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Mexico’s Legal Boom

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Rising foreign direct investment is giving a boost to Mexico's legal sector.

BY RONALD BUCHANAN

MEXICO CITY —  Foreign direct investment in Mexico from companies as disparate as Canadian gold miners and Indian IT outsourcers set a record $23 billion last year. The result, says Mexico City-based investment banker Fausto García, has been a sharp growth in business for law firms.

“Law firms involved in mergers and acquisitions have been doing very well lately,” says García, whose FGA investment bank has sealed some $2.1 billion of M&A deals in recent years.

Not only Mexican law firms are doing well. Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski, with 60 years of experience in Latin America, facilitated the $1.4 billion acquisition at end-2006 of the Mexican Grupo Villacero’s plants by the world’s leading steel producer, Luxembourg-based Arcelor Mittal.

And change is afoot within the Mexican legal business itself as the dominance of traditional full-service firms faces a growing challenge from legal “boutiques” offering specialized services.

Unlike other U.S.-based international law firms -- such as White & Case and Haynes & Boone -- Fulbright has no offices in Mexico, says Laura McMahon, a Fulbright partner who co-chairs the firms Latin America Practice Group. “We’ve thought about opening an office in Mexico from time to time, but so far we haven’t found it necessary,” she says.

Besides its own depth of regional expertise, Fulbright regularly works in...



Keywords: Buchanan Abogados, Creel García-Cuéllar y Müggenburg, Cuatrecasas, Mexico Legal Group, NAFTA, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

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