González Calvillo stands out as a forward-thinking firm with a well-oiled full-service offering. Marking its 35th anniversary in 2022, the firm has fostered a culture of diversity and inclusivity within its offices while also taking measurable steps to ensure its staff genuinely enjoy working there. Collaboration is a must at the firm, and partners do not shy away from reassigning cases between departments when there is better-suited expertise.
The firm’s robust corporate and finance practices are highly regarded and complemented by flourishing non-transactional areas. At its core, González Calvillo prides itself as a dealmaking firm that focuses on building long-lasting relationships with clients and carefully conducting skilful negotiations. This goes down well with customers; companies that retain the firm often comment on the responsiveness of its lawyers as well as their committed and highly informed response. Investment in talent has been successful in keeping satisfaction rates at the firm high and attracting lawyers, something that is a top priority for the firm. Proof of this is that during the covid-19 pandemic, the firm ensured that none of their staff lost their employment due to the crisis.
The firm’s adept transactional team can effortlessly manoeuvre between finance, capital markets and M&A deals where needed. Corporate and finance capabilities are reinforced by a sturdy band of specialised lawyers with expertise in highly regulated industries such as oil and gas, power generation and telecoms. González Calvillo’s flexible office has the enviable ability to adapt to the times, and energy lawyers had no problem pivoting to investment protection and crisis management advice amid fallout from highly contested energy reforms put forward by the current administration. The firm houses robust litigation, environment, IP, antitrust, regulatory law and labour areas that respond to those circumstances with agility. González Calvillo’s litigation team, established nearly two decades ago, is particularly impressive for a firm that is transactionally focused. That has proved particularly helpful in recent times, with a rise in disputes from companies in industries that the government has attempted to overhaul. When it comes to dispute cases, firms tend to favour the same firms they relied on for transactional work, which plays into this Mexican outfit’s favour.
The firm tends to avoid expanding into new practice areas for the sake of it. Not having a tax consulting practice, for example, benefits the firm even more so, as it has allowed the firm to sustain its working relationships with local boutiques and professional services firms. On the contrary, González Calvillo has no qualms about expanding in industry sectors that are booming. Take fintech as an example; the firm’s offering here began as a few small attorneys and has grown into its own stand-alone practice area, capturing deals from a surge of transactions involving fintech and start-up companies on the market. Meanwhile, Google, Mastercard and Colombian start-up Rappi are just some examples of big tech names on the firm’s client roster.
González Calvillo reported record numbers of mandates in 2021 and 2022, despite the economic slowdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic and political tensions. The firm noted a particular spike in international dispute cases as litigation and arbitration matters against the current administration continued to pile up.
González Calvillo has worked hard to perfect its internal structure. It underwent comprehensive reorganisation only recently, consolidating its transition to a more collaborative approach within its corporate governance and implementing a compensation formula that encourages collegiality, stability and cohesion. The strategic change has been a success, and partners favour the equal and collaborative compensation system on offer. Decision-making is more equally shared throughout the firm since the changes too, with managing committees often responsible for key decisions previously made at the partners meeting. These changes reflect González Calvillo’s commitment to finding a balance between the interests of its older and younger partners and their respective roles in top-level decision-making. All of this is being done to make sure González Calvillo can hold on to the successful position it currently occupies in Mexico’s legal market for the long term.
González Calvillo has designs to strengthen its existing practice areas. The expansion of the firm’s regulatory side of its banking and finance practice area, with a particular focus on fintech, has been a success. Meanwhile, the outfit has been honing life science expertise – a spin-off from other relevant areas of the firm. Foreign trade and customs is an area with increasing activity too.
Championing the interests of its hardworking and talented associate base is a top priority for González Calvillo. Primarily, it wants to maintain a working culture that underpins core values such as integrity, fairness and transparency. During the pandemic, the firm went the extra mile to ensure its team was supported as remote working became the norm in the global health emergency, providing top-of-the-range technology and compliance software. When the time came to reopen the office, the firm ensured its lawyers were equipped there too. The establishment of a talent committee has ensured that González Calvillo maintains a keen eye on what up-and-coming lawyers at the firm value the most. The implementation of an internal policy to call on external consulting advice to identify, analyse and prevent psychosocial risks at the firm testifies to the firm’s level of care and commitment to its people.
The launch of its diversity and inclusion forum in 2021 was a milestone that has helped institutionalise gender equality and parity objectives within the firm. Through the forum, the firm introduced its first virtual coffee mornings initiative, which links female members of the firm to women at the top of the career ladder for professional advice. The forum hosts safe space sessions where female employees at the firm can openly discuss their experiences and voice any concerns. Among many other initiatives linked to the forum, González Calvillo has tied up with gender diversity organisations AbogadasMX and the United Nations. The firm will now report back to those organisations for the first time on how much progress it has made in meeting the minimum standards for gender diversity. González Calvillo really shines through as a firm that is serious about committing to diversity and inclusion at the firm on a level that goes above what is standard for this part of the region. In 2021, it won Latin Lawyer’s Diversity Initiative of the Year Award for its work here.
Among other efforts the firm has made to foster a strong internal culture, its recently established pro bono committee has seen it carry out some meaningful initiatives and is something that has helped boost its relationships with local clearinghouses.
González Calvillo recognises the development of its staff through regular promotions: the firm kicked off 2022 by promoting two associates to partner in the labour and intellectual property areas, while two others were made counsel in the administrative and employment areas too.
González Calvillo has well-established relations with prestigious international law firms and every year sends several associates on placement at top firms. The firm sticks by this initiative, which makes for well-rounded and highly educated talent at the firm. It is also an example of the opportunities it provides its legal team in Mexico – allowing them to train in larger and more fast-moving markets offers them training that is not accessible in Mexico. It is commendable how the firm looks outward for ways to grow its inner strength; González Calvillo was instrumental in the founding of the Brazil-Mexico Business Council in 2019, a bilateral agreement between the governments of Brazil and Mexico, and includes some of those countries’ most prestigious companies.
González Calvillo concentrates a large portion of its big-name clients across three key industries: fintech, technology and infrastructure. Google, Mastercard and Rappi are examples of customers from the former two. The firm represents a strong showing of natural resources players. Chevron and US petroleum company Andeavor are both core clients here, while Pemex and Grupo Enel also feature. The firm’s clients come from a broad range of sectors and include Australian private equity investor IFM, science conglomerate DuPont and German manufacturer Siemens. The firm also represents many of Mexico’s biggest companies; along with Pemex, it is also familiar counsel to Grupo México and América Móvil.
Jorge Mondragón and José Ignacio Rivero are the co-managing partners and work with an executive committee that, as of February 2022, includes Diana Pineda, Edgar Grajeda, José Victor Torres, Pablo Hooper and Rodrigo Rojas. The executive committee is elected every two years.