Rafael Escalera Rodríguez

Académico de Número


Academia Puertorriqueña de Jurisprudencia y Legislación

Rafael Escalera


Mr. Escalera supervises Reichard & Escalera’s general litigation work and personally handles its civil practice under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the Puerto Rico Dealer’s Act (Law 75), and the Puerto Rico Sales Representatives Act (Law 21), as well as most complex litigation cases, including civil rights actions and regulated market cases.


At present, Mr. Escalera is the only instructor approved by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico as a CLE lecturer on distribution, sales representation, and franchising law.

Mr. Escalera is a Country Law Expert for Puerto Rico for the International Distribution Law Institute of Torino, Italy.

Mr. Escalera has wide experience in many areas of commercial litigation from mass tort (i.e., Dupont Hotel fire litigation) complex labor litigation (i.e. plant closings) superfund cases, securities, communications, consumer and shareholders class actions, regulated market cases (federal milk case), trademark litigation, franchise litigation, and civil rights actions.  Mr. Escalera has been very active in litigation related to the Puerto Rico Public Debt Restructuring.

Mr. Escalera is a well-known appellate practitioner both at the local and federal levels.  He has handled appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Mr. Escalera has been lead counsel for several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has argued before the U. S. Solicitor General.

For several years in a row, Chambers Global has identified Mr. Escalera as an “eminent lawyer” and “one of the best litigators in the country”, placing him as one of only two litigators in the top tier ranking. The latest Chambers Latin America evaluation again places Mr. Escalera at the top of its litigation ranking by saying:

Rafael Escalera is praised as one of the country’s best litigators and is the undisputed leader of the team. Sources say: “He is an elegant litigator who fights with finesse and knows constitutional and civil law like the back of his hand. His demeanour and delivery make him stand out, and he is able to make complex matters easy to understand.”


Mr. Escalera obtained his B.A. in Humanities Magna Cum Laude at the University of Puerto Rico and J.D. Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico Law School.
At the Law School, Mr. Escalera:

  • Graduated first in his class
  • Obtained West’s Publishing Co. prize for the best student in Anglo-American law
  • Obtained Puerto Rico Bar Association Medal and
  • Obtained Manuel Rodríguez Ramos Medal
  • Master’s degree in law from Harvard University.
  • He is fluent in Spanish, English, and French.


Mr. Escalera is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the United States District Court for Puerto Rico, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Representative Projects and Engagements

He has taught at the University of Puerto Rico Law School and at the Catholic University Graduate Law Program.

He was Editor in Chief of the University of Puerto Rico Law Review and Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of Puerto Rico, José Trias Monge.

A former member of the Puerto Rico Board of Bar Examiners.  Mr. Escalera has served in:

  • The Commission on the Reform of the Civil Code, in 2000
  • Incoming Governor’s Transition Committee
  • Chairman of the US Supreme Court Historical Society Puerto Rico Chapter and ViceChairman of the Board of Trustees of the Puerto Rico Museum of Art.
    Mr. Escalera was co-lead counsel for the prevailing party in the 2004 federal litigation arising out of that year’s gubernatorial election.  Mr. Escalera is a frequent lecturer on commercial litigation appellate and federal practice issues.