Fintech, tequila and ethics: English Law Week in Mexico

Adam Beach, associate at CMS, reports back on his experience as a solicitor delegate at English Law Week in Mexico.

Row of houses on Mexican street

A delegation of six solicitors and six barristers travelled to Mexico city for Mexico's inaugural English Law Week, along with the Law Society vice president, Simon Davis, and two international team members.

The event was a collaboration between the Law Society, Bar Council and the three main Mexican bar associations (ANADE, INCAM and BMA) to promote increasing cooperation between the legal sectors of England and Wales and Mexico.

The two-day conference was filled with thought-provoking discussions, new professional and personal connections and, of course, far too much tequila.

Day one

The conference began with a panel discussion on the implications of Brexit for the UK and Mexico, with Simon Davis, president-elect of the Law Society, optimistic about the opportunities for the two countries in a post-Brexit world.

The session was followed by a discussion on energy, during which CMS’s Derek Woodhouse emphasised the significant collaboration between Mexico and the UK in implementing Mexico’s landmark electricity reforms in 2014 to 2016.

The first day of the conference was rounded off with discussions on maritime and shipping developments and international arbitration.

The delegates were treated to a fabulous reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in the leafy Lomas de Chapultepec, a beautiful setting to cap the end of a very enjoyable first day.

Guests were served traditional Mexican delicacies as they chatted, washed down with wine, beer and, unsurprisingly, tequila.

The reception emphasised the involvement and supportiveness of the British Embassy in strengthening ties between the countries, a mind-set quite obviously mirrored by the delegates.

Day two

Day two began with a discussion on fintech, in the context of Mexico’s new fintech law and the input the UK had in helping with its drafting – another example of strong, successful collaboration.

I gave an  overview of the importance of fintech and demonstrated fintech uses live to the audience.

John McKendrick QC, having spearheaded the passage of Anguilla’s cryptocurrency law as its attorney general, talked eloquently about cyptocurrencies as they relate to fintech.

A session on financing in London was followed by a panel and case study delivered by a group of extremely talented lawyers, who got the audience thinking (and admonished those who hadn’t done their homework!).

The final session covered ethics, an area in which Mexico has faced challenges. The session highlighted Mexico’s desire to become corruption free and that the UK is willing and ready to support our Mexican counterparts in their efforts.

A successful event

The first English Law Week to be held in Mexico was a resounding success.

Excellent speakers and important discussions were underpinned by flawless organisation and, most importantly, our exceptionally hospitable, warm and entertaining hosts.

English Law Week provides opportunities to connect with our counterparts in jurisdictions that are becoming increasingly important on the world stage (Mexico, with the world's 15th largest economy, certainly fits the bill).

For CMS and the other participating law firms, English Law Week provided excellent insight into the legal and business market, highlighting opportunities and giving us access to individuals with deep local knowledge, whilst enabling us to share our experiences in a collaborative way.

Both our London and Mexico City offices are continuing conversations we started during the conference which we anticipate will be mutually beneficial for us and our Mexican counterparts.

On a personal level, the conference was a chance for me to gain exposure in the Mexican legal market and make some very useful contacts.

I will be relocating to CMS’s Mexico City office on an indefinite basis in November; my experience at English Law Week reaffirmed that it will be a fantastic move both on a professional and social level.

It looks almost certain that there will be a second English Law Week in Mexico City next year – make sure you're there!

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