicaraguan Chapter of the International Law Association (NB-ILA).


EXPERIENCE
Partner at Sfera Legal, (2017-present); Legal Coordinator, Rocedes, S.A, (2017-present); Associate, Consortium Legal Nicaragua (2014-2017); Associate, Guzmán Aróstegui & Asociados (2011-2014); Legal Coordinator, Corporación Eléctrica Nicaraguense, S.A. (CENSA), (2012-2014).

Jorge Asensio

EDUCATION
Instituto Latinoamericano de Administración de Empresas (INCAE). MBA, (1974). Universidad Rafael Landívar. Graduated in Law, (1973)


MEMBERSHIPS
International Bar Association (IBA). Guatemalan Bar Association. 1973. Puerto Barrios Administrative Board. Member of the National Port Commission. Hydrowest International.


CAREER
Partner, Sfera (2018 – today); Partner, Asensio Andrade Flores (1975-2018); Member of the National Port Commission (2007 -2015); Member of the Administrative Board of Puerto Barrios (1990 – 2015); Manager of Fabrigas Belice (2002 – 2008); Manager of Compañía Nacional Productora de Cemento, S.A. (CANAL) Nicaragua (2002 to date); Director and Founder of Insurance Company La Ceiba; Manager of Compañía Bananera Guatemalteca Independiente, S.A. (COBIGUA – Chiquita Brands), (1987-2015); Member of the Tax Commissions of 1980, 1982, 1988 CACIF; Foreign Associate, of the Law Firm Arnold & Porter de Washington DC, (1974-1976).

Gabriel Pallarés

EDUCATION
Universidad de San Carlos. Guatemala, Guatemala Estudios de: PHD in Law. 2012 – 2015 Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Guatemala, Guatemala Master’s Degree in Finance and Tax, LLM in Finance, Minor in Entrepreneurship – Joint program with Tulane University. Lawyer, Notary and Licentiate of Legal Sciences. Thesis: “Análisis legal de la autoinstalación de software no deseado en las computadoras personales”.


MEMBERSHIPS
Guatemalan Bar Association  (2001) • Member of the International Bar Association (IBA) • Member of the International Property Law Association (IIPLA) • Member of Law School Magazine • Member of the Latin American Council of Scholars of International and Comparative Law (COLADIC).• Member of the “Pro Patria” League Association • Member of the Pro-Reforma Association • Member of the Official Spanish Chamber of Guatemalan Commerce • Member of the Association of Studies in Digital Social Networks (Asredes) • Postgraduate Professor at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala • Postgraduate Professor at Arthur Lok Jack, Trinidad y Tobago Business School.


EXPERIENCE
Partner, Sfera (2018-today). Managing Partner, Sfera Legal Guatemala (2016-2018). Partner Servilex (2014- 2016). Legal Advisor of the Economy Commission and Foreign Trade of the Republic’s Congress (2015). Associate, Paiz, Portillo y Asociados (2005 – 2014), Legal Advisor of the Public Telephone Operators Association, attached to the Chamber of Guatemalan Industry (2015). Legal Advisor of the Human Rights Attorney’s Office (2012). Partner, Inmobiliaria Pacruz, S.A. (2001- today).

Estuardo Gamalero

EDUCATION
Universidad Francisco Marroquín


MEMBERSHIPS
Guatemalan Bar Association. Cámara de Industria de Guatemala. Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations of Guatemala. Tribunal Supremo Electoral de Guatemala. Crédito Hipotecario Nacional de Guatemala


CAREER
Of Counsel at Sfera (2018 – today). General Director of the Legal Department at G&T Continental Bank (1995-2006) Private Practice (1995-2017). Substitute Magistrate of Guatemala Supreme Electoral Tribunal (2014-2019). Legal Advisor of the Board of Directors of  Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (2012 – present). Director of the Board of Directors Crédito Hipotecario Nacional de Guatemala (2012- present).

Maria Isabel Mancia

EDUCATION
Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA), Law Degree (1989). Notary Public authorized by the Supreme Court (1990). 


MEMBERSHIPS
Member of the Commercial Law Association and Member of the Banking Law Association of El Salvador. 


CAREER
Partner at Sfera Legal, (2018-present), Partner at Ayala & Betancourt (2012-2018). Legal Advisor, and  Legal and Risk Compliance Manager at Atlantida Bank S.A., Member of the Management Committee at ProCredit Bank S.A. (1996-present). Legal Advisor at FIGAPE (1993-1994). Lawyer at Fomento Agropecuario Bank (1992-1993). Lawyer at ProCredit Bank, S.A. Certified by the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) as a Money Laundering Prevention Specialist.

Mario Ayala

EDUCATION
Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA), Law Degree 1989.
Authorized Supreme Court of Justice, Notary Public in 1990. Universidad de Salamanca, España, Commercial Law 1997. Universidad de Georgetown-INCAE, Legal Advice in International Business 2000. Seminars and Courses: International Contract Law, Fusades; International Commerce Law, Fusades; Central American Securities Seminar, Panamá and Dominican Republic; Modern Financial Operations, Asociación Salvadoreña de Derecho Bancario; International Financial Credit Seminar, Tayasal. Business administration specialization for lawyers, Incae business school, 2019.


MEMBERSHIPS
Founder Member of Commercial Law Association; Founder Member of  Financial Law Association of El Salvador; Legal Committee of the Salvadorian Banking Association Ex-President. 


CAREER
Managing Partner at Sfera Legal El Salvador, (2018-present), Founder Partner at Ayala & Betancourt (2012-2018). Partner at Romero Pineda & Asociados Law Firm (2006-2012). Sub Legal Manager at Banco Salvadoreño and Legal Manager of “Banco Desarrollo” (1990-2006). Experience and career in Judicial Authorities: from Legal Collaborator to Judge of San Salvador. (1984-1990). Member of the Board of Directors of Aseguradora Mundial S.A. (2010-2012). Member of the Board of Directors of Aseguradora StateTrust El Salvador, and Aseguradora StateTrust Life El Salvador (2015-2019). Managing Lawyer for the process of constitution and starting operations of: Banco Industrial El Salvador (capital Guatemala), Banco Azteca (capital Mexico), Aseguradora StateTrust Daños y Aseguradora StateTrust Vida (capital USA).

Fabiola Soler B.

EDUCATION

Boston University School of Law (LLM International Business Law, 2013), University of Costa Rica (Juris Doctor, 2000), University of Costa Rica (Notary Public, 2000).

MEMBRESHIPS

Costa Rican Bar Association, Boston University Alumni Association.

CAREER

Junior Partner, Sfera Legal (November 2019-present); Arbitrator of the International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (CICA/AMCHAM) (2017-present, International Business Law, Civil, Commercial, Real Estate Law); Of counsel, Pignataro Abogados (2015-2019); Volunteer Ambassador, Costa Rica, Boston University Alumni Association, Global Days of Service site leader (2013-2019); Managing Partner/ President, Costa Rica Global Law Inc. S.A., certified as a Women-Owned Business by WEConnect International (2013-2015); Associate, Sfera Legal (2012-2013); Associate, Facio Abogados (2007-2012), Managing Attorney, Costa Rican office of Tramdoc/ Curtis Law Group (2005-2007); Associate, Odio, Weisleder & Asociados (2002-2003); U.S. Health Care and Customer Service Specialist, Procter & Gamble, Costa Rica (2000-2002).

 

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Regulatory Compliance

Specialized counseling in compliance and corporate governance: compliance verification, due diligence processes, anticorruption evaluation, corporate compliance planning and supervision, corporate risk prevention. We have vast experience in risk management and provide a specialized advisory focused on legal and regulatory compliance for regulated sectors, according to each applicable legislation.
Ethical investigations and installation of a proper system for Claim’s Management.
Counseling on the application and interpretation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Law.
Audits in compliance of administrative policies and Human Resources.
Preparation of ethical codes periodical revisions and support in the correct application by employees.
International norm counseling related to the FCPA Law and money laundering: constant updates and proper application.

• Registry of natural persons and/or corporations in compliance with Law 8204 and its bylaws.
• Elaboration of guidelines for legal compliance and manuals on compliance procedures for anti-money laundering.
• Due diligence preparation and elaboration of reports in order to comply with the resolution regarding the Registry of Transparency and Final Beneficiaries, to be made before the Central Bank.
• Corporate amendments to comply with the Corporate Governance Voluntary Code and other mandatory corporate governance guidelines; according to each specific entity and its business activity.
• Drafting of corporate governance codes.
• Elaboration of family protocols and all related matters to Family Planning and Family Offices.

Immigration

Processing and renewal of temporary residences in all categories, including family reunification.
Processing and renewal of permanent residences.
Processing of citizenship application.
Processing and renewal of work permits in all categories.
Updating of immigration status.

• Company registrations before the Immigration Department.
• Processing of immigration status certifications.
• Cancellation of immigration status.
• General consulting in immigration and relocation matters.

Project finance

Shareholder/sponsor agreements.
Engineering, procurement and construction contracts.
Operation and maintenance contracts.
Take-off, long-term sales, supply, hedging and throughput agreements.
Non-recourse and limited recourse guarantee structures.

• Inter-creditor agreements and syndicated loan structures.
• Project asset and cashflow based loan and investment vehicles.
• Securitization, options, derivatives and insurance structures for risk mitigation.

Intellectual Property

TRADEMARKS, TRADE NAMES & APPELLATIONS OF ORIGIN:
• Counseling.
• Prosecution of new trademarks or renewal of existing trademarks.
• Licensing.
• Opposition actions.
• Searches and investigations.
• Cancellation and nullification actions.
PATENTS & INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS:
• Prosecution.
• PCT filings.
• Technology transfer agreements and licenses.
• Opposition and cancellation actions.
COPYRIGHTS AND NEIGHBORING RIGHTS
• Counseling.

• Licensing.
• Copyright Office proceedings.
LITIGATION:
• Civil and criminal actions.
• Anti‐ counterfeit actions.
• Customs measures and proceedings.
Investigations.
• Anti‐trust and Competition Board proceedings.
• Consumer board proceedings.
PRODUCT REGISTRATION:
• Health registrations (pharmaceuticals, food products, medical equipment, cosmetics,
etc.).
• Agrochemical and additives.
• Food for animals.