DLA Piper is to merge with Mexico City-based firm Gallastegui y Lozano (GyL) as three existing partners and their team, including DLA’s Mexico City co-managing partner, leave for Baker & McKenzie.
Legacy Thompson & Knight partners Carlos Valencia and Tatiana Escribano have joined as partners in Baker & McKenzie’s corporate and M&A practice, along with real estate and infrastructure partner Miguel de Erice.
Valencia had been co-head of the Mexico City office with Manuel Rajunov, who will continue to head the office until the completion of the GyL merger, which is anticipated to go live in January 2015.
Meanwhile seven partners from GyL join Rajunov and fellow DLA partner Dania Duncan in Mexico City.
GyL’s Eduardo Gallastegui will assume the role of managing partner of the newly-named DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano when the newly combined firm goes live.
The Mexico City bolt-on will take the firm’s Mexico headcount to nine partners and more than 23 lawyers in total.
The seven partners joining from GyL are Gallastegui (business, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and M&A), Gerardo Lozano (banking, finance, arbitration and maritime law), Maria Eugenia Rios (M&A, corporate, real estate and finance), Jorge Benejam (M&A, healthcare, corporate and banking), Gabriela Alaña (real estate and finance), Marcelo Paramo (energy, oil and gas) and Cecilia Azar (arbitration and alternative dispute resolution).
The expansion of DLA’s Latin American presence is handled by the US side of the firm. DLA Americas co-chair Roger Meltzer said: “Expansion in Latin America continues to be an integral part of our global strategy and this is an important step in that process.”
DLA also has 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 (21 May 2010).
It 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’s Caracas and Miami offices.
Incoming office head Gallastegui said: “As a consequence of the interesting business opportunities to arise due to the strategic structural reforms recently enacted in our country, we’re looking forward to working together and making this combination a unique model for the practice of law in Mexico.”