Left to right: Rogelio López Velarde, Dentons’ Mexico managing partner; Gregorio G. Canales, Dentons Lopez Velarde Monterrey managing partner and Jorge Alers, Dentons’ chief executive officer for Latin America and the Caribbean. ()
Dentons, which has made a big push into the Latin American and Caribbean markets in the past year, has expanded its web of verein-style partnerships to Monterrey, Mexico—a major industrial center that is home to a large number of the country’s national and international corporations.
The new office, which opened Monday, combines the Monterrey firm Canales Zambrano y Asociados with Mexico City’s Dentons López Velarde. The latter, launched last year, is a partnership between Dentons and the firm of Rogelio López Velarde. López Velarde is now managing partner of Dentons’ Mexico operations.
Jorge Alers, Dentons’ CEO for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Gregorio Canales, the new Monterrey managing partner, were friends back at Harvard Law School in 1986, when Alers was getting his law degree and Canales was getting his LLM. Over the years, the two friends discussed someday working for the same firm, and this finally became possible when Dentons expanded to Mexico last year. In addition to their personal connection, Canales and López Velarde have worked together professionally, collaborating on energy matters.
“Our paths have crossed through the years,” Canales said of his friendship with López Velarde. “But it was not until Dentons approached that things started to formalize. For us it’s a natural evolution.”
With the newly combined firm, the goal is to expand Dentons’ global reach and establish the López Velarde brand as a leading energy and infrastructure firm in the Mexico market, he said.
The Monterrey office, which in addition to Canales has four associates and two law clerks, will operate under the name Dentons López Velarde. Canales said that existing clients, after hearing that the Mexican firm had combined with an international firm, have already indicated they will be bringing more work to the firm. New clients have also expressed interest in the newly formed firm, he said.
The firm in Monterrey practices corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border financing and complex international transactions. But it specializes in energy, international trade, finance, maquiladora manufacturing and real estate.
Alers said Dentons’ ventures in Mexicoare going well. Mexico held another in a series of successful energy auctions last month and attorneys in that market have said legal work in the energy sector is expected to grow—both because of changes in the energy industry and anticipated changes in trade regulations between the United States and Mexico.
Separately, three attorneys from the Canadian firm BCF in Barbados have joined Dentons and have formed Dentons Barbados Attorneys-at-Law. Dentons is also in the process of formalizing its integration with Muñoz Global in Central America. The partners agreed last month to combine later this year, with Muñoz to serve Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Muñoz Global is a new firm formed by some of the founders of the established Arias & Muñoz firm.
Alers said the attorneys in Barbados had an established practice working with Canadians who do business in Barbados. One of them, Charles C. Gagnon, was previously with Dentons from 1995 to 2000. His practice focuses on the tax implications of reorganizations, immigration, acquisition and divestitures, as well as estate planning, international tax planning and other corporate structuring.
The other partners in Barbados are Rosalind Bynoe and Ruan Martinez. Bynoe advises on the startup of corporations, the re-domestication of companies, and all facets of corporate work and a broad range of labor and employment matters. Martinez represents a variety of businesses and financial institutions in connection with mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, financing, sales and purchases of businesses, business startups, and incorporation and licensing of offshore entities in Barbados.
Dentons also combined with Cardenas & Cardenas in Colombia last year. The firm is looking to grow even further in the region, although it does not have a fixed timetable, Alers said.
“We are actively involved in conversations with firms in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said. “We are focused on those countries that are most integrated into the global economy. Those firms are most in position to take advantage of Dentons’ platform.”