Litigation and Dispute Resolution_news
Morgan & Morgan appoints Mr. Alejandro E. Chevalier to its Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice.
Panama, July 15, 2021. Morgan & Morgan is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Mr. Alejandro E. Chevalier, as associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team of the firm.
Prior to joining Morgan & Morgan, Mr. Chevalier worked as an International Attorney in the International Department of Akerman LLP (Miami, Florida). He also interned with the International Arbitration Department of Hogan Lovells US LLP (Miami, Florida). During this time, Mr. Chevalier mainly represented Latin American and European investors, multinational companies, and State agencies in a variety of cross-border disputes, including international commercial and investment arbitration proceedings under the arbitration rules of the ICC, UNCITRAL, FINRA, and the international branch of the AAA, the ICDR. He also represented international clients in the enforcement and setting-aside proceedings of arbitral awards, and in judgment domestication disputes before U.S. federal courts.
Notably, in June 2020, Mr. Chevalier participated as counsel in the longest virtual hearing ever hosted at the time by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). He is a member of the Panama Bar Association, Young ICCA, ICDR Young & International, ICC YAF, the NYU Alumni Association, and the Spanish Arbitration Club. In addition, he has authored several publications on legal, commercial, and political topics.
Mr. Chevalier obtained an LL.B. (Summa Cum Laude) from the School of Law of Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua in Panama; he also was awarded an academic scholarship to participate in the International Law Exchange Program at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas ICADE-ICAI in Madrid, Spain; and obtained an LL.M. from the New York University School of Law, along with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Law and Business (APCLB) from the New York University Stern School of Business. Furthermore, Mr. Chevalier graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with an LL.M. in International Arbitration.
This recruitment comes to strengthen and reaffirm the position of Morgan & Morgan as Panama´s leading litigation and dispute resolution law firm.
Panama, June 3, 2021. Morgan & Morgan has been shortlisted as “Panama Litigation and Arbitration Firm of the Year” in the upcoming Benchmark Latin America Virtual Awards to be held on June 16, 2021. These awards aim to recognize the firms and litigators who have performed exceptionally at local and regional levels.
Likewise, our seasoned partner, Mr. Simon Tejeira Q., has been shortlisted as “Panama Litigator of the Year.”
For more information: Benchmark Latin America nominees.
Panama, May 27, 2021. Jose Carrizo, partner and head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice of Morgan & Morgan, participated as speaker in the “Asset Recovery Americas: Fraud Litigation, Contentious Insolvency and Enforcement in the Americas” conference, a seminar series for fraud and insolvency practitioners. The activity was organized by Informa Connect, a major brand in events and digital content for business professionals.
Mr. Carrizo attended the panel “Fraud in Times of Crisis” alongside other international leading practitioners from the fraud, enforcement, and insolvency world. The panel discussed their experiences of fraud in times of crisis and what they foresee over the coming years.
More information can be found here https://informaconnect.com/asset-recovery-america/speakers/jose-carrizo/.
Panama, January 5, 2021. Jose Carrizo, head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice of Morgan & Morgan, contributed with the Panama article of The Arbitration Review of the Americas 2021, providing a comprehensive analysis on the latest developments of the arbitration system in Panama.
The publication can be read here.
Panama, August 27, 2020.
Morgan & Morgan is pleased to announce that our firm has been shortlisted for two awards in the Women in Business Law Americas Awards 2020 organized by Euromoney Legal Media Group. The awards recognize firms and women lawyers across a spectrum of practice areas, jurisdictions, and sectors, providing a snapshot of the most advanced teams working in the legal profession today.
Morgan & Morgan is shortlisted in the following awards:
Pro Bono – Latin America
Talent Management – Latin America
In addition, our attorney Mayte Sanchez Gonzalez is finalist in the following category:
Best in Commercial Arbitration
The awards winners will be announced on September 17, 2020.
More information on this recognition is available here.
Panama, January 7, 2020. Partners Jose Carrizo, Inocencio Galindo, Aristides Anguizola, and associate Analissa Carles contributed with the Chambers & Partners Insolvency Guide-Trends & Developments, providing their professional insights into Panama’s legal insolvency restructuring market.
The online Panama chapter is available here.
Or a PDF version is available to download here.
Panama, January 7, 2020. For the fifth consecutive year, Morgan & Morgan has contributed with Doing Business 2020, a publication that summarizes regulations that enhance business activity across 190 economies.
The following attorneys of the firm received a “Certificate of Appreciation” for their valuable contribution:
The report, which was published by the World Bank Group, is is available for download here.
Panama, December 16, 2019. Morgan & Morgan repeated as a leading Panamanian firm in The Legal 500 – Latin America Guide. Banking and Finance, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Offshore and Shipping earned the top-tier rankings.
In addition, five lawyers of the firm received recommendations:
Panama, November 6, 2019. Jose Carrizo, head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice of Morgan & Morgan, contributed with the Panama chapter of The Arbitration Review of the Americas 2020, providing a comprehensive analysis of the arbitration system in Panama, its legislation and every aspect that confirms the country as an international and regional center for the resolution of arbitral disputes.
The publication can be download here.
Analissa Carles, Associate, Morgan & Morgan
On May 19, 2016, the concept of a “Bankruptcy,” as the legal term was defined, ceased to exist under Panamanian law. Law 12 of 2016 (the “Insolvency Law”) entered into force on that date and introduced new proceedings into our legal system. These proceedings are referred to as Reorganization and Liquidation.
The enactment of the Insolvency Law sought not only the protection of the rights of creditors, but also to achieve a differentiation between “efficient” and “non-efficient” companies, depending on the reasons and circumstances that give rise to their insolvency status.
For “efficient companies”, the law introduces the “Reorganization Proceeding,” the main purpose of which is the recovery and continuation of the company as an economic unit and employer.
A Reorganization Proceeding pursues similar objectives as the bankruptcy protection provisions established in Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Thus, a Reorganization Proceeding allows the restructuring of a company’s debt obligations and can be initiated at the request of the insolvent company or by its duly organized creditors through a “Board of Creditors.” The insolvency petition must be accompanied by a series of documents that include, among others, the company’s financial statements, an inventory of its assets and liabilities, payroll obligations and the Reorganization Plan, in which the debtor must provide a financial, organizational, operational and competitiveness restructuring project with the intention of solving the causes that led to the company’s failure to make required payments, its imminent insolvency or foreseeable lack of liquidity.
This Reorganization Plan is significant in that it serves to initiate the proceeding itself. Subsequently, when the creditors formally join the proceeding to submit evidence of their credits, the Reorganization Plan must be subjected to a vote by the established Board of Creditors, who must either approved or reject said plan. The result of this vote will decide whether: a) the company will in effect be reorganized through the execution of said plan; b) the culmination of the proceeding without any agreement, in which case the bankruptcy protections would be lifted and the debtor would have to negotiate with each of its creditors separately; or, c) the Judicial Liquidation of the Company.
Judicial Liquidation Proceeding
The Judicial Liquidation Proceeding, as the name implies, focuses on liquidating “inefficient” companies in a prompt and orderly manner. This can be initiated at the request of the debtor by means of a Voluntary Liquidation or by means of a duly substantiated petition from a creditor, which in this case would be a Compulsory Liquidation.
In either case, the petition must be accompanied by a series of requirements and documentation. In the case of a Voluntary Liquidation petition, provided all requirements are met, the court will issue a resolution declaring that the company is in liquidation.
For Compulsory Liquidation, provided all requirements are met, the request will be accepted and the debtor will be given an opportunity to answer the creditor’s petition. The court will then set a date for an initial hearing. If the debtor opposes the petitioner’s claim against it and the judge deems such opposition to have sufficient grounds, it shall deny the claim and the proceeding shall terminate. However, if the court deems said opposition to have insufficient grounds or if the debtor does not even submit any opposition, the debtor may: a) allocate sufficient funds for the payment of the debt; b) agree with the requesting creditor for the hearing to be suspended in order for the parties to reach an arrangement; or, c) submit to a Reorganization Proceeding. If, however, the debtor does not choose any of the aforementioned options, the judge will issue a resolution for a Liquidation Declaration, with the corresponding legal effects.
It has been interesting to see the development and execution of this relatively new law before the courts of Panama, especially since it also provides for the creation of new Insolvency Circuit Courts, as well as the Fourth Superior Court of the First Judicial District, consisting of three justices elected by the Supreme Court, in full, with exclusive jurisdiction over insolvency proceedings. However, to date, these courts have not been created and, therefore, the Civil Circuit Courts are currently in charge of hearing such proceedings. These circumstances have forced the judges ruling over these cases to become overly reliant on the technical criteria of the Bankruptcy Administrators appointed by them within the proceeding. Consequently, said Bankruptcy Administrators, who serve as an assistant of the Court, must have the legal and accounting capacity to warn of possible irregularities within the proceeding, from the initial scrutiny of the insolvency application, together with all the supporting documentation. They must also be able to determine if, indeed, they are facing an efficient company that can improve its current financial condition, and they must even make recommendations against the aforementioned Reorganization Plan, before it is submitted to the Board of Creditors for their vote. This level of expertise, although not expressly required by law, has become a necessity given the unforeseen preponderance that the expert input of these Bankruptcy Administrators has acquired.
There are many conceptual and practical elements to analyze in Law 12 of 2016. However, as is often the case, only through the practice and application of this law has allowed both lawyers and financial institutions to fully grasp the challenges ahead. Regardless of the above, the objective of the Law is positive – especially since, previously, a bankruptcy declaration was a de facto death knell for a company. It is therefore worthwhile to focus efforts on maximizing the advantages created under the law in order to obtain the desired results. These, however, will ultimately depend to a large extent on the good will and good faith dealings of both creditors and debtors.