Juan Carlos Varela is a lawyer with an impressive educational background, holding law degrees in four different countries, three international master’s degrees, and a wealth of knowledge in diverse areas of the law. His areas of practice encompass federal and Florida State law in the United States, as well as international private law. He has substantial experience dealing with cross-border legal issues, ensuring compliance with international regulations, and facilitating the resolution of complex legal disputes.

He focuses his practice in several key areas:

International Employment and Labor

Juan Carlos is a legal adviser of the United States of America Employer Delegation to the International Labor Organization Conference in Geneva.

On the international front, Juan Carlos provides strategic advice and counsel to multinational employers on a wide range of international employment and compliance matters, including:

  • Global workforce (remote workers, independent contractors, expatriates)
  • Global mobility programs and expatriate workforces
  • The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Labor obligations under free trade agreements
  • Multicountry and international surveys on employment laws and practices
  • Global codes of conduct and international policies

Business Restructuring and M&A

He served as leading counsel on the labor and employment component of the global acquisition of one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world. He also served as leading counsel designing and implementing complex company restructuring, country exit plans, and foreign government negotiations, and has advised Fortune 50 corporations in several countries.

A main area of Juan Carlos’s practice is handling labor and employment matters related to complex business transactions, mergers, and acquisitions. Juan Carlos has a deep understanding of transactional law and comprehensive knowledge of relevant corporate, securities, and contract laws. On his transactional practice, Juan Carlos meticulously reviews financial records, contracts, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, litigation history, and other relevant documents to provide clients with a clear picture of the risks and opportunities involved in a transaction. His strong project management skills are key to effectively coordinating with clients, other legal teams, financial advisors, and other stakeholders involved in these transactions.

Contingent Workforce

He provides legal support in contingent workforce-related disputes, including litigation and arbitration proceedings. He was leading counsel on the incorporation and structuring of one of the largest Global Employer of Record agencies.  

Juan Carlos devotes a good portion of his time to contingent workforce matters. He offers legal advice on employment contracts, independent contractor agreements, and temporary staffing arrangements. He interprets labor laws, employment regulations, and relevant statutes to guide clients in developing compliant workforce solutions to mitigate risks and ensure adherence to labor laws and employment regulations. Juan Carlos evaluates and advises on the proper classification of workers as employees or independent contractors based on applicable legal criteria.

Privacy and Data Protection

He served as leading counsel in the creation of a Fortune 10 oil and gas corporation’s global privacy and data protection policy.

Juan Carlos has considerable knowledge of global and domestic data privacy laws and background check regulations and helps ensure clients’ compliance with privacy requirements. He offers authoritative guidance on GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and other relevant data privacy frameworks. Juan Carlos regularly helps clients develop data protection strategies, collaborating with their legal and compliance teams to design and implement tailored and effective solutions. He conducts privacy impact assessments (PIAs) to identify potential risks and ensure data protection compliance. Juan Carlos promotes awareness and understanding of data privacy best practices and provides guidance on the handling of data breach incidents.

Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets

His experience includes serving as leading counsel handling complex litigation, enforcing noncompete agreements, and obtaining injunctions in different jurisdictions for a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company.

Juan Carlos advises clients on best practices for protecting trade secrets and confidential information, handles all aspects of trade secrets misappropriation cases, and pursues legal action against parties who unlawfully use or disclose trade secrets. He provides legal guidance on trademarks, copyrights, and patents, and conducts risk assessments. He advises on compliance measures and assists in developing internal policies to prevent unfair competition and protect trade secrets. He advises employers on the implications and enforceability of restrictive covenants, and handles cases involving unfair competition practices, such as misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties, and tortious interference claims.

Whistleblowing, Compliance, and Investigations

He served as leading counsel representing one of the largest cruise corporations of the world dealing with a whistleblower investigation involving sexual harassment allegations in five different jurisdictions.

Juan Carlos advises clients on laws protecting whistleblowers, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Dodd-Frank Act, and other relevant statutes. He provides legal support and advocacy for employees who have experienced retaliation for reporting misconduct and assists clients in developing and implementing robust compliance programs that align with labor laws, industry standards, and best practices. Conducts compliance audits to identify potential risks and advise on remediation measures. He also leads internal investigations into alleged workplace misconduct, including harassment, discrimination, and ethical violations.


Named, The Best Lawyers in America©


Named, Best Lawyers in Venezuela©


Named, Labour and Employment

Chambers Latin America


Named, Leading Lawyer in Venezuela

Legal 500 Latin America


Named, Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers



Named, International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers

Who's Who Legal


Named, World’s Leading Business Lawyers, Corporate/M&A


Chambers Global


Named, Excellence in Client Service

Client Choice International


LACCA Approved, Labour

Latin America Corporate Counsel Association


News, Analysis & Press

Employment Contracts in the Americas


March 31, 2023

A Global Vision and the American Dream


October 4, 2021

Some Big Law Firms Hang On in Turbulent Venezuela

The American Lawyer

May 21, 2018

Littler Global Guide - Venezuela - Q1 2018

Global Guide Quarterly

April 23, 2018

Pensions & Retirement Plans 2016

Getting the Deal Through

May 1, 2016

Latin America's Top 100 Lawyers


January 13, 2016

Venezuela: Useful online resources on employment law


November 2013

Outsourcing in Latin America

Latin American Law & Business Report

July 1, 2012


  • Pensions & Retirement Plans - Venezuela, Getting the Deal Through, Law Business Research Ltd., chapter author, 2013 and 2014

Speaking Engagements

Employment Law Update

Littler Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 9, 2024

From Myth to Reality: Addressing the Strategies for Consistency in Handbooks Globally

Littler Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 8, 2024

How to Lead an International Internal Investigation: Cross-Border Compliance and Strategies

May 24, 2022

Exposure Under the New EU “Whistleblower Directive” and Beyond: How to Comply with the World’s Emerging Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation and Hotline Mandates

Littler Executive Employer Conference

May 5, 2022

Unique Considerations for Engaging Freelancers in APAC and LATAM

April 28, 2022

Unique Considerations for Engaging Freelancers in APAC and LATAM

April 27, 2022

International Wandering Workers: Avoiding the Legal Pitfalls for Multinational Employers

April 8, 2021

Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Managing Employee Relocation in the Era of Remote Work

March 11, 2021

Sexto Foro Regional de Derecho Laboral

Panama City

September 20, 2019

Venezuela: Political, Economic and Legal Outlook

Boleita, Caracas

April 2, 2019

Visión General de Venezuela: Nuevas Reformas Financieras

Boleita, Caracas

October 3, 2018

Venezuela Overview: New Financial Reforms

Boleita, Caracas

October 3, 2018

Perspectivas Laborales 2017: Empresas del presente para la Venezuela del futuro

Boleita, Caracas

February 23, 2017

Labor and Employment Outlook 2017: Companies of Today for the Venezuela of Tomorrow

Boleita, Caracas

February 23, 2017

Inaugural Europe Conference - Germany


November 10, 2016

Régimen Laboral Transitorio y Obligatorio en Venezuela

August 22, 2016

Mandatory Transitory Labor Regime in Venezuela

August 22, 2016

The Art of Global Restructuring and Global Workforce Integration

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference

May 5, 2016

Brazil: Country Outlook for 2016

February 26, 2016

Venezuela Labor Outlook 2016

Boleita, Caracas

February 24, 2016

Perspectivas Laborales 2016 - Venezuela

Boleita, Caracas

February 24, 2016

Latin America HR Challenges and Solutions

Latin America Employee Relations Group, Miami, FL

February 25-26, 2016

Venezuela: Country Outlook for 2016

January 28, 2016

Littler Global Mexico Conference

November 11, 2015

Littler Global Primera Conferencia en México y Monterrey

November 11, 2015

Littler Global Primera Conferencia en México y Monterrey

November 10, 2015

Littler Global Mexico Conference

November 10, 2015

Littler Global Colombia Conference


September 10, 2015

Labor Update

Boleita, Caracas

May 27, 2015

Latin America Labor & Employment Law Update

April 29, 2015

Labor Market and Global Mobility

February 27, 2015

Perspectivas Laborales 2015

Boleita, Caracas

February 24, 2015

Labor & Employment Issues: Three Things an Employer Should Master for Success in Latin America

Miami, FL

November 13, 2014

Hiring and firing: Save your multinational millions by taking precautions and avoiding “rookie” mistakes

Miami, FL

November 7, 2014

Compliance and Liability Fundamentals

Association of Corporate Counsel, South Florida Chapter

May 2, 2014

Critical Changes to the Labor Landscape in Latin America and the Implications for U.S. Employers

Dallas, TX

April 4, 2013

Employment Agreements, Restrictive Covenants, and Trade Secrets: A Review for Multinational Employers

March 28, 2013

Critical Changes to Mexico and Venezuela's Labor Landscape and the Implications for U.S. Employers

Houston, TX

January 29, 2013

Out & About: LGBT Issues and the Globally Mobile Workforce

Global Employer Institute

Littler Mendelson, Washington D.C.

November 9, 2012

Sustainable Innovations for a Changing Global Workforce

Global Employer Institute

Littler Mendelson, Washington D.C.

November 8, 2012

Protecting Your Operations in Latin America: Risks and Opportunities in the Region’s Current Legal Landscape

Global Employer Institute

Littler Mendelson, Washington D.C.

November 8, 2012

Nueva Ley del Trabajo en Venezuela

Boleita, Caracas

July 17, 2012

New Labor Law In Venezuela

Boleita, Caracas

June 29, 2012

Doing Business South of the Border

The 2012 Executive Employer® Conference

Littler Mendelson, Scottsdale, AZ

May 10, 2012


  • J.D., University of Miami, 2019
  • LL.M., University of Miami, 2019
  • LL.M., University of Miami, 2011
  • LL.M., University of Illinois, 1995summa cum laude
  • J.D., Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, VZ, 1992cum laude

Conoscenze linguistiche

  • Spagnolo
  • Inglese
  • Portoghese

Foro di appartenenza



  • Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela
  • Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia