Carlos Francisco Camacho, Junior Partner at Arias & Muñoz and part of our Latin America delegation for International Marketplace, shares his views about his Legal life in Costa Rica.
Why did you choose a career in law?
It may seem strange to say, but I believe that I was born with a passion for law. My mother was an attorney and I grew up surrounded by the power and the passion of the law in her life. You could say that my love of the law was in my genes…literally.
My early exposure to the legal practice created a strong attraction for me to look deeper at the power of the law at work in Costa Rica. I felt drawn to the legal profession because I witnessed the organizing power of law and its impact in helping Costa Rica become a leading nation in Central America. Rule of Law is essential to ensuring stability and government legitimacy. It is the foundation for global recognition, international investment and long-term sustainable growth. I feel fortunate and truly proud to participate in a nation that respects and nurtures a legal system predicated on the Rule of Law, and honoured to practice and advance the law in Costa Rica.
Tell us about your firm
Our global business law firm started as an idea that became a partnership, forging two leading law firms into one, planting a seed that would take root and grow into eight offices across six Central American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Our team of more than 170 trusted global legal “&” business strategists leverage their diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, collaborating together for the benefit of our clients.
Our multi-national organization allows Arias & Muñoz to clearly understand our clients, their challenges and their opportunities in unique ways. With regional offices located throughout Central America, and a global network of partners in nearly every corner of the world, Arias & Muñoz ensures that our client’s ambitions will have truly global reach & impact.
What I most admire about Arias & Muñoz is that we believe in pushing the limits of our ideas, pushing the envelope with our interpretations and pushing on, despite the obstacles, to meet our client’s goals. We motivate each other to bring new and original ways of thinking to the most complex legal challenges and we proactively integrate the most technologically sophisticated tools to increase efficiency and transparency.
Our global perspective allows us to see things differently…better. We recognize our client’s challenges sometimes before they do, and we proactively find solutions. We see emerging trends and patterns and we position our clients to profit from them. We see opportunities and we align our clients to seize them. We are innovative strategists, helping our clients, our stakeholders and our employees keep the long-term goals in sight. We see the “big picture” and we provide this perspective for the benefit of our clients.
I manage our Customs, Trade and Transportation (“CTT”) and Government Affairs (“GA”) practices. In the CTT Practice we provide counselling services for a wide variety of legal and business topics including: import and export businesses, international trade agreements, customs advice and proceedings as well as aviation matters. The Government Affairs Practice provides counselling services for investors to set up their operations safely and to adapt their business models to the Costa Rican legal system. We also monitor regulatory and political changes to build political strategies with government and private representatives to promote business-pro policies for our clients.
In short, we help our clients build time-tested, trusted relationships at all levels of local and national government. Our goal is to help corporations navigate the complex nuances of building strong partnerships in Central America and the Caribbean. We have developed strong expertise with our clients in the following sectors: Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Food & Beverage, Environmental and Consumer Products.
Have you ever worked as a lawyer abroad?
Yes, I was fortunate to serve the nation of Costa Rica as a diplomat for two years. I was appointed Consul by the Costa Rican Government. While working at the Consulate in New York, I worked on issues related to foreign investment, immigration, commercial law and general consular services.
What are currently the main challenges for law firms in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica faces challenges in the areas of infrastructure and logistics. However, the government is actively working to remedy these issues and promote foreign investment in the country.
Another challenge that law firms in Costa Rica and perhaps all around the world face is fully understanding clients’ strategic and tactical needs. Our team at Arias & Muñoz is rapidly evolving to see the bigger picture, anticipating challenges and opportunities for our clients.
What are currently the main opportunities for law firms in Costa Rica?
New business generated by Foreign Direct Investment is a critical opportunity for law firms in Costa Rica and throughout Central America and the Caribbean. Costa Rica welcomes international investment and is adept at attracting foreign companies. Costa Rica possesses an advanced manufacturing industry and a high-skilled labour force. The country is also recognized worldwide for its vibrant democracy and political and economic stability. These qualities make the country an excellent choice for multinational companies to invest, taking advantage of tax benefits obtained by Free Trade Zone Status that exempts companies from payment of income tax; import and export taxes among others. There exists tremendous opportunity to understand and cater to the diverse needs of these international firms.
What opportunities for co-operation are there between Costa Rica and UK law firms?
Costa Rica has enormous potential for companies in many sectors such as agriculture, microchips, telecommunications, insurance, microchips and tourism. Proactive UK law firms will recognize the opportunity to educate their clients about Costa Rica and build partnerships in this progressive nation to ensure their client’s success. Mergers and acquisitions, public/private partnerships and collaboration in public sector projects represent opportunities for participation. Additionally, Costa Rica is recognized as a leading country in the area of sustainable development and ecotourism. While there remains enormous capacity for growth in these areas, visionary UK law firms will recognize the potential for learning from Costa Rica’s pioneering efforts.
What advice would you give to UK law firms or companies doing business in Costa Rica?
I encourage UK law firms to expect more and to maintain their high standards when doing business in Costa Rica. Costa Rica has high quality firms with global expertise, multi-lingual capacities, and the business acumen to coordinate transactions directly with UK law firms. Costa Rica offers the expertise, security and credibility to become your single source for reach and impact into the Central America region. The largest and most respected corporations from around the globe are choosing Costa Rica as their springboard into Central America. We welcome UK law firms to discover the ease and efficiency of doing business in Costa Rica.
And what are your recommendations for visitors to Costa Rica?
If you’re coming to Costa Rica for business, make sure you schedule some extra time for fun. For our friends from the UK, we recommend at least a couple of days at our stunning tropical beaches and a mandatory trip to experience the vibrancy of our lush rainforests. Consider zip-lining or sport fishing for an adrenaline rush, and perhaps some relaxing time at our volcanic hot springs and mud baths. Keep your eye peeled for monkeys, sloths, toucans, scarlet macaws and our dazzling iridescent giant blue morpho butterflies. Costa Rica is small, but when it comes to nature-based excitement, our little nation delivers. Where else can you watch the sun rise over the Caribbean Sea and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean in one day? Where else can you visit towering active volcanoes, swing from rainforest canopies, walk on hanging bridges across high altitude cloud forests, angle for world class trophy fish in Caribbean and Pacific waters, do a tasting tour of family coffee plantations, golf on award-winning tropical courses and settle in after a full day of fun in your luxury accommodations?
So…if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, please give me a call. I will help you connect with the best attorneys in the country, and I’ll make sure that you get a taste of the fun and excitement that Costa Rica has to offer. Whether its golf or an evening of drinks…the first round is on me!