The Honduran legal market remains dominated by Central American law firms. Nine out of the 13 firms listed in this chapter are members of regional platforms covering the majority of the countries in Central America and sometimes beyond that. This now includes Alta Melara & Asociados, a previously independent firm that hopped aboard the regionalisation train in 2021, launching legal outfit Alta together with peers in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala. There are significant advantages here to having an established Central American presence, not least because the majority of big-ticket transactional work in the country stems from cross-border mandates.
Beyond the regional outreach, at least half of the firms listed here have established outposts outside the capital Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula is the destination of choice. Some firms, such as intellectual property boutique Bufete Mejía & Asociados, can trace their roots to this important commercial centre.
Meanwhile, traditional transactional areas, such as corporate law as well as banking and finance, remain at the centre of these firms’ offerings. These mandates often involve cross-border work, underlining the need for Central American coverage.
Though the country’s relatively small economy in the region does not leave much room for larger headcounts (only two firms in this chapter field over 20 lawyers locally) and in-depth area specialisation, some of the larger firms here also capably provide competition, energy, and tax advice. There are also strong intellectual property boutiques while growing mandates in regulatory, white-collar crime and compliance are keeping the full-service firms busy too.
Years of corruption scandals involving the higher echelons of public life in Honduras, economic mismanagement and violence have contributed to market instability, and project development had slowed down substantially. The country also was severely affected by the pandemic and recent natural disasters, and its GDP contracted by 9 per cent in 2020. However, there is a glimmer of hope, and the economy is expected to rebound. In early 2022, Xiomara Castro, the country’s first-ever woman president, took office, bringing plans to tackle the country’s economic instability as well as combat corruption and inequality.