Legal market overview
The ‘Mexican moment’ shows no sign of passing: proximity to the US and rising labour costs in China have seen Mexico regain viability as a manufacturing base, foreign investment continues to grow and the country has a significant role in international trade, with exports matching the whole of the rest of Latin American put together. Capital markets activity has seen a significant boost, with the rise of FIBRAs (the Mexican equivalent of a Real Estate Investment Trust), AFORES (pension funds) and CKD issuances (a structured equity security instrument).
The new Government’s wide-reaching plans for reform also signal a move away from Mexico’s traditionally monopolistic industries, with interlinked changes to telecommunications and antitrust law currently being passed through Congress. Planned amendments to banking, labour and energy law similarly signal movement towards a more business-friendly market. Mexico’s entry into the Madrid Protocol also brings intellectual property rules in line with international standards.
In the legal market, global practices are increasingly looking to Mexico as a gateway into Latin America, a trend exacerbated by Brazil’s tighter regulations on foreign firms. Jones Day and Baker & McKenzie Mexico’s Mexican teams are pursuing ambitious recruitment drives, while Garrigues, Dentons and Hogan Lovells LLP have all confirmed their intentions to enter the jurisdiction. The latter has indeed already taken the first step with the hire of dispute resolution specialist Luis Enrique Graham from Chadbourne & Parke LLP; he will divide his time between Mexico and New York.
Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C., Galicia Abogados, SC, Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C. and Ritch Mueller, S.C. continue to dominate the transactional space, with Creel taking a dominant role in FIBRAs. Despite suffering significant losses with the departures of Alberto Sepúlveda Cosío, Eugenio Sepúlveda and Ariel Ramos, White & Case, SC remains a powerful force in the market, leading the way in M&A and capital markets work.
Following its founding in 2011, Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC continues to develop its presence in a number of sectors; strong in finance-related matters, and with a growing reputation in project finance, it has market-leading capabilities in the insurance sector. Jáuregui y Navarrete, SC has increased its partnership through a combination of internal promotions and lateral hires. Long prominent in international trade matters, the firm is increasingly present in various other sectors, including real estate and projects. A steadily developing market presence, Gonzalez Calvillo, SC was present on several high-profile transactions during the year, and is increasingly recognised for its capital markets work.
High power boutiques Robles Miaja, SC and Heather & Heather, SC, with their widely respected founding partners Thomas Heather and Rafael Robles Miaja deserve special mention. As do relative newcomers, tax boutique Del Valle Torres SC and IP specialist Avahlegal, S.C., which are mounting serious competition to the traditional top-tier practices.