Von Wobeser y Sierra SC is instantly recognised in the international arbitration community thanks to the reputation of its founding partner, Claus Von Wobeser. It also fields a strong corporate team and is possibly the only law firm in Mexico with a finely balanced strength in both areas, making it well served to assist companies with the most challenging legal matters. The firm’s diversification, and its undeniable strength in counter-cyclical practice areas, most notably in disputes, has helped contribute towards a successful 2020.
The corporate offering features a team of energetic and knowledgeable young partners who assist clients in complex, strategic work that is often multidisciplinary. There is also a leading antitrust team, as well as respectable offerings in several other areas, including, tax, environment, energy and labour, intellectual property and trade.
Von Wobeser has a client base stretching across multiple industries. The firm counts loyal, long-term clients who admire a trusted team of advisers. Of late the firm has attracted high-profile Brazilian clients, including Ambev and Lojas Americanas. Its core clients include Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo (which turns here for corporate and M&A as well as disputes advice). Modelo’s parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev is also a headline client. BMW is another key client, as is Mexican gas distributor IEnova and construction company ICA. Von Wobeser’s client list is strongly linked to Europe, and particularly Germany. Von Wobeser y Sierra places great emphasis on having "clients for life" and some have been on its books since its inception.
Plenty of partners here are already well-recognised in their field, but this is something Von Wobeser hopes to build on in the coming years. It is making it a priority that younger lawyers – the future leaders of the firm – get more exposure abroad. The firm regularly sends lawyers to study or work abroad. In 2020 three lawyers began Master of Laws courses in the UK, US and France respectively.
Von Wobeser’s partners have been thinking carefully about succession. The firm has called upon external advisors to help it upgrade its business model. This has involved decentralising decision-making and moving responsibility for running the firm from its founder to a management committee. Another part of the plan has been to move towards a more industry-focus approach to work. The firm has hired an operations director to ensure the implementation of this plan runs smoothly.
At senior level, Von Wobeser had historically preferred organic growth. That changed in 2021 when the firm recruited the former vice president of legal and corporate affairs at brewing company Grupo Modelo as partner and co-head of the M&A practice group – marking its first-ever lateral partner hire. One of the core responsibilities of the new arrival will be to spearhead the firm’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) practice group, which launched in August 2021. Von Wobeser reports that is one of the first Mexican law firms to launch a fully integrated practice group to provide legal services to its clients with an ESG perspective.
A year prior, the firm had enlisted Mexico’s first female member of the Supreme Court's National Judiciary Council as of counsel. Also in 2020, it promoted two lawyers to partners, boosting the intellectual property and capital markets practice areas. There was another round of promotions in 2021 when Von Wobeser strengthened its corporate and M&A, disputes, antitrust and energy departments with two partners and five counsel.
The firm’s ongoing commitment to digital transformation was accelerated in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. Von Wobeser invested heavily in technology, such as AI tools, project management tools, communication platforms and knowledge sharing tools.
The firm has a diversity committee. Its efforts are supported by the good dialogue that exists here between partners and younger lawyers and led to the recognition of the firm as ‘LGBT Best Place to Work’, awarded by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation of Mexico. Von Wobeser is also a signatory of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge launched in 2016 in London to support women who practice arbitration.
In addition, several of the firm’s lawyers and administrative staff (more than 10% of the firm) are mentoring LGBTQ immigrants that need assistance in Mexico to find a career or job that suits their skills and needs. The firm’s work is part of an initiative created by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Tent Partnership for Refugees, to mobilise the business community in support of LGBTQ refugees.
Alliances & networks
Von Wobeser y Sierra is a member of ALFA International, a global network of law firms.