24 June 2020

ECIJA lands in Brazil and Ecuador, consolidating its position as the largest Spanish firm in Latin America

With this move, ECIJA has now 119 members and over 600 professionals, with a presence in 15 countries and 26 offices

Just five months after its entry in Mexico, ECIJA continues its ambitious expansion strategy in Latin America, now with the integration of the Brazilian firm CTA and the Ecuadorian firm GP&A, both recognized in international directories for their leadership in their respective jurisdictions. With this move, ECIJA consolidates its full-service vocation at international level, adding 4 new offices in Latin America, located in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (Brazil), Quito and Guayaquil (Ecuador). Along with the two new firms, ECIJA adds 25 new partners and more than 100 new professionals. 

As a result of these mergers, ECIJA reinforces its position as the largest Spanish firm in Latin America, with presence in 13 countries and 16 offices in the region. The new integrations also lead ECIJA to strengthen a key practice area in that territory: energy and natural resources, with special focus on oil and gas. 


After years of accompanying its clients in Brazil through the collaboration with different local firms, ECIJA is now taking a step forward in this task, by integrating the Brazilian firm CTA into its structure and opening two new offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. ECIJA's new firm in Brazil, composed by a team of 15 partners and more than 60 professionals, is the result of the recent merger of different local firms, leaders in their respective practice areas, as indicated by the international directories Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, as well as the main ranking of firms in Brazil (Análise Editorial). The firm will bring together professionals with extensive experience in different areas, from the main practices such as commercial, labour and tax, to specific industries such as oil and gas, telecommunications or transport and logistics. The firm is thus presented in the Brazilian territory as one of the most qualified full-service firms, with an ambitious project of opening new practices and sectors for the next two years. 

The new team of ECIJA in Brazil will be formed by the partners Marcos Andre Vinhas Catão (Partner Director), Bruno Tocantins, Rafael Pistono, Camila Machado, Guilherme Köpfer, Renata Larichia, Thutia Bernardo, Fernanda Mendes, Cecília Cunha, Margareth Kang, Maria Luciana Souza, Renata Borges, Verônica Souza, Gabriel Corbage and Raphael Dutra. 

Marcos Andre Vinhas Catão, Managing Partner at ECIJA in Brazil, expressed his satisfaction with the integration in ECIJA: "It is a great opportunity for us to become part of a modern firm, leader in digital economy, with a clear vocation for growth and with such a relevant presence in the Latin American market". The new partner of ECIJA has also emphasized the high capacity of its team in the oil & gas sector, where Brazil plays a key role worldwide: "Between 2020 and 2030, Brazil will be the number 2 country in terms of receiving foreign investment in the oil & gas sector worldwide, only behind the USA. Among the main investors in the sector, European companies stand out, where Spanish ones occupy an interesting percentage". 


Likewise, ECIJA enters the Ecuadorian market by integrating the firm GP&A González - Peñaherrera & Asociados Abogados. ECIJA's new firm in Ecuador stands out for its local leadership since 1997, where its high competence as a multidisciplinary firm with high specialization in the energy sector has been recognized by the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 directories. The firm also stands out in the areas of Corporate M&A, Tax, Labour, Public and Regulatory Law, as well as Competition Law. 

ECIJA's new team in Ecuador will consist of 10 partners: eight in the Quito office; Francisco Alarcón, Simón Davalos, Blanca Gómez de la Torre, Felipe González Karolys, Gonzalo González, Juan Carlos Montenegro, Paola Rabalino and Michael Veitimilla, and two in the Guayaquil office; Edgar Méndez and Byron Sotomayor. A team of 45 other professionals has also joined this group of partners. 

Gonzalo González, founding partner and general manager at ECIJA in Ecuador, has expressed his satisfaction with the integration, highlighting the great opportunity for his clients to have access to a homogeneous and quality service in the main Latin American countries. He also highlighted how Ecuador is going through a strategic moment to attract foreign investment, which will also be beneficial for the Firm's clients: "Since 2017, the Ecuadorian Government has established an active policy aimed at attracting foreign investment, and now more than ever, in view of the economic situation caused by COVID 19, a structural reform is needed to open up to foreign and national investment, which would certainly receive a positive response and awaken interest in Spanish companies. Currently, some 150 Spanish companies are established, with investments of 1.5 billion dollars in sectors such as telecommunications and energy. Ecuador is a country with a great opportunity for development in areas such as renewable energies, new technologies, cyber security, data protection, among others, without neglecting the main source of its economy: the development of hydrocarbons". 

On the other hand, Hugo Écija, founder and Executive President at ECIJA, explained that these integrations respond to the Firm's responsibility to offer global services: "ECIJA not only reinforces its presence in Latin America, but also gives a remarkable impulse to its Energy and Natural Resources practice, hand in hand with two leading firms in this field. This new milestone responds to ECIJA's expansion plan, which includes the incorporation of practice areas, territories and professionals". In this sense, he stressed that the firm now has 119 partners and more than 600 professionals globally, while reinforcing its role as a hub between Latin America, Iberia and Asia (where ECIJA has an important joint venture with Grandall Law, one of the five largest firms in China). 


ECIJA, with more than 20 years of professional experience, is one of the reference firms in the Spanish market, as recognized by international directories such as Chambers & Partners or The Legal 500. It has been recognized by The Lawyer as the best TMT firm in Europe and by the Financial Times as one of the twenty most innovative firms in the continent. Its relevance in the Spanish market has been recognized by Expansión and Forbes, who have highlighted it as the best firm in the Spanish Digital Economy. ECIJA has a team of 119 partners and more than 600 professionals worldwide. 

About ECIJA Brazil

ECIJA's new firm in Brazil was born in 2019 after the union of renowned firms in their respective sectors, integrating boutiques and legal counsel of large Brazilian and international companies. After the various integrations, the firm is now integrated into ECIJA, forming a leading full-service firm in the energy sector. The firm has 15 partners and more than 60 professionals, recognized by national and international rankings. It also stands out for being a leader in TMT and in the inclusion of new technologies to offer innovative solutions. 

About ECIJA Ecuador

González Peñaherrera & Asociados Abogados (GP&A), founded in 1997, is a multidisciplinary firm, leader in the Ecuadorian market. Its high degree of specialization is recognized in international directories such as the British Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, standing out in the areas of Energy, Oil & Gas, Corporate and M&A, Competition, Tax, Labor, Public and Regulatory, among others. The Firm advises both international and local companies on a variety of regulatory issues, especially in the hydrocarbons sector. In addition, it has extensive experience in complex arbitration proceedings, having also represented state interests. 

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