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Young Lawyers Interest Network Officer Highlight - Catalina Fonseca

Niloofar Zarei Henzaki


  • Aspirants for Corporate and M&A should build foundations in corporate law, practical experience through internships, develop negotiation, communication and analytical skills, find a mentor, and stay current with legal developments. 
  • YIN offers connection to lawyers globally, opportunity to organize events.
  • Fonseca works to demystify Colombia, and promote it as a vital country in Latin America with promising business opportunities and legal experts.
Young Lawyers Interest Network Officer Highlight - Catalina Fonseca
John Coletti via Getty Images

The Young Lawyers Interest Network (YIN) is excited to feature YIN Vice Chair Catalina Fonseca, who is a Corporate and M&A Senior Associate at C&R Law practicing in Bogota, Colombia. The Interview was conducted by Niloofar Z. Henzaki, 2023-2024 Diversity Fellow of the International Law Section of the ABA.

Niloofar: Thank you for joining me for an interview and I am excited for our readers to learn more about you! We are happy to have you on our team as the Vice Chair of the Young Lawyers Interest Network (YIN) Committee. Could you first tell us more about your professional background?

Catalina: Thank you, Niloofar. I am honored to be one of the Vice Chairs of YIN Committee. In terms of my professional background, I am a Colombian lawyer with a postgraduate degree in Business Law, and Diplomas in M&A and Corporate Transactions and Customs Law and Foreign Trade. I started in 2018 as an intern in the Presidency of América Móvil in Colombia, one of the most important telecommunications companies in Latin America, where I also contributed to support the Corporate Affairs and Government Relations Vice Presidency of Claro Colombia. Since 2019, I have been practicing as a senior associate of Corporate Law & M&A at C&R Law, a full services Colombian law firm where I have been fortunate to work on a wide range of multi-jurisdictional and local corporate transactions.

Niloofar: That is quite impressive, Catalina. Given your diverse experience, is there a specific region of the world where you would consider yourself an expert?

Catalina: While I have had the privilege of working on cross-border transactions, I would consider myself particularly knowledgeable about the Latin American market. My Colombian background and experience in advising clients on transactions within this region have allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the legal and business dynamics in Latin America.

Niloofar: That is great to know. Are there any other regions you would like to expand your practice into or enhance your skills?

Catalina: Absolutely. I am interested in broadening my expertise in North American and European markets, as they present unique challenges and opportunities. Expanding my practice into these regions would not only complement my current skill set but also allow me to provide more comprehensive legal counsel to our clients with global interests. That is why I am interested in pursuing an LLM abroad.

Niloofar: For aspiring lawyers looking to follow in your footsteps, what educational and skill preparation would you recommend advancing in the corporate & M&A field?

Catalina: First and foremost, a strong foundation in corporate law and a deep understanding of business principles are essential. Pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD) degree -or the equivalent in each jurisdiction- with a focus on corporate law or business law is a great starting point. Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships or clerkships at law firms specializing in corporate & M&A work is invaluable. Developing negotiation, communication, and analytical skills is also crucial, as these are key attributes in this field. It is also important to find a mentor you feel comfortable with outside or inside your workplace, who shares his/her experience with you and helps and guides you in each step of your career. Finally, staying up to date with legal developments and networking with experienced professionals can provide valuable insights and opportunities for career advancement. That is why attending ABA meetings and programs is so helpful for your career.

Niloofar: Thank you, Catalina, for your valuable insights. Lastly, as Vice Chair of the Young Lawyers Interest Network Committee, what made you join the committee, and what would you like to accomplish in this role?

Catalina: I believe that even though individuals are not in the same city at the same time, we are able to connect and impact other people’s lives. I am honored to bring my skills, passion, and experience to the Vice Chair position of Programs and Liaison of YIN, promoting and organizing in-person and virtual events. I have recently had the opportunity to contribute with the organization of a series of webinars, where YIN is a Co-sponsor, and we interact and get to know lawyers from all around the world for similar purposes. While doing so, it has been very important for me to share information about Colombia from a local point of view, demystifying many wrong believes about the current reality of my country, and helping to establish Colombia as one of the most important countries in Latin America with promising business opportunities and legal experts specialized in helping foreign investors.