Firms Find Sunnier Prospects in Mexico
Posted Jan 15, 2009 4:28 PM CST
By Rachel M. Zahorsky
Are there business opportunities for U.S. law firms, just lurking in the neighborhood, south of the border?
Jones Day certainly thinks so. The firm is opening an office in Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world, with the acquisition of a “top tier” Mexican firm, reports legal blog Law Shucks. The acquisition of De Ovando y Martinez del Campo brings eight partners and 12 associates to the firm’s corporate transactions and real estate practices.
With a 2007 gross domestic product surpassing $1 trillion, Mexico is the world’s 13th-biggest economy and the U.S.'s third-largest trading partner behind Canada and China, according to the Jones Day press release.
This made Law Shucks wonder: Which other firms have operations in Mexico? Is the country a giant untapped legal reserve for expanding U.S. firms?
ABAJournal.com previously reported that Snell & Wilmer, an Arizona-based firm with 400+ attorneys, opened a small office in Los Cabos in October, becoming the first major U.S. firm to do so in the Baja California Sur state. And Adorno & Yoss, one of the largest minority-owned law firms in the U.S. with 305 lawyers, has a three-attorney office in Mexico, according to ABAJournal.com.
Law Shucks identified five other U.S. firms with offices in Mexico including: White & Case, which claims to be the first international firm to open a Mexico City office in 1991; Chadbourne & Parke; Holland & Knight; Curtis Mallet-Prevost & Mosle, which touts itself as one of the first international firms to open a branch office in Mexico City, which they did in 1991; and the ubiquitous Baker & McKenzie, which has seven offices there, including ones in Tijuana, Guadalajara and Cancun.
Jones Day managing partner Stephen J. Brogan says Mexico is “often overlooked in the commentary on the growing importance of the BRIC nations.” The trading ties between Mexico and its NAFTA constituents will only increase in the future, Brogan says, amplifying the importance of Mexico’s economy for the firm's clients.
Tell us in the comments: Will there be an influx of U.S. firms opening offices across the border in the next few years? And if not, why not?