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This Special Report covers 26 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Mexico.

Mexico In Brief

Despite remaining a major world economy, Mexico’s GDP fell by nearly 20 per cent between 2014 and 2016. Currently, it’s at the lowest it has been since 2009, at the nadir of the financial crisis. However, amid the other major national events – including a powerful earthquake that left more than 350 dead, and the dramatic shift in foreign policy towards Mexico by its neighbour, the US – there are signs that the economy may be turning a corner. Sixteen consecutive quarters of growth, as well as encouraging employment figures, are causing some optimism among legal practitioners, who told us of “continuous interest from lenders” as well as “a lot of new projects” in areas such as energy and franchising.

However, much of this progress may mean little if the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been such a boon to the Mexican economy in the nearly 24 years since its introduction, fails to result in a good deal for Mexico. Negotiations became “bogged down” and “hit a wall” in November 2017, according to Reuters, leading to doubts about how much progress will be made before the looming Mexican general election in July 2018. Sources reported “a lot of uncertainty” across various legal markets, from construction to labour and employment. Nevertheless, one trade lawyer told us that “negotiations will be tough but good for all of us, and will lead to stronger commerce between the parties [to NAFTA]”. However, the result of the presidential election could lead to further difficulties for the smooth passage of NAFTA. The current leader in the polls, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, were he to be elected, would likely not take tough US rhetoric lying down – something that could lead to continued heightened tensions with President Trump.

One result of the upcoming presidential election is a fairly quiet legal market. One corporate immigration practitioner told us that, unlike across the border in the US, “The landscape in Mexico is very tranquil and I expect it to stay like that,” adding that “the government will not make any changes” so close to the election. Sources also commented that they expect a slowdown in infrastructure projects while the outcome remains uncertain, although there is hope that the green shoots in the economy will lead to greater investment in such projects in the longer term.

There are, however, a number of discrete issues affecting individual practice areas which are keeping lawyers busy at the moment. In the corporate tax field, “big changes” to transfer-pricing rules have “changed substantially the way we do the work” according to one lawyer, who noted, “We now need to be more aware of the substance of transactions and be able to prove what is really going on.” This is leading to “lots of activity” and an increased number of disputes. Meanwhile, in competition law, the cartel leniency programme – described as “the most important tool in combating anticompetitive cartel activity” – has come under threat, after two recent cases in which leniency bids were revoked and major fines imposed. These decisions have resulted in much criticism from lawyers in the area, who cite in particular the unclear reasoning given for the revocation decisions and the potential deterrence for future leniency applicants.

Any uncertainty in the Mexican economy does not seem to be deterring new entrants to the legal market. “We are seeing a lot of foreign firms opening branches in Mexico and a lot of new competitors in the area,” said one lawyer. In the past year, Clyde & Co and Cuatrecasas have joined the likes of Jones Day, Hogan Lovells and DLA Piper in opening offices in Mexico City, although the presence of foreign firms operating in Mexico is far from a recent phenomenon. And in areas such as labour and employment, boutique firms are still major competitors in a highly competitive market, described by one lawyer as a “shark fight”; meanwhile, it is also “pretty ferocious” in the infrastructure and project finance sector.

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Despite the continuing presence of major international firms in the market, the leading firms in the region in our listings remain predominantly Mexican. Only five non-Mexican firms feature in the top 20 firms this year by number of listings. That said, for the first time in our research a non-Mexican firm, Hogan Lovells, has made it into our top five firms – its 21 listings fourth only to major players Ritch Mueller Heather y Nicolau, Basham Ringe y Correa and Galicia Abogados, and up substantially from its 15 listings last year. Baker McKenzie, the only other international firm with more than 10 listings, is also up to 12 listings from 10 last year. The dominance of the local firms is still evident from these figures, but it is telling that international firms do seem to be increasing their presence year on year. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen.

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Analysis: Mexico

Mexico: Administrative Litigation 2018

In this chapter we highlight 19 administrative litigators for their expertise in public law. The lawyers listed come highly recommended by the market for their representation of corporate clients throughout their dealings with public authorities. 

Mexico: Arbitration 2018

In this chapter we highlight 23 leading lawyers with an established track record sitting as arbitrator or acting as counsel in commercial disputes. 

Mexico: Aviation 2018

We feature 11 prominent aviation practitioners in this chapter, including financial, regulatory and contentious lawyers, who handle a range of matters including aircraft purchase; leasing and financing; airport charges; alliances and competition law; and issues arising from major disasters.

Mexico: Banking 2018

The 36 practitioners listed here have been selected for their expertise in representing financial institutions and corporate clients in financial and regulatory matters. 

Mexico: Capital Markets 2018

Eight leading experts in debt, equity and structured finance matters are included here for their experience representing and advising issuers, investment banks and funds on capital markets transactions around the globe. 

Mexico: Commercial Litigation 2018

This year’s research sees 31 leading litigation specialists recognised for their exceptional work in the field.

Mexico: Competition 2018

This year, we highlight 21 leading competition lawyers for their extensive experience handling a wide range of matters including merger control matters, cartel investigations and abuse of dominance cases.

Mexico: Competition Economists 2018

We feature five competition economists in this chapter who stand out for their high-quality advice, analysis and testimonies in complex competition law matters, including M&A transactions and disputes concerning alleged exclusionary conduct. 

Mexico: Construction & Real Estate 2018

We highlight 17 leading practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their impressive work on a wide array of construction and real estate matters, including financing, public procurement, and regulatory and compliance issues in both the public and private sector.

Mexico: Corporate Immigration 2018

In this chapter we identify five leading corporate immigration practitioners who are highly regarded for their work assisting corporates with gaining permits and visas for skilled foreign workers.

Mexico: Corporate Tax 2018

This year, we highlight 35 leading lawyers who stand out for their exceptional advisory and contentious corporate tax work.

Mexico: Energy 2018

This year, our research identifies 18 leading practitioners who stand out for their top-tier work in the energy sector. Those highlighted boast a proven track record advising on a wealth of matters relating areas such as oil and gas, nuclear power, and renewables.

Mexico: Environment 2018

In this chapter, we recognise 13 leading environment practitioners for their expertise across a range of matters including regulation and compliance issues, transactional matters and risk management strategies.

Mexico: Franchise 2018

Six outstanding lawyers are identified in this chapter as leaders in the Mexican and international franchising market.

Mexico: Government Contracts 2018

We highlight seven practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their excellent work handling PPPs and concessions, bidding for government contracts and public procurement.

Mexico: Insurance & Reinsurance 2018

Our research has identified five exceptional insurance and reinsurance practitioners this year, who are highlighted in this chapter as a result of their outstanding work in the field.

Mexico: Intellectual Property 2018

We highlight 32 practitioners in this chapter who stand out as leaders in the intellectual property space in Mexico. The individuals featured are well versed in all aspects of IP law, including litigation, prosecution and the maintenance of global intellectual property portfolios.

Mexico: Labour & Employment 2018

We identify 30 pre-eminent practitioners in this chapter for their expertise in the field of labour and employment law.

Mexico: Life Sciences 2018

In this chapter, seven leading practitioners are highlighted for their exceptional patent litigation, transactional and regulatory expertise for domestic and international clients in the life sciences sector.

Mexico: M&A and Governance 2018

We highlight 35 standout practitioners in this chapter for their excellent work advising corporates on all legal aspects relating to M&A transactions, as well as advising corporate executives on governance issues.

Mexico: Mining 2018

In this edition we feature 14 standout mining experts, recognised for their work providing counsel and representation to prominent companies operating across the sector. 

Mexico: Private Equity 2018

This year’s research identifies five outstanding private equity lawyers who enjoy a superb reputation in the market for their expert counsel to financial institutions, funds, investors and private companies.  

Mexico: Project Finance 2018

We highlight 29 leading individuals in this chapter who stand out for their exceptional expertise in major public infrastructure projects as well as enterprises in the energy, hospitality and healthcare sectors.

Mexico: Restructuring & Insolvency 2018

Thirteen exceptional practitioners are listed in this chapter for their extensive expertise in the restructuring and insolvency arena.

Mexico: TMT 2018

This year we highlight 17 eminent lawyers with an impressive track record of representing telecoms and media, and information technology companies in regulatory matters, dispute resolution proceedings and M&A transactions. 

Mexico: Trade & Customs 2018

This year we recognised 18 eminent practitioners of trade and customs law, who come highly recommended by peers and clients alike for their expertise in international trade agreements, investigations, taxation and dispute resolution.  

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Firm Profiles: Mexico

2018: Leading Firms

We list over 150 law firms in WWL: Mexico 2018, from full-service offerings to boutique firms, demonstrating the breadth of expertise and variety of choice available to clients seeking representation in the country. However almost a third of all listings in this edition are earned by lawyers from just six standout firms, all of which are profiled below.  

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