According to government estimates, the Central American Free Trade Agreement should by 2014 spur an additional $2.5 billion in annual sales in California alone. The agreement, reached last year between the United States, the Dominican Republic and five Central American countries, creates the 10th largest U.S. export market.

That has lawyers in Central America, as well as California, anticipating closer economic ties with heightened interest. As barriers to trade and investments break down and rules become more established, the resulting economic activity is expected to throw off plenty of legal work, both inbound to the United States and outbound to its southern neighbors.