Litigation & Enforcement Partner Named Leading Lawyer for U.S. Multinationals Operating in Mexico
The Legal 500 has named litigation and enforcement partner Nicholas Berg (Chicago) to its 2018 Private Practice Powerlist: Mexico Specialists list, which recognizes lawyers with significant engagement in the Mexican market. Mr. Berg was also named to the list in 2017. He is featured in the below Q&A published by The Legal 500. On May 17, The Legal 500 announced the 2018 honorees at a ceremony in New York.
Legal 500 Q&A featuring Nicholas Berg
Number of years practice: 13
Principal practice areas: Anti-corruption/international risk, government investigations, litigation
Bar admissions: Illinois, US Court of Appeals (Sixth Circuit)
Languages spoken: English and Spanish
A white-collar crime and investigations specialist, Nicholas Berg’s recent matters include the investigation and resolution of a multi-country FCPA matter involving a public company with extensive operations in Mexico. Berg and his team also helped one of the world’s largest private equity company with diligence matters, facilitating the completion of a very large sale-and-leaseback transaction of pipeline assets with a subsidiary of PEMEX. Under the terms of the leasing agreement, PEMEX will submit an annual compliance monitoring report to the client and take certain steps to audit and control risk in its third-party service provider engagements. Indeed, the anti-corruption and anti-fraud controls that Berg has helped clients put in place in Mexico have increasingly come to be seen as best practice in the area and have encouraged other companies in the oil-and-gas space in Mexico to improve their anti-corruption efforts. His other mandates include representing a number of other public and private companies in bribery and fraud investigations involving the jurisdiction.
What are your thoughts on...
… the advantages and disadvantages of advising Mexico-based clients from an office in the US?
Because my practice is focused on US law and typically involves companies with some nexus to the US, be it by listing their stock on US exchanges or having operations in the US, I don’t see a significant disadvantage arising from not being located in Mexico. Our clients generally come to us because of our relationships in the US but end up hiring us because of our unique expertise in Mexico.
… from a legal perspective, what is the most interesting thing going on in the Mexican market today?
The adoption, development, and future of the National Anti-Corruption System, without a doubt.
… are there any emerging commercial or legal trends that intersect with your (Mexico-focused) practice?
The Trump administration’s continued focus on perceived problems related to Mexico has strained ties between the two countries. If Mexican enforcement of the anti-corruption laws increases, it will be interesting to see if the Trump administration’s statements and positions are an impediment to increased cooperation between the two countries. Flexibility is and always has been key for us in the Mexican market. While a much more liberal president may create significant challenges and disruptions, it very well may lead to increased anti-corruption enforcement.