Firm profile submitted by Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
Established in 1942, Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque (HPCD) has been providing high quality advice to local and international clients for more than 70 years. It is one of the largest and most prominent law firms in the country, rendering services to many leading Venezuelan companies, as well as foreign companies and banks doing business in Venezuela. HPCD’s main goal is to bring value to its clients, identifying solutions to complex problems in an efficient and timely fashion, with a strong focus on quality and international standards. HPCD has built up years of experience in diverse sectors, as well as large and complex transactions. The firm provides clients with practical advice covering all legal issues, while always maintaining a strong business focus. The firm’s practice groups work very closely in order to enable cost-effective services. Attorneys are also able to communicate with international clients in their own languages, assisting with navigating complex national risks and obligations. HPCD provides an outstanding combination of legal expertise and hands-on solutions. A comprehensive compliance department provides cost-effective legal and paralegal assistance to comply with corporate, labour, tax, foreign exchange, IP, foreign investment and other regulations. The firm also offers prosecution and enforcement services covering administrative, criminal and civil actions, providing clients with a one-stop service and immediate results, avoiding expensive procedures and enabling the best protection of their rights. In 2015, HPCD opened an office in Aruba: HPCD International, which is focused on the provision of intellectual property and corporate/commercial services in the Caribbean, specifically in Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire and St. Martin.
MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE:
Banking, Finance, Insurance & Reinsurance: The firm has extensive experience in assisting foreign banks in their business activities in Venezuela; it also assists in the negotiation of flexible credit options for public agencies and private companies. Attorneys working in this area are also consulted by clients about capital markets.
Contracts, Mergers & Acquisitions: The M&A team assists clients in negotiations with both private and public sector corporations, representing and advising, drafting contracts, conducting due diligence and issuing opinions on contracts and corporate structures.
Economic Criminal Law: The firm’s economic criminal law practice has extensive experience and constant interaction with different public agencies. Its criminal law experts have led and provide extensive counselling on anticorruption investigations and compliance. They also specialise in matters related to IP, foreign exchange crime, white-collar crime, money laundering, fraud, misappropriation, anti-counterfeiting, tax crime and bankruptcy.
Energy, Natural Resources, Utilities & Environmental Law: This is one of the firm’s broadest areas of practice, encompassing a range of issues arising from the energy sector and the exploitation of natural resources. The group has recently grown to cover public utilities.
Intellectual Property: The firm is dedicated to the protection of clients’ IP rights, processing the registration of trademarks and patents, negotiation, protection and defence of author and industrial property rights, as well as licenses and technology transfer. Clients are increasingly using the firm as a hub to protect their IP rights not only in Venezuela but also across Latin America and the Caribbean.
International Trade & Foreign Exchange Control: This group advises on all aspects of the protection of investments, international trade agreements and economic integration. Attorneys working in this area are also consulted by clients about exchange control matters.
Labour, Employment & Employee Benefits: HPCD has extensive experience representing private sector employers. Its expertise in collective bargaining agreements, international contracting, labour planning, employee benefits, labour litigation and labour administrative procedures is a key element in supporting its clients’ activities in Venezuela.
Life Sciences & Healthcare: The Life Sciences & Healthcare team successfully combines the best of the firm’s corporate and transactional capability with tax, labour, regulatory, consumer protection, product liability, competition and intellectual property expertise to serve its clients in the sector. The group advises pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and suppliers, as well as stem cell laboratories, biotechnology companies, hospital operators, private health insurers and agri-business companies.
Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution: This group has long been recognised for its commercial and IP litigation experience, whether in court or before the administrative authorities. It handles litigation in all civil law matters, as well as actions against acts of the public administration. In recent years, the arbitration practice has grown stronger, both locally and internationally.
Public Law & Regulation: The public law practice is focused on the current key areas in Venezuela. It advises clients on public procurement matters and, in cases where conflicts arise, it acts on behalf of clients before local courts or national and international arbitral tribunals.
Tax: Members of this practice area focus on national, state and local taxes. They also assist clients on tax planning, oil and mining taxes, as well as strategy resulting from the application of double taxation treaties. The firm has gained recognition nationally and internationally for handling complicated tax implications of business transactions.
Other Important Areas of Practice: These include: competition and economic regulation; real estate; telecommunications; media regulation and e-commerce.
Languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish