IEL Elite


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Garrigues boasts an impressive Iberian employment law offering and a growing Latin American presence.

Rosa Zarza leads the team, which in 2021 accounted for more than 11% of the firm’s total billings. Zarza in 2022 was recognised in IEL’s Women Leaders survey.

In the past year, the firm has bolstered its capacity in Colombia with the arrival of the “excellent” Carolina Camacho to head up the team in Bogotá, and opened its first office in Mexico City, led by Miguel Ángel Rocha Romero. These moves expand on the firm’s existing presence in Chile and in Peru.

They have a keen ability to detect what legal problems might crop up, and that allows us to proactively anticipate them – which is really important, especially in strategic projects.

The group’s strengths have also been considerably boosted by a number of promotions within the team.

In November 2022, the firm announced that Nicolás Clark Barragán in Seville, Eva Díez-Ordás Berciano in Madrid, Franco Muschi Loayza in Lima, Francisco Javier Navarro Arias in Murcia, Ignacio Eloy Sánchez López in Oviedo, and Bárbara Vera Arroyo in Santiago de Chile will be made up to partner in January 2023.

This followed the promotion to the partnership of João Soares Almeida in Porto, Clara Herreros in Madrid, and Rául Vázquez in Bilbao in January 2022.

Employment specialists are also based in the firm’s Casablanca and Warsaw outposts.


The department is well placed to assist clients with the full spectrum of employment issues, from executive compensation through to D&I, workforce restructurings, and the employment aspects of corporate transactions.

Notably, the firm’s prominence in Spain has seen the department play a key role on incoming legislation: the group in 2021 advised the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) on labour reform negotiations, which were approved in February 2022.

The department is a sought-after partner for decisions impacting large workforces. For example, Rui Valente – head of employment for Garrigues Portugal – acted for Inditex on the merger of its nine Portuguese companies, impacting 5,000 workers.

This prowess was further showcased in advice to Vodafone on the transformation of its business model and operational structure, which affected more than 500 roles. A Madrid-based team comprised of Rafael Giménez-Arnau, Adriano Gómez, and Herreros acted for Vodafone in negotiations with unions and on the collective layoff agreements, which included novel non-compete clauses.

Another matter with a significant potential impact on a large workforce was the advice from partners Bernardo Pérez-Navas and Ignacio Esteban Ros to Alcoa on its smelting plant in the province of Lugo, north-west Spain. Activity at the plant accounts for 30% of the province’s GDP, and a dispute arose over its planned closure owing to rising energy prices. As part of the firm’s multifaceted advice, the team represented Alcoa in collective bargaining negotiations to reach an agreement with employees, and continue operations at the plant after a temporary cessation in activity.

The group’s experience in industrial relations was also demonstrated in its advice to agriculture giant Syngenta on a collective bargaining process with unionised employees in Colombia, including defining a strategy for the negotiation.

A key strength of the group is its ability to leverage the expertise of partners in other practice areas, such as insolvency or tax, to give 360-degree support to clients in highly complex mandates with a core employment law element. For example, Zarza – alongside experts in data protection and public law – successfully acted for Banco Santander on a lawsuit raised by unvaccinated employees who claimed the bank’s request that they take a weekly covid-19 test violated their fundamental rights.

The group is also adept at taking on sensitive workplace investigations. For example, Giménez-Arnau and Esteban Ros assisted the J. García Carrión winery with an investigation that ended in the discovery of serious irregularities committed by three senior executives. The team assisted with the termination of the executives, and represented the winery in related legal proceedings raised to contest the dismissals.


  • Esteve Healthcare
  • Piaggio
  • Siemens Energy
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol
  • Telefónica Open Innovation
  • IBM
  • Carrefour
  • Iberia 
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Coca-Cola

Experts based in...

Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, and Spain.

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