Basham, Ringe y Correa stands out in the Mexican legal market for its size and its equally impressive longevity. Its breadth of service is also outstanding. Corporate, IP, labour, tax and litigation remain core practice areas while the firm’s diversification extends to industry groups – there are aerospace and automotive teams, while luxury brands benefit from Basham’s membership of a global luxury brands law firm network. Specific desks have been set up to target clients from countries investing heavily in Mexico, such as China, in recognition of the growing importance of looking to markets beyond the US.
Remarkably, Basham has clients that have been on its books since its inception, over 100 years ago. Founder Harvey Basham helped register The Coca-Cola Company brand in Mexico in 1903 and, after its formal incorporation, the firm established client relations with companies such as pharmaceutical group Colgate-Palmolive that endure to this day. Basham provides counsel to nine of Latin America’s approximately 100 biggest companies, according to the study, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies’, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer and draws clients from a good range of sectors, telecoms, retail, food and drink, agribusiness and the energy sector. Some of Basham’s core clients include US paint maker PPG Industries and hoteliers Hilton and Hyatt. Perhaps these enduring relationships are best explained by the firm’s ability to adapt to rapidly evolving client demands. It launched a mobile application in 2020, designed for clients and a range of other users, which provides an updated and interactive source of information on Mexican legislation.
The firm’s resilience is certainly remarkable: it has lived through two World Wars and the Mexican Revolution. Partners are therefore perhaps understandably optimistic for the firm’s prospects in 2021. They note that M&A activity is likely to pick up as the global economy recovers in response to an effort to vaccinate against covid-19. Keeping an eye on potential opportunities, the firm’s leaders highlight the entertainment sector, where growth was accelerated by stay-at-home orders as a way to control the pandemic. The firm has plans to develop a sports law practice and bolster its existing entertainment law capabilities (nestled within the IP practice group).
Part of Basham’s success lies in staffing its core departments with sufficiently large and specialist teams to take on multiple complex cases at once. The clearly structured groups work together, and the firm incentivises cross-practice communication to ensure a streamlined service offer. The fact that the firm’s executive committee is comprised of five partners from different practice areas, shows this multi-disciplinary vision emanates from the top.
Basham has invested in building strong offices in Monterrey and Querétaro. While the firm’s traditional client base is drawn from abroad, these offices are part of a strategy to build Basham’s client base by being close to local clients in the country’s industrial hubs.
Basham promoted four associates to the partnership in 2020 and added a partner from a rival firm in 2021 strengthening its labour, IP, tax, disputes and banking and finance offerings.
The firm’s executive committee, co-headed by Eduardo Kleinberg and Alejandro Catalá, are thinking carefully about how best to align lawyers more closely across ranks, to make the firm a more collaborative working environment. The firm has recently implemented a transparent career track, making it easier for associates to understand what is required to develop at the firm. In addition, associates are now playing a more active role in the firm’s committees. One of which is the diversity and inclusion committee, which was launched at the end of 2019. Several other management committees exist to assist the executive partners with various priority areas, including the offices outside Mexico City, technology and business development.
Basham has four offices in total, including one of the largest offices in Monterrey of any Mexico City firm, which is headed by the noted Carlos Velázquez de León. The Querétaro office, which now matches Monterrey’s in headcount, remains a success story under corporate partner Luis Luján. The outpost in León, Guanajuato, opened in 2018, is also headed by Luján. Mexico City is home to the firm's HQ and hosts the bulk of the firm’s partners.
Alliances & networks
Basham is a strong believer in using networks to build its international profile and belongs to some of the most recognised global networks. These include the Club de Abogados, Lex Mundi and the World Services Group (WSG). In September 2020, WSG appointed partner Jesús Colunga as a member of its board of directors for 2020-21. It is also part of the labour law network Ius Laboris and Luxury Law Alliance, a network of luxury brands and their legal teams.