Managing Partner: Bernardo Tobar
Senior Partners: Bernardo Tobar, César Zumárraga, Oscar Vela, Álvaro Sevilla, René De Sola, Andrés Narváez
Number of partners: 7
Number of other lawyers: 17
Languages: English, German, Portuguese, Spanish
Tobar ZVS is a full-service firm for corporate clients, with over 25 years of experience. As opposed to the traditional legal firm model, Tobar ZVS is run as a business company with a client centric approach, seeking an understanding of their clients’ industry and particular business objectives. The firm’s mindset is providing innovative and integral solutions that add value. In addition, Tobar ZVS is the exclusive member of TerraLex in Ecuador, a global legal network with presence in more than 150 jurisdictions.
Main Areas of Practice:
Antitrust & Competition: The firm has developed a strong leading practice in this area, and has been at the centre of highly visible antitrust cases, including M&A approvals by the Antitrust Authority, unfair competition actions and the most recent case involving the largest players in the beverage industry. The team provides legal counselling since the Antitrust Law came into effect in Ecuador, with a strong focus in preventive measures, avoiding risks of fines and legal actions for their clients.
Corporate & M&A:
Due to the transnational vocation and focus on corporate clients, the firm broadened its range of services, providing integral support to international companies that invest in Ecuador, companies throughout the region, as well as local companies that expand their operations abroad. The corporate and M&A team provides legal counselling related with compliance in general, with a strong focus in corporate governance, data protection, AML, diversity & inclusion, cybersecurity, and regulatory aspects.
The team of professionals within the insurance unit comprises specialists with over 17 years of experience in this sector and industry insiders who have offered renowned advisory to companies in all the fields related to this area. The unit provides assistance to insurance, reinsurance, pre-paid medicine companies, insurance producing advisors and loss adjusters. Among these services, the firm also provides M&A later support; dispute resolution; design and implementation of new products; portfolio recovery; support for the fulfillment of obligations before the control entities; and support (prior and later) in catastrophes.
Intellectual Property & Anti-Piracy:
The firm handles an important portfolio of IPRs from particularly renowned companies, including trademarks, patents, plant varieties and copyrights. As to plant breeder’s rights, TZVS’ combined portfolio of clients represent 65% of rose varieties with presence in international markets, becoming a key business partner in the field. Additionally, the IP and anti-piracy unit handles license agreements for the use of IPRs and carries out legal actions and mediations to resolve conflicts for major multinational companies. Clients retain the firm for their well-known design and execution of strategic anti-counterfeiting and enforcement campaigns.
The firm has set up a special business unit to innovate on LegalTech solutions for their clients, which now includes AI chatbots for corporate consultations (in final testing), AI powered data mining tools, legal templates for frequently used documents in business transactions, and on-line self-service solutions for certain corporate products.
Natural Resources, Energy & Infrastructure:
The team advises on the entire lifecycle of mining, energy, and infrastructure projects. This work includes advising on initial bidding applications, licensing, financing, planning and construction, development and production agreements, and any related transactional matters and regulatory issues. This unit is well positioned to assist clients with any regulatory and environmental regulation and compliance concerns. Although the unit works across the entire sector, the firm’s team is best known for their work in the mining sector. Mining is an area of continuous growth for the firm and the country. The firm has a strong portfolio of loyal clients who receive advise on all legal matters pertaining to their operations in Ecuador.
Negotiation, Conflict Resolution & Disputes:
The firm has a history and reputation of being a strong and successful litigant. The majority of conflicts entrusted to the firm are successfully handled through direct negotiations and ADR mechanisms. Several team members are qualified as arbitrators by institutional arbitration centers.
The firm’s tax team is committed to provide a range of strategic tax and financial services that answer to the requirements of local and international businesses and contributes to the proper functioning and growth of companies. The aim is allowing clients to achieve their vision for the future.
The firm has a wide experience in cross-border transactions in different fields, including mergers and acquisitions, public-private partnerships, non-renewable natural resources and infrastructure projects and management of brand portfolios in several countries across Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia.
Some of the Firm’s work highlights include the following:
■ Supporting SolGold Plc in several matters with regards to the Cascabel mining project. For instance, advising on the structuring of mining royalties and providing ongoing advice on regulatory, environmental, social and land acquisition aspects
■ Assisting Ecuasolidus during the structuring of private placement and obtention of all permits to initiate scout drilling in Yawi target
■ Dealing with several matters for Lumina Group including defending them against a request for public consultation and negotiating an earn-in joint venture agreement with Anglo American. The process included structuring an earn-in agreement for developing two mining projects, the acquisition of surface plots for the Cangrejos mining project and a request for a change of regime
■ Rendering guidance to Titan Gold through the takeover of Core Gold assets in Ecuador
■ Rendering advice to Cornerstone Capital Resources on several matters, including the execution of a Farm-in-Agreement contract
■ Leading the most important royalty-based project finance transaction in Ecuador in 2020, for the most important project in the natural resources sector
■ Representation of a reinsurance company in a claim related to cybersecurity
■ Representation of an international insurance company before National Courts regarding an undue payment during the earthquake catastrophe in April 2016
■ Analysis and guidance to a reinsurance company in an infrastructure claim
■ Representation in a machinery breakdown claim before the local insurance company
■ Obtaining a favourable ruling from the Ecuadorian Supreme Court in a lawsuit for damages filed by the firm on behalf of a group of London reinsurance companies against a security company accused of indirect breach of extra-contractual obligations
■ Obtaining the first criminal sanction in a case of violation of plant breeders rights, for a German breeder
■ Obtaining the first ruling for damages in a case of trademark violation filed on behalf of one of the largest software producers in the world.
The firm’s key clients include the following companies:
SolGold, Lumina, Aurania, Cornestone, Challenger Exploration and Newcrest Mining. Major companies from the following industries: software, entertainment, sportswear, personal care, fashion, rose breeding, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, internationally recognised reinsurance companies and healthcare companies.
Antitrust & Competition:Álvaro Sevilla
Corporate & M&A: Bernardo Tobar
Insurance: René De Sola
Intellectual Property & Anti-Piracy: Alfonso Rivera
Natural Resources, Energy & Infrastructure: César Zumárraga
Negotiation, Conflict Resolution & Disputes: Oscar Vela
Tax Consultancy: Andrés Narváez