I just read the post from @JohnGrimley “Lawyers rush to win new work from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).” It just makes you wonder of the future of lawyers in Mexico.
TPP will free the major trade zone of the world with over 40% of global economy, and excluding China, for now. Mexican Ministry of Economy promised to release public versions of TPP for public discussion on November. TPP is set to discussion by Senate during Q2-2016 for approval or rejection.
Fine print is still unknown, so is not possible to learn if will open legal services market in the region, as it has happened in some Asian countries. It happened with NAFTA, partially.
The key items to watch for Mexican lawyers are: Licensing and bar requirements to practice law, dispute resolution on investments, will lawyers be uberized and if Mexico will dimishing application of civil law system. Unquestionably, the debates and answers will put some pressure on big law and judicial system.
Now, Mexican lawyers have incentives to compete with other TPP firms. Is it time for a NewLaw strategy?
Advocacy Concept by tashatuvango / Bigstockphoto.com
FinTech revolution is happening around the world. While sound financial institutions are exploring business possibilities, the real deal is happening in the startup scene. Bitcoin is just one of them.
Beyond decentralizing payments system around the world, Bitcoin is set to aid several industries. Legal services are a growing niche.
Mifiel is a Guadalajara-based initiative launched by the same team behind Volabit, a bitcoin transfers and exchange service in Mexican pesos. Mifiel allows Mexican people to use its electronic signature developed and supported by Mexican Ministry of Finance (FIEL) to sign any type of document.
Potential is clear for certification services, but in fact many other legal services could benefit. Namely e-discovery, M&As, contract management and judicial/administrative proceedings.
As NewLaw by non-lawyers is pushing traditional legal services to tech-driven law practices, Bitcoin could deliver the legal certainty for the rest of us.
The question is: Who will dare to become incumbent? Lawyers or Non-Lawyers.
Photo credit: Close Up 3D Illustration Of Paneled Golden Bitcoins by mdorottya / http://www.bigstockphoto.com
During 2013 and 2014, Mexico pushed estructural reforms on several sectors: Energy, telecoms, financial system, and many others. These reforms are building conditions for Mexico to attract investors, and of course, corporate law have been needing a revamp for years.
Right now, Senate is discussing an amendment to corporation law to give the ultimate flexibility to limited liability corporations (SRL), as investment vehicles. If approved, SRLs could be incorporated and liquidated using a new electronic system, which would be connected to the Registry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance, charge free.
On the other side, the House of Representatives is discussing another amendments to corporations law to reduce number of stockholders from SRLs, i.e. create sole proprietorships. For over a decade, legislators have opposed to that amendment, under the argument of preserving our roman law tradition of affectio societatis (will to associate).
If implemented right, the new flexibility offered by SRLs could open seed rounds to early stage startups, along with a stand-by robust corporate control ready to be triggered, if success happens.
Times are changing, and the world is full of tiny entrepreneurs. No jobs, all the opportunities. If Mexico wants to land them, this tiny reform to corporations must be a tree from a big deregulation forest to see.
Photo credit: Making Money – Conceptual – Table saw cutting dollar signs – 3d render with motion blur and selective focus by JohanSwanepoel / Bigstock.com
2014 is done. Business in Mexico was quite active in response to reforms in progress by Peña Nieto Administration. Some industries like energy, telecom, antitrust and financial services are on the spotlight, but all together with education, tax and judicial pretend to set a backbone for a new Mexican economy. Of course, foreign investment caps were reduced in some areas.
Mexico kept investment attraction with its free trade strategy, some governments with remarkable interest were UK, China, Japan, Singapore, California and Los Angeles. This strategy was fueled by negotiation efforts with the Pacific Alliance and TPP, and efforts to integrate more with the US.
Most of the attention was attracted to oil and gas, the Mexican Eagle Ford, the solar potential and the liberalization of clean energies, and the moves of related industries to the opportunities. Here is a summary of the energy reform to see the big picture.
Telecoms was another industry that was shaken by the reforms. Historic reform indeed, specially on broadcasting. Reform tried to set fair market conditions for everyone, and some were taken to court. Regulator learned the high cost of constitutional autonomy. All these changes deserved an ethical hacking on the new telecom law and regulation, specially on three hot topics: Telmex on TV, the arrival of Virgin Mobile and telecom antitrust.
Sectors like automotive and manufacturing grew strong during 2014, as expected. Aerospace is now following that path. Mexico is living a manufacturing momentum and if combined with R&D, could take it to the next level: a technology hub. During 2014, the Government announced a $590 Bn infrastructure plan, which is expected to boost in 2015.
The business opportunities are creating great expectations around the services industries. Lawyers, among other services firms, are moving to Mexico. Some of them under new law business models, as the global law industry is being shaken. Mexican legal market will have a very different landscape at the end of 2015. Quite diverse if new law moves from experimentation to business phase.
2015 is expected to be great for Mexico and those who believe in this momentum. Have you found an opportunity yet?
Hogan Lovells acqui-entry over Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa last August 1 was the most clear landmark announcing a lateral hirings wave from US Law Firms to enter Mexican legal market. US Law firms are looking to keep company to their clients when taking advantage from Mexico´s reforms.
Now, DLA Piper expanded its local office by merging almost all members of Gallastegui y Lozano. Baker & McKenzie Mexico took in two former G&L lawyers. ManattJones Global Strategies, a consulting subsidiary for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP just opened a Monterrey Office.
On the other hand, Garrigues, the biggest European Law Firm, seems will take an organic growth approach. It is only privy to its inner circle whether Garrigues has the ability to secure its pipeline at the Pacific Alliance. Here is an interview with Fernando Vives, its CEO, for America Economia that could bring on some hints on its Mexico strategy.
Mexico regulates legal market at level of individual lawyer, mostly. Partnerships, bars, financing, trusts, investments and collaboration rules are mostly unregulated. In broad terms, practicing lawyers need a Government license and comply with general rules for services companies, foreign investment caps and special rules for money laundry and client-lawyer obligations.
This low level of regulation has opened doors for Big Four, accounting firms and consulting firms to break into the legal market decades ago. UK and Asia are now opening doors for Big Four into legal market.
It is too early to know the outcome of the recent reforms, and how legal services will be developed around them. However, Mexico has a high level of globalization, global integration of the chain of value of legal services and low barriers to enter that market.
Then, one thing is certain, it is time for a pivot called New Law.
Photo credit: The Angel of Independence (Victory column) over Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City, Mexico by AarStudio / bigstock.com