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Legal market overview

The overall mood in Mexico in 2015 is best characterised as ‘cautiously optimistic’; however, the market is not in exuberant spirits. Even though the country has the second largest economic output in Latin America, performance remains sluggish – despite the much-heralded ‘Mexican moment’. At only 2.1%, economic growth in 2014 fell far short of expectations that had been heightened with the reforms initiated by President Peña Nieto since his inauguration in late 2012. According to World Bank statistics, manufacturing exports account for a large portion of the country’s current economic performance, mainly resulting from a double-digit increase in the automobile sector. To date, the reforms’ costs have outweighed their benefits, with consumption and investment largely stagnant due to higher taxes, regulatory uncertainty, limited wage growth and overall low consumer confidence. On the positive side, private investment has more recently been on the upswing.

The opening of the energy industry to private sector participation, triggered by the government’s reforms, prompted many to speak of a Mexican energy revolution, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the mid-stream oil-and-gas segment. A case in point is the Los Ramones gas pipeline project, which will connect Mexico with the US gas pipeline network and is expected to form the spine of a planned 10,000km, bi-national natural gas transport network. As a consequence of the reforms an ever-growing number of law firms are increasingly involved in energy-related work: to name just a couple of examples, young boutique firm Ibarra, Del Paso, Gallego y Berezowsky S.C. has built a notable energy and environment practice in recent years; and one-stop energy shop Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow is acting for the government on the implementation of the reform. Apart from US companies, Chinese, Spanish and Canadian firms are also pushing into the Mexican energy market.

Reforms implemented in 2013 also impacted upon competition regulations, remodelling the regulation of the sector with the formation of two autonomous agencies: the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece), and the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFETEL), the latter now being in charge of all antitrust issues involving the telecoms sector. This development has kept many competition and TMT practices busy in recent months.

The tumult that has affected the Mexican tax sector shows little sign of abating with inter-firm recruitment continuing apace. Arguably the most notable new trend is the decision of full service firms to invest in significant transactional tax practices. If Jones Day and Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. are at the forefront of this curve, then it is also notable that Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC (with the hire of Adalberto Valadez Hernández from Chévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SC) , White & Case S.C. (with the hire of Guillermo Aguayo from Santamarina y Steta) and Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. (with the recruitment of Edgar Klee from Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi) have all embarked on similar strategic investments. Bucking the trend towards more sizeable service offerings, Manuel Tron has left Ernst & Young (although he retains a role as Counsel) to return to a boutique set up, Manuel Tron SC, where he frequently works in conjunction with firms including Arias, Meurinne y Rodríguez, S.C., SMPS Legal and Cuevas y Pueblita Abogados. (Since research concluded, Manuel E Tron has  joined SMPS Legal.)

International trade and customs practices, like those in the associated tax sector, have been affected by increased competition for staff: cases in point have seen Baker & McKenzie S.A.S. lose regional practice head Edmundo Elías, and Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. see retiring practice head Gerardo Hernández, along with former head of tax Luis Ortiz, take a number of staff with them to establish new boutique firm Ortiz, Hernández y Orendain, S.C..

Foreign (primarily US) firms continue to play an increasing role in the Mexican market, the most prominent example being Hogan Lovells BSTL, which was formed when long-established full-service firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa (BSTL) merged into Hogan Lovells in 2014, a move that gave the new firm a considerable boost. Greenberg Traurig, SC, which opened offices in Mexico City in 2011, benefitted from the dissolution of now-defunct Raz Guzmán Abogados but also saw five partners depart to Jones Day. Market leviathan Baker & McKenzie S.A.S. welcomed an entire team of corporate experts from DLA Piper Mexico (Carlos R Valencia being the most high-profile figure) – whose team was revamped in turn with its local merger with longstanding Gallastegui y Lozano to form DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano. Other notable international firms include Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. and Holland & Knight, which have both steadily built their local market share; leading corporate player White & Case S.C.; and labour specialists Littler, De la Vega y Conde SC. Spanish heavyweight, Garrigues opened a Mexico office in 2013.

Local players with a small but increasing participation in the market include firms such as Chávez Vargas Abogados, COMAD, S.C., Cuesta, Llaca y Esquivel, as well as traditional name Noriega y Escobedo, A.C..


Firms in the spotlight

Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C.

Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C. was founded in 1975. It is the result of the merger between Jáuregui y Navarrete, S.C. and Del Valle Torres, S.C., one of Mexico’s foremost multidisciplinary law firms specialized in international business transactions.

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Press releases

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Legal Developments in Mexico

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Notorious Marks

    Notorious marks or the declaration thereof, has always been an issue widely discussed in Mexico by the IP legal community. This is so because provisions of the Paris Convention dealing with this topic have for a long time been uses as an effort to cancel or nullify trademarks registered by Mexican authorities without really making an extensive evaluation of proposed denominations and without examining in depth if such marks may be potentially affecting rights acquired by third parties elsewhere. So, a specific regulation and legal frame that at least tries to resolve this issue is always a good start in the right direction.

    By Ignacio Dominguez Torrado Uhthoff, Gomez Vega & Uhthoff, S.C. Why a new value? Is Mexico avoiding the economic fallout that the world may be facing? In Mexico franchises are worth more? Is Mexico not a country that the global economic standstill is or will affect? The answer is, not really. Are Franchises in Mexico currently experiencing a boom? Perhaps. Are Franchises becoming an important aspect in Mexican economy? Certainly.

    Advertising in Mexico is governed by multiple bodies of law including for at least seven Federal Laws, five Regulations also of Federal application, a number of the so-called Mexican Official Standards (NOM's) and certain other laws and regulations applicable into specific States within the Republic of Mexico. All of them are focusing to establish the form and manners for producing and communicating advertising of products and services in Mexico.

    It has been well publicized in the Mexican media over the last few months that the General Customs Administration (AGA) and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) are planning to launch a customs trademark registry, as a short-term solution to increase protection for trademark owners against the import of infringing and counterfeit products.

    The evolution in the protection and enforcement of IP rights has also reached the Mexican practice. The traditional ways of defending a registered trademark on a non use contentious procedure have developed.

    By Jose Luis Ramos-Zurita

Press Releases worldwide

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  • Lower VAT On Hotel Services In Montenegro

    An important piece of regulation has been introduced in Montenegro recently, through the reduction of VAT on catering services in four stars hotels (in the north of the country) and five-star hotels (on the seaside), which will be effective from 2018. According to media reports, Olivera Brajović, General Director of Tourism Development and Standards in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, pointed out that these reduced tax rates on services of preparing and serving food and drinks are expected to raise the overall competitiveness in the hospitality sector, while at the same time contribute to the combat against grey economy.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Joins The NextLaw Global Referral Network

    Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that it has joined the NextLaw Global Referral Network, created by global law firm Dentons. We are particularly excited by the fact that Nextlaw presents a new type of network, with a unique invitation-only approach in their selection, ensuring that all of its members have the highest quality standards and a proven track record of excellence.
  • Sweet Smell Of Success - Serbian Sugar Industry Consolidates Its Forces

    After more than a four months and a Phase II (in-depth) investigation, the Competition Commission gave conditional approval, to Sunoko's acquisition of the Star Šećer company and its subsidiary Te-To - the owner of the sugar factory in Senta. No divestments have been required from Sunoko.
  • New Bridge Over Danube To Be Built In Belgrade

    News reports are informing us that Belgrade will gain another bridge over the Danube river in the near future – this one at the Ada Huja island and over three kilometres long.
  • Nikola Tesla Airport To Acquire Sava Centar?

    Media outlets have recently been reporting on the possibility that Nikola Tesla Airport will acquire Sava Centar (SC), with the purpose of turning it into its company headquarters. This acquisition would be followed by an investment of over EUR 30 million in the next three years for the building's reconstruction and adaptation. Such a decision would result in Sava Centar changing its name to "Congress Centre Nikola Tesla Airport", with an expanded array of facilities, including a tower, a shopping mall, and a hotel. The funds for the investment in question will be hailing from the Airport's own assets.
  • Too Big To Hide – European Commission Sanctions Truck Cartel

    Global competition law circles have recently been shaken by the European Commission's record-setting fine of EUR 2.93 billion for collusion on the automotive market, imposed against Volvo, Daimler, Iveco and DAF trucks. The sanctions in question varied amongst the accused parties, with Daimler facing the largest penalty in the amount of more than EUR 1 billion on its own. Iveco's fine was set at EUR 494 million, DAF's at EUR 752 million, and Volvo's fine has been set at EUR 670 million.
  • Cartel Office ensures greater competition in rail sector

    The German railway company Deutsche Bahn must allow for more competition. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, found that the company had abused its dominant market position with respect to the sale of rail tickets.

    Eterna Law (representative office in Almaty) announces the beginning of co-operation as a legal adviser with the Public Association "Academy of Preventive Medicine of Kazakhstan."
  • LAG Sachsen-Anhalt on video surveillance at the workplace

    Video surveillance at the workplace does not inevitably give rise to claims for damages. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Sachsen-Anhalt [Regional Labour Court of Saxony-Anhalt] (Az.: 6 Sa 301/14).
  • Final stretch for loan withdrawal

    Those who still want to withdraw from real estate loans concluded between 2002 and 2010 should take action now while the right of withdrawal is on its last legs. This get-out-of-jail-free card is set to lapse shortly.