Doing legal business in Mexico
Mexico is ranked the 15th biggest economy in the world by GDP, according to the World Bank. It's ranked 10th by population size with just over 125 million inhabitants as of 2019. It is the largest Spanish speaking nation in the world.
Mexico City is the country’s capital and largest city by far, with around 9 million inhabitants, and up to 21 million in the wider metropolitan area. Ecatepec and Guadalajara are the second and third largest cities respectively, with around 1.5 million inhabitants.
Mexico’s reputation as a liberal market economy is reflected in its membership of the OECD and its ranking of 60 (of 190) in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index (as of 2019). It’s the highest ranking country in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, there are huge disparities in wealth and development across the country, with the OECD highlighting that 20% of the population lives in extreme poverty.
Mexico is a growing emerging market that offers significant investment opportunities for international companies in oil, gas, energy, extractives industries and agribusiness, automobiles, electronics and financial technologies.
Mexico is well placed to be a conduit into both the USA and other parts of Latin America. Heavily reliant on its relationship with the US, Mexico has been actively cultivating economic ties with the UK and Europe.
It is an open market for foreign law firms and US law firms have been present for decades, but recently law firms from the UK, Europe and China have entered the local market and more are expected to follow.
Practising in Mexico
Mexico offers an open market for foreign law firms, which can establish themselves under home title, practise international and home law and employ Mexican lawyers.
Qualifying as a lawyer in Mexico takes four to five years. Foreign lawyers cannot requalify using their existing experience, and must go through the same route as local lawyers.
Foreign lawyers can provide occasional services in Mexico, but only Mexican lawyers can appear in court and provide advice on Mexican law.
Regulation of lawyers is limited, as membership of Mexican bar associations is voluntary and there is no regulatory authority for the legal sector.