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DLA Piper has kickstarted its launch in Latin America’s second largest economic hub by swiping the entire legal team from Thompson & Knight’s Mexico City office.
Tax partner Manuel Rajunov, projects partner Miguel de Erice, capital markets partner Guillermo Uribe and corporate partner Carlos Valencia will all be joining DLA Piper, it was confirmed today by a Thompson & Knight spokesperson.
Mexican lawyer Rajunov is currently based in Thompson & Knight’s Dallas office and it is believed that he will be moving to DLA Piper’s office in Dallas. Dallas-based of counsel Danya Duncan will also join Rajunov in Dallas.
Miguel de Erice, Guillermo Uribe and Carlos Valencia will all join DLA Piper’s new Mexico City office. Associate Tatiana Escribano will also join them as partner.
It is understood that Thompson & Knight’s entire Mexico City office, which includes 15 staff, will be moving to DLA Piper. The mass exodus follows the departure of labour partner Jorge de Presno to local firm Basham, Ringe y Correa earlier this month.
Thompson & Knight will continue to have an office in Monterrey, which is Mexico’s second largest city and another key hub for both local and international law firms. The Monterrey office currently has one partner, three associates and one of counsel. In March 2011, real estate partner Jorge de la Garza left the office for White & Case.
Thompson & Knight established its office in Monterrey almost 28 years ago. The Mexico City office was a much newer venture for the firm, having only established a presence there in 2006.
A spokesperson for Thompson & Knight commented: “The firm has a long-standing office in Monterrey and our strategy to expand to Mexico City was in line with the expected growth in the oil and gas industry. This growth has not happened and while we regret the losses, we recognise that our focus on energy, especially in terms of our international presence, has not been recognised in Mexico City.”
DLA Piper has already established a presence in other key Latin American hubs. In 2010, the firm opened an office in São Paulo in association with local firm Campos Mello Advogados. The firm also entered into a strategic agreement with Venezuelan firm InterJuris Abogados in February 2011, forming DLA Interjuris. At the same time, the firm launched an office in Miami, which has long acted as a gateway into Latin America. Venezuelan lawyers Juan José Delgado and Maria Cecilia Rachadell continue to split their time between DLA Piper’s Caracas and Miami offices.