2020 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
In 2019, Galicia unveiled a new logo and website designed to encapsulate some of its key trademarks: a young-yet-established frontrunner in the Mexican market that prioritises a truly collaborative culture. The new look is the latest move by a firm that clearly thinks carefully about its future and how it wants to get there.
This is one of Mexico’s leading transactional firms, with a large team of lawyers who are at ease working on multi-jurisdictional, multibillion-dollar deals. Galicia is at a competitive advantage when it comes to complex transactional work and its lawyers regularly attract high-profile clients, due in no small part to the bulk of them having honed their skills at leading New York firms. Partners here can accurately be described as true leaders in their fields.
Galicia has gone to great lengths to accompany its transactional paramountcy with solid regulatory and contentious practices. In early 2020, it promoted lawyers to partner level in its energy and infrastructure, international trade and tax litigation groups. This came shortly after the hire of a tax controversy partner who is the former deputy chair of Mexico’s tax ombudsman agency. Other non-transactional services covered include labour, environment, antitrust and real estate. Galicia views investment in these practice areas as important steps towards maintaining its competitive edge. Alongside this, the firm continues to invest in its transactional practice areas, making two counsel appointments in the banking and finance group in 2019.
At this firm’s helm is the forward-thinking Manuel Galicia, who has made considerable efforts to make the firm a cohesive institution and an attractive place for Mexico’s finest young lawyers to work. A large part of this effort has centred on enhancing the firm’s internal structures. The firm’s corporate governance overhaul means its leadership rests with its managing partner, executive committee and a partners meeting, as well as drawing support from various committees on management and professional strategy. The latter are tasked with spearheading important areas of focus, like talent management and business development, as well as sustainability and diversity and inclusion.
Collaboration is at the centre of this firm’s structure and is underscored by an adjusted lockstep compensation formula. The firm’s leaders believe strongly in the value of this system, even more so given Mexico’s current economic contraction. The compensation formula ensures collaboration at a time when market uncertainty could otherwise push lawyers to be more individualistic. Associates have formalised career plans and there is a mentoring programme – now in its second edition – as well as a flexible working initiative. Genuine effort has been made to make this a pleasant place to work, such as through wellbeing and empowerment programmes. It is also worth noting that six of Galicia’s practice areas are led or co-led by women.
Galicia grew its headcount in 2019. Part of this growth comes from the Monterrey office, which Galicia has plans to double in headcount in the near future. The firm is a strong believer that it is important to maintain a strong following of Mexican clients, which has led it to expand its presence in Mexico’s industrial heartland. One of the firm’s local clients speaks favourably of their experience working here. “The level of expertise of their counsels is remarkable; attorneys at the firm are business-oriented and reliable,” he sums up.
Alongside its Mexico City HQ, the firm has a growing office in Monterrey. The firm operates an exchange programme whereby associates complete stints at both offices, in a bid to foster close integration between the two.
Galicia picks up a very healthy share of work from the biggest corporates in Latin America. According to a study, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, Galicia is counsel to just under 10% of the region’s largest companies. It is one of the top four most popular firms in Mexico among the region’s biggest corporates, like AT&T. While the international contingent of its client base is large, Galicia has not neglected its local following, which includes Grupo México and Grupo Bimbo. Citibank, Santander, BBVA and HSBC are banking sector clients. Private equity groups loom large and include foreign names BlackRock and Actis.
Firm managing partner Manuel Galicia stands out in the Mexican market for his commitment to bolstering the firm’s institutional structure. Joining him in the executive committee are José Visoso, Christian Lippert, Alejandro de la Borbolla and Guillermo Pérez Santiago. The firm has signed off a succession plan that will see Galicia move to a chairman role in two years’ time, when a new managing partner will be appointed.