Nielsen, who has held several key positions in the public and private sector in Panama, joins the global labor and employment giant after its three partners in the country’s capital left the firm in late May.
Ricardo Aleman, Maria Mendoza and Albalira Montufar, all of whom were affiliated with Littler’s regional arm BDS Asesores, have joined Panamanian firm Morgan & Morgan in Panama City. Aleman and Mendoza focus on labor law, while Montufar is an immigration expert.
Nielsen (pictured right) was unavailable for immediate comment Thursday. She spent the past three years at Panamanian firm NNG Abogados, having previously spent nearly four years at another local shop called Mendoza, Arias, Valle & Castillo.
From July 2014 to July 2015, Nielsen served as chairman and national director of the Boards of Conciliation and Decision at Panama’s Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development. She will now lead Littler’s Panama City office and work closely with associates Ana Carolina Ríos and Ericka Muñoz. (Ríos was already employed by BDS Asesores, but Muñoz is returning to the firm after some time away.)
“Yeris’ depth of experience in government and in counseling employers on complex labor and employment matters will be of tremendous value to our clients in Panama and throughout Central and Latin America,” said a statement by Marco Durante Calvo, the San Jose, Costa Rica-based managing partner of BDS Asesores. “We are pleased to welcome Yeris to the firm and to continue leveraging the Littler Global platform to serve clients.”
Littler expanded into the U.K. last month by picking up 16-lawyer employment boutique GQ Employment Law. The move was the firm’s third major expansion effort in Europe, coming on the heels of its combinations with French labor law specialist Fromont Briens late last year and Germany’s Vangard in late 2015. Littler also opened a Toronto office in August 2015.
Central and Latin America have also been a key regional focus for Littler in recent years. The firm set up its first office outside the U.S. in Venezuela back in 2010 and expanded to Mexico a year later. In late 2013, Littler absorbed Puerto Rico’s 22-lawyer Schuster Aguilo. Littler opened in Peru in late 2014 after acquiring Lima-based specialty boutique Estudio Gonzalez & Asociados. A year later, Littler set up shop in Guatemala and became the first global firm to launch in Nicaragua through BDS Asesores, the local arm of the Littler Global network formed following its absorption of firms in Colombia and Costa Rica in late 2013.
Panama, which earlier this week saw former dictator Manuel Noriega die at 83, an event that led some U.S. lawyers to share their recollections of a unique client, has been of particular interest to large law firms over the past year as a result of the hacking of files from leading Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca.
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