Practice Areas: Mergers and Acquisitions, Public International Law - Enforcement of Commercial Agreements, Food Regulations, Administrative Law, Conflict Resolution, Intellectual Property and Customs Matters, Regulatory Matters and Foreign Trade Consulting.

Attorney Leroy Sheffer graduated from the University of Panama, where he obtained a degree in Political Science and Law with the highest academicals honors in year 1995. In 2001 he obtained a scholarship to study a Master of Law in International Trade at the James E. Rodger College of Law in the University of Arizona. From there, he took specialized courses in investment promotion and policy, completing this at the Practice Institute in New York during year 2002.
This same year, under the program managed by the World Bank to support commercial market access in Panama, he became part of the team of Trade Negotiators from the Republic of Panama, where he accomplished different positions until he was designated in the year 2006 Ambassador and Chief of Commercial Negotiations of the Republic of Panama.
During his active period in this position he was responsible for the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreements with the United States, Canada and Central America. He also took part as Nacional Director of Legal Affairs in the Trade Agreements concluded with Taiwan, Singapore and Chile.
He settled the initial negotiations to subscribe the Investment Promotion Agreements with Qatar, Mexico, Finland, Belgium, among others.
He was part of the Attorneys team for the Republic of Panama who took part in the development of commercial conflicts with Colombia defending the Distribution Services from the Colon Free Zone as well as in the dispute of the Banana Import Regime applied by the European Union. During his practice, it was constituted the Administration Office for Trade Treaties and Commercial Defense of the Republic of Panama.
He is a certified consultant for the UNCTAD, CEPAL and he is part of the professional roster which are certified by the Republic of Panama before the WTO (World Trade Organization), in conflicts about goods and services.
Professor for more than 10 years in several Universities and Colleges in the country in areas such as Constitutional Law, Corporate Law and International Trade.




Practice Areas: Commercial Advisory, Corporate Services, Mergers and Acquisitions, Administrative Law, Conflict Resolution, Fiscal Law, Regulatory Matters

Attorney Marleni Paolo graduated from the School of Law and Political Sciences, of Universidad Catolica Santa Maria La Antigua in 2001, with honors of Summa Cum Laude.  In 2003 she finished her Master in International Legal Studies at New York University (NYU). She has also taken courses in commercial negotiation and tax management in renowned national and international universities.

Marleni has professionally performed both in the public and private sectors. As attorney for the firm Sucre, Briceño & Co. she was part of the legal team that conducted the corporate due diligence for the establishment of the company Telefónica Móviles, S.A./Movistar in Panama.

In the public field, she worked as advisor for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and for the International Trade Negotiations Office, where she was in charge of coordinating and executing projects related to foreign trade and maritime investments. From there, she participated in the process for restructuring the national port policy and the establishment of the Singapore port authority (PSA) in Panama. She was part of the advisory team that drafted the General Ports Law and took part in the negotiation and legal revision of the Trade Promotion Agreement between Panama and the United States of America and the assessment of bilateral Agreements for the promotion and protection of investments. Moreover, she was one of the attorneys of the Republic of Panama who took part in the dispute about the Banana Import Regime of the European Union before the World Trade Organization.

Before establishing ITAS, Marleni worked as associate attorney in the law firm Patton, Moreno & Asvat and her professional practice involved administrative, corporate, fiscal law and advisory in the drafting of commercial agreements. 

Besides her practice as an expert attorney in Panama, Mrs. Paolo is authorized to practice in the State of New York.
Currently she is the administrative partners in ITAS and the legal firma Sheffer & Paolo – ITAS Law, focusing her professional practice in commercial consultancy, public procurement, corporate and fiscal legal advisory.


MELISSA DAVIS - Partner and Trade Consultant Director


Practice Areas: Public International Law - Enforcement of Commercial Agreements, Food Regulations, Administrative Law, Special Zones, Regulatory Matters, Trade Advisory, Foreign Trade Consulting.

Attorney Melissa Davis graduated from the Faculty of Law and Policital Science of Universidad Catolica Santa María La Antigua in 1993. She has a Master Degree in International Economic Law from the University of Houston, United States, that she obtained in 1995.

She has concluded specialized studies in foreign trade among which can be highlighted the degree of studies in Policy and Trade Negotiations by the Institute of Formation of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the degree of studies on Inter-American Relations in the Center of Latin-American Studies of Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, among others.

From 1997 she was appointed as negotiating lawyer from the Republic of Panama, Director of Legal Affairs and later Subdirector of the team of commercial negotiations of the Ministry of Trade and Industries, where she participated actively in the negotiations of Free Trade Agreements with Central America, Taiwan, Singapore, Chile and the United States, as well as the negotiation of investment promotion and protection agreements and the multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In 2006 she assumed the position of Deputy Permanent Representative of Panama to the WTO and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for negotiations on market access in trade of services, industrial goods and fisheries subsidies in negotiations of the Doha Round, and the resolution of conflicts in which Panama has been a party, as well as in the negotiations of Panama in the process of adding new members to the WTO.

Before joining ITAS, Melissa was Director of the Administration Office for Trade Treaties and Commercial Defense of the Republic of Panama and later served as Director of International Economic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she coordinated the Facilitation, Infrastructure and Logistics Group for the ARCO Forum of Latin American Pacific.

She was concurrent professor in the Diploma of High Specialization in Negotiations, Treaties and International Trade in the Latin American University of Foreign Trade of Panama (ULACEX) in a joint program with the University of Santiago, Chile.


BOLÍVAR DE LA GUARDIA - Associate Lawyer

Practice Areas: Commercial Advisory, Corporate Services, Public International Law, Application of Trade Agreements, Administrative Law, Fiscal Law, Labor Law and Immigration, Regulatory Issues, Trade Consulting.

Our associate, Mr. Bolivar De La Guardia finished his bachelor degree studies in Law and Political science in Universidad Catolica Santa Maria La Antigua in year 2011, being distinguished with the Cum Laude degree at the end of his studies.
Once he obtained his qualification as a Lawyer by the Supreme Court of Panama in 2011, he was promoted as Associate of the Panamanian law firm Vallarino, Vallarino & García Maritano (VV&M), where he developed his skills in the departments of Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Corporate Matters and Administrative Law.

Working with VV&M, Mr. De La Guardia was part of the legal team that assisted and advised the Panamanian Authority of Public Services within the sell and purchase process of 51% shares of the electrical distribution enterprises in the country: Empresa de Distribucion Electrica Metro Oeste, S.A., Elektra Noreste, S.A. and Empresa de Distribucion Electrica Chiriqui, S.A.

In 2015 he completed his Master Degree (LL.M.) on International Trade and Commercial Law of Nottingham Law School, in Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, Mr. De La Guardia have a post graduate diploma on Finance for non-financers, besides being an active participant of many seminars and forums about legal affairs and similar which complement his practical experience.
Nowadays, Bolivar is a consultant of ITAS, and is also part of the legal team of Sheffer & Paolo - ITAS LAW as Associate.

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