Mexico City. Photo Caption: Shutterstock.com

Mayer Brown has picked up a three-attorney team from White & Case in Mexico City led by transactional partner Raúl Fernández-Briseño.

“I’m very excited to join Mayer Brown,” said Fernández-Briseño, who joins the firm as a corporate and securities partner after nearly two decades at White & Case.

A Mexico City native, Fernández-Briseño joined White & Case in 1999 and made partner at the global legal giant in 2012. His practice focuses on M&A transactions and financings, particularly in the aviation, private equity and telecommunications industries. He also has worked extensively on shareholders arrangements, corporate disputes and takeovers, as well as complex structured financings and regulatory issues across several industries.

Fernández-Briseño said his move to Mayer Brown, which has also hired two associates from White & Case in Mexico City, gives him the ability to participate in large and complex transactions for his clients on a different scale.

Raúl Fernández-Briseño.

“I think the Mayer Brown platform gives me exactly the space to develop my practice in Mexico, Latin America and in the [United States]” Fernández-Briseño said.

He noted that the legal market in Mexico City has been exceptionally competitive over the last seven-to-eight years. Large U.S. and European firms have moved into the city looking to capitalize on a wave of deregulation in some of Mexico’s top industries, such as oil and gas.

Mayer Brown first made the move to Mexico City in 2015, joining other large firms such as Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, Holland & Knight and Jones Day in the so-called distrito federal.

“At the same time, you have these [older] local law firms that are becoming more and more institutional every day,” Fernández-Briseño said. “So they are competing among themselves for the best talent and for the best transactions.”

And while working for another Am Law 100 firm in Mexico City still carries with it the same amount of expected quality and expertise, there are some nuances.

“As you can imagine there are certain differences not in the level of quality, but in the way we do things,” Fernández-Briseño said.

Lawyers and law firms are much closer to their clients and oftentimes have long-standing relationships with owners of different operations, he noted.

“The market and industries are smaller than the markets and industries in the United States, so it’s easier to have a nexus to the owners of the company,” said Fernández-Briseño, whose team brings the total number of lawyers in Mayer Brown’s Mexico City office to a dozen.

Mexico City, one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, has been a hotbed of lateral activity so far in 2018.

Last month, Holland & Knight hired Salvador Fonseca Gonzalez, Baker McKenzie’s head of litigation and arbitration in Mexico City. His addition came only a few months after Holland & Knight picked up a five-lawyer team from Jones Day that included high-profile dispute resolution partner Luis Rubio Barnetche.

Texas-based Gardere Wynne Sewell, which last month merged with Foley & Lardner, also bolstered its outpost in Mexico City by absorbing five-lawyer commercial arbitration and litigation boutique Bufete Hernandez Romo late last year.