A cityscape of Bogotá, Colombia, featuring prominent tall buildings under a blue sky with scattered clouds. The Biz Latin Hub logo and the text "Biz Latin Hub" are displayed prominently on the left side of the image, highlighting their Legal Services in Colombia.

Legal Services in Colombia: Find a Good Corporate Legal Firm

There are a myriad of reasons to seek legal services in Colombia. It’s especially useful for foreigners who don’t speak Spanish, but plan on getting a visa to open a business or after marrying a Colombian spouse. 

A little background on Colombia’s legal system; this may interest those of you who are legally minded. The country has a Civil Law system in place that is based primarily on legal codes, rather than jurisprudence. As with other civil law countries, Colombia’s legal system does not necessarily have to recognize the ruling of any legal body like a court (though there are exceptions). 

What’s more, the concept of precedence is absent from the Colombian legal system, meaning a court’s ruling on one case does not have to be applied to all cases in the future. Sound a bit convoluted? No worries: good legal services in Colombia will be able to translate the legalese for the layperson to understand. 

For investors, companies and entrepreneurs who are new to the country, acquiring, a legal representative, a fiscal auditor in Colombia, and all relevant HR/administrative staff is a best practice that all newcomers should follow. But fret not if it doesn’t seem as though your fledgling firm has the budget for it. All of those kinds of things can be outsourced at very reasonable prices. 

Graphic titled "Employment Situation in Colombia 2023," showing data sourced from DANE. It highlights a 9.9% unemployment rate, a 3.0 percentage point decrease, a 57.7% occupancy rate, and employment increases of 958,000 for women and 563,000 for men across various sectors including legal services in Colombia.
Unemployment has decreased significantly, with more people in the workforce. This has an impact on the legal services in Colombia– such as expanding the options of available firms to work with.

There are innumerable reasons why a company planning on entering a new market might seek legal services in Colombia, but the following reasons are the most common:

  • Corporate law 
  • Foreign investment
  • Real estate
  • Accounting and taxes
  • Visas
  • Trademarks/IP protection

SEE ALSO: When Do You Need a Legal Representative in Colombia?

By now it should be well understood that legal services in Colombia are a must-have when entering the market or investing there. 

What to look for in an attorney:

Not all Colombian lawyers are created equal. The onus is on you, the client, to suss out whether a law firm is tossing you any old lawyer who happens to be free that day, or a true professional who is well educated and experienced in the legal areas that best suit your needs. So what kind of qualities should you be looking for when seeking legal services in Colombia? 

Ask yourself:

  • Does the lawyer or firm offer a free consultation?
  • Is the lawyer driven by getting results first, and payment second?
  • Is the lawyer perfectly fluent in English? 
  • Is the lawyer experienced enough to handle your specific needs?
  • Does the lawyer have a good reputation with previous clients? 

Remember, there are literally hundreds of legal consultancies and giant international law firms that have thousands of attorneys on the payroll – all of whom have varying degrees of specialization, experience and local knowledge. So it’s okay to shop around for legal services in Colombia until you find the one who’s the right fit for your organization. 

Legal services in Colombia: Top 5 essential attorney characteristics 

The following can be considered a basis of what to seek out in an attorney who will be representing your company in various legal matters. But a company’s or investor’s specific set of circumstances will necessitate you to look for other characteristics to address your specific set of circumstances – so the following should not be considered an exhaustive list:

1. An attorney and/or law firm that offers free consultations

In civil law, an attorney or her/his law firm might charge for a first-time consultation to determine how serious the client is about pursuing a case (like a law suit, for example). But this is corporate law, and companies aren’t messing around; they need a pile of things done, from assembling all the documentation to incorporate a company or purchase property, to arranging bank accounts and applying for visas. It’s important to keep in mind that law firms that charge for consultations might indicate that they simply don’t have the resources to provide free legal advice to all potential clients.

2. A lawyer who’s driven to achieve results

Most well-established and competent attorneys in Colombia are motivated by providing the best possible legal representation that they can provide – and not just receive a paycheck. The most reputable attorneys will not ask for full payment until results have been achieved, so clients should consider any insistence on full payment up front as a red flag. 

A graph showing the increase of the minimum monthly wage in Colombia from 2009 to 2023, highlighting the economic landscape relevant to Legal Services Colombia. The y-axis represents wages in Colombian Pesos (COP), starting at 500,000 and ending at 1,250,000. The x-axis covers the years from 2009 to 2023. Data source: Statista.
Monthly wage is increasing steadily. It is important to consider law firms that prioritize results over a paycheck. This is interesting for anyone looking for legal services in Colombia

3. An attorney who is perfectly fluent in English

Most Colombian legal professionals who avail their services to overseas clients will speak English, but proficiency levels can vary, especially outside of the cities. Ensure that the lawyer you’re considering speaks English with a fluency that you’re comfortable with and can easily understand; the last thing you want is some mishap to occur because something was lost in translation. 

4. A lawyer who is highly specialized and experienced

The attorney you hire assumes a key role in your organization. Not only will they manage your business’ dealings with the local regulatory and government entities, but it will be on them to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Ensure that the lawyer you’re considering has a background in company incorporation law, and has done so before.

5. An attorney who has a good reputation

This is kind of an obvious point, and it may be tough to get an honest assessment about a particular person you’re considering hiring to be your legal representative in Colombia. Perhaps getting someone to ask around about the candidate in legal circles on your behalf, or even doing a Google search, may yield some key insights about the lawyer’s past. This could be the difference between hiring their legal services in Colombia, or avoiding someone who is potentially problematic. 

Biz Latin Hub can help you with legal services in Colombia 

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 services in Colombia, 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.
If this article on legal services in Colombia was of interest to you, check out the rest of our coverage of the region. Or read about our team and expert authors.

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Country manager, Daniela Jaimes, can support you in your journey of working with our reliable legal services in Colombia.

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
David Wright
David Wright

David spent 22 years working for the British Diplomatic Service serving in various Latin American countries. He served twice in Colombia including acting as an advisor on regional security matters to the President of Colombia. Currently, he acts as a consultant for companies and governments on risk management, security and technology.

David is also involved in mining related companies, both in Executive and Non-Executive roles. Together with Craig Dempsey he set up Biz Latin Hub and now acts as its Non-Executive Chairman. David holds a Bachelors Degree in Astrophysics from Birmingham University and also studied at Brown University.

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