Sánchez Devanny is a strong believer in having clear goals as the key to finding the best opportunities in challenging times. This approach has certainly been pertinent in 2020 – an exceptionally challenging year for Mexico and the world. Focus on institutionalisation and the strengthening of its core practice areas and industry groups top every strategic plan, while the firm carefully cultivates its top talent across three key markets: Mexico City, Monterrey and Querétaro.
Although the firm understandably made no later hires in 2020, it is noted for hiring former in-house counsel in the past. The firm’s leaders say this background makes its partners more financially savvy because they understand how clients plan their legal spending.
Corporate and M&A is the largest practice area at Sánchez Devanny, with eight partners. Trade (which was bolstered at the start of 2020 with the promotion of an associate to the partnership), labour and tax teams often work alongside corporate lawyers as part of a multidisciplinary offering. The firm was among the first in Mexico to start offering anti-corruption and compliance services and now has a well-established group. Real estate, intellectual property and energy are also strong areas. According to the firm, the latter practice group was active in 2020 while the IP team was boosted with the hire of a lawyer as of counsel.
Lawyers are also organised into several industry groups, of which the automotive industry is the biggest. Other growing industry groups are life sciences, fintech and retail and e-commerce. The firm also has an integrated practice group to assist family businesses with tax and other legal issues associated with their operations. Country specialisms are targeting German, Canadian and Japanese clients. The firm made particular efforts in 2020 to consolidate its Japanese desk.
Sánchez Devanny provides counsel to 6 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. These clients include Spain’s Telefónica, Chile’s CMPC and Mexico’s Arca Continental. The firm's core clients also come from the real estate, pharmaceuticals, automotive, retail and energy sectors.
The firm’s work receives praise from a range of clients. One from the automotive sector praises the “great attorneys”. While another client highlights the firm’s excellent service, its customer-oriented approach, its understanding of the industry and its willingness to adapt to new ways of billing.
Sánchez Devanny pays careful attention to its internal structure and is proud to have achieved gender parity in its compensation of professionals. The firm’s leadership keeps working on how to best develop talent including strategies to grow and keep female talent in the partnership. The firm sets aside a portion of its business development budget for female attorneys, to support their active involvement in gender diversity initiatives. The election of Turenna Ramírez Ortiz as its new managing partner in Mexico City, the first woman on the management committee, is a sign that the firm’s emphasis on gender diversity is producing results.
The firm’s clear-cut career development plans that evaluate associates on their leadership skills, financial returns, ethics, technical skills and emotional intelligence, are designed to be objective and free from bias.
Sánchez Devanny’s talent is spread between offices in Mexico City, Monterrey and Querétaro.