Panama has long been a desirable destination for foreign businesses. The Central American country is home to a large number of foreign-owned businesses that have discovered the benefits of domiciling there. Whether you’re thinking of starting a new company, or expanding your business into the Latin American market, it’s important to retain the services of a legal firm in Panama.
Some foreign companies opt to go the route of entering the jurisdiction by starting an offshore company, while others decide to register a subsidiary in Panama. The Central American nation can be a lucrative place for starting or expanding a business. But in order to fully leverage the potential that the region provides, it’s imperative to work with local legal experts, or people who know where to find the best legal firms in Panama.
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Legal firm in Panama: Benefits of setting up shop there
- Attractive tax benefits – Panama offers some of the most attractive benefits globally; it’s governed by the Principle of Territoriality, meaning only income generated from operations that are consumed or improved within Panamanian territory are taxed. As corporate legal firms in Panama attest, many forms of commercial activity are considered exempt, such as income generated from the sale of goods and/or services outside of Panama.
- Dollarized economy – The decision to dollarize the economy can be credited with Panama’s modern business success. Another driver of its prosperity is due to the presence of the International Banking Center, which encourages the installation and operation of foreign and Panamanian banks in Panama’s territory. This has allowed for a free flow of capital in the country, and has made Panama a safe bet for Foreign Direct Investment.
- The Panama Canal – The canal is arguably the most important commercial trade route in the world, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Passage through the canal generates 10 percent of Panama’s GDP. Imagine the value your company could potentially have by gaining access to the Panama Canal.
- Colon Free Trade Zone – This free-trade zone is the second-largest in the world and makes business conducted on 1,200 hectares of its territory a tax-free endeavor. The free-trade zone is only a few kilometers away from the Panama Canal, which allows access to ports in the Caribbean and the Pacific. From those ports, businesses have access to the rest of the world.
With dozens of legal firms in Panama to choose from, some are inevitably going to be better than others. But how can you tell between a great corporate law firm from a mediocre one?
Qualities to seek when in the market for a legal firm in Panama
What follows are some qualities and characteristics you or your Panamanian company representative should be watchful of when selecting a legal firm in Panama:
- Great communication
- Responsive to your needs
- Good judgment
- An analytical mind
- Practices with a firm hand
It’s important to point out here that this is by no means an exhaustive list. Depending on the intricacies of your company and the industry you’re in, there may be more specific skillsets that your legal firm in Panama will need to possess if they are to obtain you as a client.
What skillsets to look for in a legal firm in Panama
1. Great communication skills
That corporate lawyers must possess excellent communication skills should go without saying, but it’s included in the list here because Spanish is the official language in Panama. Different lawyers will possess varying levels of English proficiency. Ensure that your lawyer is not only a great communicator, but is also fully bilingual.
2. Responsive to your company’s needs
Your legal firm in Panama must deal with all the situations and events with the utmost responsiveness. If your company runs into any legal issues, your lawyer should be prepared to meet that challenge. In other words, they should know that that issue may arise and be prepared for it. If anything seems to catch them off guard, perhaps they’re not the right legal representation for you.
3. Ability to persuade others
Was the lawyer from the legal firm in Panama able to persuade you to hire them as your legal representative? Was their pitch genuine, or did it seem overly rehearsed? If you’re simply looking for a corporate lawyer to draw up contracts and other paperwork, the maybe this skill isn’t very important. But if you prefer someone who is a “jack of all trades” so to speak, then persuasiveness should be an important quality to look for.
4. Good judgement
The ability to think quickly and reach logical conclusions from the information provided will reveal a lawyer’s judgement skills. A good lawyer from a legal firm in Panama must anticipate the possible outcomes, and have legal advice prepared for you beforehand.
5. Great analytical skills
The lawyer assigned to you by a legal firm in Panama should also possess analytical skills. Are they constantly doing little cost-benefit analyses in their heads? Do they recommend a course of action immediately, or do they look into case law first? A great analytical mind won’t make rash decisions, but rather take their time to determine the best way forward.
6. Firm legal demeanor
A good lawyer is no push-over. In fact, they are zealous in their defense of your legal standing in any and all adversarial situations – even if your business made an unwise decision. The legal firm in Panama that you hire will be loyal to you and your company, rid or recuse itself in any conflict of interest, and fight for you in all cases.
Biz Latin Hub can help you with legal firms in Panama
At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in Bogota and Cartagena, as well as over a dozen other major cities in the region. We also have trusted partners in many other markets.
Our unrivalled reach means we are ideally placed to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross border operations.
As well as knowledge about legal firms in Panama, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO accounting & taxation, company formation, bank account opening, and corporate legal services.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you in finding top talent, or otherwise do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.