Galicia Abogados has earned its place among the Mexican elite by combining exceptional transactional excellence with unique regulatory and litigation flair. Meanwhile, the firm’s tried and tested collaborative approach makes it a multidisciplinary force to be reckoned with. A penchant for collaboration has provided Galicia with the enviable ability to come together in times of crisis; the firm can weather even the most fractious political and socioeconomic storms, notwithstanding Mexico’s current administration, which has often been the source of heightened market uncertainty. Meanwhile, the outfit has continued to prosper amid economic repercussions from the ongoing global health emergency. Clients are put at ease knowing that Galicia can help them navigate new and unsettling scenarios, and the firm’s close relationship with big-name companies on its roster ensures a steady stream of work even when times are tough. It thus comes as no surprise that the firm has just concluded one of its busiest and most successful periods for deal-making.
Galicia’s sizeable team includes seasoned dealmakers that have countless multi-jurisdictional, multibillion-dollar deals under their belt. As trends ebb and flow, partners of this firm can easily bend to the wind to secure cases in areas where work is most concentrated. For example, when President Andrés López Obrador pushed for highly contested energy reforms in 2022, the firm’s usually busy transactional practice coordinated work with the energy and litigation groups as needed. The firm has no problem winning a place on big-ticket and highly relevant transactions from its illustrious client list, which includes state-owned oil group Pemex, local retailer Grupo Bimbo and US telecoms company AT&T, among others. Several of the firm’s lawyers have backgrounds at leading New York law firms, making attracting top-tier clients an easy feat for Galicia’s highly qualified lawyers. A recent study, 'Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Companies', conducted by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, found that Galicia is the most popular choice for legal counsel among Latin America’s largest 100 companies. The firm also placed well in LACCA’s 'Who Represents Latin America’s Biggest Banks', where it was recognised as counsel to top Latin American banking institutions Itaú Unibanco, BBVA, Santander and Banorte, among others.
Galicia has institutionalised its formula of transactional prowess combined with solid regulatory and contentious practices. And it has to be said that the firm has gained relative success through this approach, which allows it to fill up practice areas where transactions have slowed – such as energy – with regulatory and disputes work. Litigation is one of the firm’s fastest-growing areas, thanks to a spike in cases where parties are challenging the government’s contentious economic decisions. Complementing Galicia’s regulatory and transactional foundation are the specialised offerings that it counts in its counter-cyclical practices, where the firm has taken great care to hone expertise in relevant sectors of the economy, such as fintech, real estate, healthcare, infrastructure and life sciences, among others. These areas have been refreshed with new talent through partner promotions and hires in 2021 and 2022 through partnership expansions in the antitrust, labour, litigation and regulatory areas. Headcount at the junior level in those departments continues to grow to ensure the firm is firing on all cylinders.
Since the launch of its multidisciplinary environmental, social and governance (ESG) practice in 2021, the firm has noted a commendable uptake from clients, with listed Mexican companies seeking compliance advice on their sustainability policies. Meanwhile, the firm continues to sharpen its focus in non-transactional areas that see the highest concentration of work, such as labour and technology. The unrelenting popularity of fintech and start-up transactions has supplied plenty of work to the latter area, which is another strong multidisciplinary arm of the firm. Galicia has also continued to build up its labour litigation expertise in line with rising demand for regulatory work following the covid-19 pandemic. A reform that prohibited the outsourcing of work also kept the labour department busy, with some support from the corporate and tax areas.
The firm reached a milestone in 2022 when name partner and eminent figure Manuel Galicia announced he would be stepping down as managing partner after 27 years in the hot seat. He passed the baton to co-managing partners José Visoso and Christian Lippert, who were elected to lead the firm together in an equity partner vote. Manuel Galicia is revered highly for his outstanding accomplishments throughout his leadership, which include introducing one of Mexico’s first-ever modified lockstep compensation systems and institutionalising a law firm with a truly forward-looking approach. Galicia continues to oversee decision-making at the firm as chairperson of the executive committee and remains an influential voice in the firm. The changeover, however, demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the succession of partners that have made significant contributions to the organisation over the years, as well as promoting the organic growth within the office. It also testifies to Galicia’s commendable awareness that the firm must evolve and grow with the times rather than staying in the past.
In the recent management reshuffle, partner and environmental law head Mariana Herrero was also appointed as the first female member of the firm’s executive committee, demonstrating the important steps the firm is taking towards diversity and inclusion.
Meanwhile, enhancing the firm’s internal diversity structure has been a key point on Galicia’s agenda for many years. It recently introduced a 30-day parental leave for male partners, one of many initiatives that the outfit has introduced to promote a more equal and flexible working culture. Efforts such as these are fundamental to talent retention at the firm, with diversity increasingly becoming a requisite rather than a benefit for young lawyers scouring the job market. The firm’s leadership is coordinated through the co-managing partners, an executive committee and a partner’s meeting, following an overhaul of its corporate governance strategy that took place a few years ago. Galicia’s four-step business continuity plan is scrupulous but, most importantly, puts staff well-being front and centre, which has contributed to the many successes in its playbook.
An adjusted lockstep compensation model underscores Galicia’s collaboration-oriented structure. Associates have formalised career plans and there is a mentoring programme, as well as a flexible working initiative. The firm successfully shifted to hybrid working following the covid-19 pandemic and partners continue to reap the benefits of Galicia’s investment in high-tech innovation. In addition, the firm encourages associates to gain experience abroad, with lawyers recently stationed in law firms in the US, France, Spain and Brazil, while many have LLMs from leading international institutions. Genuine efforts have been made to make Galicia an enjoyable place to work, with staff well-being taking priority. It is also worth noting that women lead a sizeable portion of Galicia’s practice areas.
Alongside its Mexico City base, the firm has a growing office in Monterrey.
José Visoso and Christian Lippert jointly lead the firm as co-managing partners after Manuel Galicia stepped back from his managerial duties at the end of 2021. Manuel Galicia now sits on the executive committee as chair alongside fellow members Alejandro de la Borbolla and Guillermo Pérez Santiago, who were re-elected in 2021 to sit alongside Visoso and Lippert. Mariana Herrero is the first female member of the committee.