City Focus - Houston in Latin America: International firms

Houston is a natural hub for Latin America legal work, in large part because of its proximity to the region (especially Mexico) and its status as the energy capital of the world. It continues to be a key centre for Mexico oil-and-gas work, along with offshore Brazil, and is increasingly becoming a strategic location for power, renewables and energy transition matters. This is concurrently making Houston less Mexico-centric and increasing its role as a significant hub for the rest of the Latin America region. Recent legislation in the US to encourage the growth of manufacturing and supply chains in the Americas, is having a sizeable impact on northern Mexico, where the development of industrial parks, manufacturing plants and transportation logistics is providing further opportunities for Houston’s legal market. A number of firms are now targeting this ‘nearshoring’ phenomenon, which looks likely to continue for some time to come. Houston’s geographical position and growing weight in the legal market saw Clifford Chance LLP launch an office there in 2023, which included the hire of David Sweeney from Akin as the head of the oil and gas group; Sweeney has extensive experience in Latin America upstream oil and gas transactions.


Akin’s Houston office has a long history in Latin America, particularly in the energy sector. It has an especially strong record in upstream oil and gas in Mexico. Other key markets include Colombia, Chile and Brazil, while it has further activity in smaller markets such as Suriname, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Previously, the firm worked on a raft of solar and wind projects in Mexico, before the political climate changed. Matt Kapinos leads on project development in Mexico, Chile and other markets, including storage terminal and renewables projects. At counsel level, Eduardo Canales  is a pivotal figure in Latin America projects and transactions. David Sweeney, an experienced figure in upstream oil and gas transactions in Mexico, left the firm in June 2023.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s outstanding expertise is frequently employed in Latin America where it frequently advises US-based clients on their investments and interests in the region. Oil and gas, along with LNG, is core to the Houston office’s practice in Latin America, while renewables, including solar and wind, are growth areas for the team. The office is also well placed to target energy transition projects such as hydrogen and carbon capture. It is also becoming more active in private equity investments in Latin America. Carlos Solé has a long history in Latin America, particularly in LNG, upstream-and-downstream oil and gas, and renewable energy. David Jetter is another experienced figure in Latin America LNG and other energy infrastructure projects. Although not based in Houston, Dino Barajas, a San Francisco-based partner and firm-wide head of project finance, is helping the core Latin America team to develop its presence in renewable energy in key Latin American jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Solé


The team is very experienced in GSA SPA, TUA and OCA issues, as well as being very business oriented and always available for urgent issues.

Knowledge of the contract and the gas market, its ability to adapt to the characteristics of the market and reach favourable conclusions for both parties without delaying negotiations.

Key clients

New Fortress Energy

The AES Corporation

Sempra LNG and Sempra Gas & Midstream


Work highlights

  • Assisted New Fortress Energy (NFE) in connection with its gas field development and offtake agreements with Pemex Exploration and Production, relating to the Lakach deepwater natural gas field.
  • Assisted Sempra with the development and marketing of a brownfield development of an LNG export project co-located and integrated with the existing Energía Costa Azul (ECA) regasification facility in Mexico as well as the joint venture related matters.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. has a long history with Latin America, particularly Mexico where it has had a Mexico City office since 1994. The Houston office has a large team of Latin America experts, which cover inbound and outbound Mexico transactions, notably in the energy, infrastructure, water, tech and healthcare fields. The team is increasingly active in renewables and nearshored manufacturing facilities in northern Mexico - including investments in industrial parks, transport and logistics. Although Mexico is the office’s primary Latin American jurisdiction, it is also active in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Central America. Despite a more challenging investment climate in Mexico, the firm continues to advise oil and gas majors on their long-term interests in the jurisdiction, along with additional growth in solar power projects. The firm is best known for work with mid-market clients and family-owned businesses, along with start-ups and some public companies. Ricardo Garcia-Moreno and George Gonzalez are leaders in Mexico transactions, along with Brad Richards who also has a strong record in Mexico. Odean Volker provides further expertise in disputes involving Mexican businesses with interests in the US and elsewhere, along with white-collar matters. The firm also has a number of Latin America experts in Dallas, where it is the largest firm, including -notably- Alberto de la Peña.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP has a large and well established Latin America practice, with the team primarily based in Miami, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and New York. The Houston team provides additional expertise in oil, gas and petrochemicals. It represents a range of Latin American and multinational energy giants. Bruno Ciuffetelli is a hugely experienced Latin America specialist with deep knowledge of the oil and gas sector, along with extensive connections to sovereigns and quasi-sovereigns in the region. He is also noted for high-value sovereign debt restructurings and major financings involving Chinese lenders. Houston managing partner Bruce Oakley and Aaron Crane are also recognised for acting in major disputes involving Latin American sovereigns and continue to be hired by the United States-recognised government of Venezuela, led by Juan Guaidó and the 2015 National Assembly, to represent Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its subsidiaries in a series of claims arising from the actions of the Nicolás Maduro regime.


Practice head(s):

Bruno Ciuffetelli


The Houston practice supports certain foreign direct investments made in Mexico – practicing Mexican law from this office. Their knowledge of Mexico is unparalleled, given the breadth and depth of the practice, where they cover Mexico from Houston, Monterrey, and Mexico City offices, amongst others. Furthermore, an effective law firm balances spot-on legal knowledge with relationships that are capable of getting transactions consummated from a business and practical perspective – Hogan Lovells is excellent in this regard.

Carlos Ramos (Houston office) is the consummate lawyer – approachable, knowledgeable, agile, and, a rarity in the field, humble. His experience speaks for itself – which is highlighted by a distinguished client list and a 30 year career practicing law. It is clear from Mr. Ramos’ actions that he places his clients before his firm or himself.

Key clients

Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) (currently under the instructions of the United States- recognised 2015 National Assembly)

Assured Guaranty Municipal Corporation

Ministry of Finance of Ecuador

TC Energy


Qatar Energy

KDB Infrastructure Investments Asset Management Co

ME Enterprises / Harbour Group


Wintershall DEA

Work highlights

  • Hired by the United States-recognised government of Venezuela, led by Juan Guaidó and the 2015 National Assembly, to represent Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its subsidiaries in a series of claims arising from the actions of the Nicolás Maduro regime.
  • Advised TC Energy on a new natural gas transportation agreement with the Comision Federal de Electricidad, consolidating prior existing agreements and new infrastructure.
  • Assisted Harbour Group with the acquisition of 100% of Xanor de México.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP has a substantial Latin America-focused team in Houston, with a primary emphasis on international arbitration, investigations and project development. It also continues to advise on large-scale offshore oil and gas projects and remains at the forefront of Latin America LNG projects through David Lang. The firm is increasingly relevant with regard to renewables' matters and is leading the field in hydrogen projects. Scott Greer provides further construction and project development expertise. Brandt Liebe is a key figure in white collar crime and government investigations involving Latin America, including matters in the healthcare industry. In international arbitration, the firm is awash with senior talent in Houston; it is the only leading firm in international arbitration to have started the practice in Houston. The arbitration team includes Argentina native Roberto Aguirre Luzi, who is 100% focused on Latin America disputes and co-heads the Latin America international arbitration group.  Senior arbitration specialists Craig Miles and Doak Bishop also have a strong record in Latin America, as does new global head of international arbitration Wade Coriell, who divides his time between Houston and Singapore.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has an outstanding reputation for project development and M&A in the energy (including oil and gas), mining and infrastructure sectors. The Houston office features senior practitioners, Argentine-born Pablo Ferrante and Jose Valera , who is from Peru. The firm represents a wealth of Latin American businesses in the energy sector and has seen further growth in green energy and mining engagements; it advised LSC Lithium on the sale of all of the outstanding shares of Lithea Inc, the owner of the Pozuelos-Pastos Grandes lithium mining properties located in Salta, Argentina, to GFL International. The group frequently works alongside other offices including its partner firm in Brazil, Tauil & Chequer Advogados, which provides a steady flow of inbound and outbound Brazil transactions; Alexandre Chequer is global head of oil and gas, and splits his time between Houston and Rio de Janeiro. The Houston team also works closely with the firm’s Mexico City office, and has an outstanding record in energy deals in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Notably, it is also increasingly active in Guyana’s developing oil and gas sector.

Practice head(s):

Fablo Ferrante; Jose Valera

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

With one of the largest Latin America-focused teams in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is noted for its energy expertise in Mexico, Brazil and numerous jurisdictions throughout the region. It represents a substantial list of large Latin American corporates along with a range of multinationals and private equity investors with interests in the area. The team is also active in multiple industries, and has a mix of inbound and outbound transactional work; it advised Grupo Lala US, a subsidiary of the Mexico-based dairy-products manufacturing business, on regulatory and corporate matters related to its operations in the US. The group also continues to work on significant oil-and-gas transactions and technology deals in the region. Co-chair of the Latin America group and Bolivian native John Crespo has an outstanding record in big-ticket transactions, including oil and gas deals. Admitted to practice in Mexico, New York and Texas, Humberto Padilla Gonzalez has a well rounded practice with experience from corporate transactions to internal investigations. Educated in Brazil, Felipe Alice is also noted for oil and gas transactions and technology deals.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Mellor; John Crespo


The capacity to draw on the firm’s resources is incomparable, the Houston team is able to draw upon the firms talents and help manage them.

Humberto Padilla is extraordinary, he goes above and beyond for clients and is very diligent!


Key clients

Grupo Lala

Ranman USA

Mirabilis Homes

Grupo Elektra


Premise Data Corporation

Apollo Advisors


Patriotic Energies and Technologies

Sigga Technologies

Decartes Systems Group

Dellner Industrial

Work highlights

  • Advised Lala US on regulatory and corporate matters associated with its operations in the United States.
  • Represented New State Capital Partners in its acquisition of Afimac Global, an international security company with significant operations in Latin America, including Brazil and Mexico.|
  • Represented Graycliff Partners, as the sponsor, in an acquisition financing involving a $44m senior secured loan facility provided by Truist Bank.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP has a considerable presence in oil and gas M&A, project development and project finance, especially in relation to Mexico. Houston partners Luis Gomar and Rocio Guadalupe Mendoza are noted for energy transactions in Latin America, particularly Mexico and Brazil. The two recently advised PetroBAL Upstream Delta 1 on a $250m reserves-based lending transaction for the development of shallow-water oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP has a fast growing Latin America team, which incorporates a substantial group in Houston. Eminent international arbitration specialist Francisco Rivero leads the firm-wide Latin America department, which is noted for housing a large number of practitioners that are dual qualified in the US and in Latin American states. For international arbitration cases, Rivero and his colleagues have an outstanding record in Mexico disputes, along with cases involving Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil. Energy is naturally a forte for the Houston team, which also works with colleagues in Miami, New York and London. Counsel William Russell is another Latin America arbitration expert, Spanish speaker, and a specialist in oil and gas, construction and commercial cases.

Work highlights

Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP has a history in Latin America’s oil and gas, and offshore sectors. It has a growing presence in renewables, along with additional growth in mining and LNG. It has had a pivotal role in the development of Brazil’s offshore oil and gas sector. Brian Bradshaw is a fluent Spanish and Portuguese speaker and has extensive experience in oil and gas, LNG and power - especially in Brazil. Chile is another key market for the firm. Timothy Chandler is another fluent Portuguese speaker and is noted for oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure transactions in Brazil.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs is noted for oil and gas, and chemicals transactions - particularly in Brazil. The Houston-based team is also building its presence in energy transition (including wind and solar) and technology matters. Paula Galhardo is licensed to practice in Brazil and has close-links to Brazilian businesses; she is regional counsel for two chemicals companies and has also advised Brazilian companies on their expansions into the US, Europe and Asia. She works closely with colleagues in Miami, Cleveland and also the California offices for data privacy matters. Cássio Braga Arantes  has joined Shell.

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP has an extensive record in energy and infrastructure projects, along with international arbitration in Latin America. The firm’s wide ranging projects practice in the region has broadened out from one that primarily focused on Mexico and has also moved beyond its traditional forte of upstream oil and gas. It now encompasses data centre developments and fibre optic cables, toll road concessions in Colombia, green hydrogen projects in Chile and production facilities in Mexico. The Houston team is also recognised for LNG and regasification projects. Energy transactions and projects partner Alan Alexander has a significant focus on the Latin American region. In international arbitration, the firm also has a fine record in Latin America, particularly in the construction and energy fields. Led by James Loftis, who splits his time between Houston and the Middle East (where he is managing partner of the Dubai office), the Houston team also includes Latin America specialist counsel Peter Danysh and counsel Timothy Tyler. All three are part of a wider team that continue to represent the Panama Canal Authority in arbitrations connected to the Panama Canal extension project. The international arbitration team is also active in LNG and natural gas disputes in Latin America.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP’s Houston office houses one of the leading Latin America-focused M&A teams in the market and has a significant share of M&A transactions in the region. Rodrigo Dominguez and William Parish are amongst the leading names in Latin America M&A, having advised on some of the largest strategic and private equity transactions in the region; both have worked in Latin America M&A for over 20 years. Much of their work is related to oil and gas, LNG, renewables, mining and industrial real estate, with Brazil, Mexico and Chile key jurisdictions in which the pair are active. Technology - especially fintech - is another growth area for the Houston team. Elected to the partnership in 2022, Emilio Grandío is an emerging talent, particularly in private equity investments in Latin America. Luisa Muskus impresses at associate level.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP has a fast-growing Latin America practice, primarily in New York and Miami, but with additional expertise in Houston. The team there is largely known for energy transactions and projects, along with disputes. The group represents a number of Latin American energy companies with Mike Blankenship noted for energy transactions across the Americas, as is Chris Ferazzi.  Paula Hinton is an experienced figure in oil and gas disputes, and Michael Murphy is another litigator with experience in Latin America cases.

Womble Bond Dickinson

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Houston office has major links to Latin America. The office has a presence in energy (including oil and gas), infrastructure, mining and natural resources, and demonstrates particularly extensive experience in oil and gas supply agreements, acquisitions, equity investments, restructurings and project finance. José Luis Vittor leads the Latin America practice and the oil and gas group. Francisco Balduzzi is another experienced figure in energy and infrastructure M&A. Both are Argentine-qualified and registered as foreign legal consultants with the Texas State Bar.