Guatemalan firm Mayora & Mayora has opened an office in Honduras by absorbing the practice of Odín Guillén Leiva, a Honduran attorney. The firm is looking to expand throughout Central America, and Honduras is the first country outside of Guatemala that the firm has ventured into.

In 2015, Guatemala signed a customs agreement with Honduras, which will remove customs duties on the border between the two countries, an act which helped prompt the move into Honduras. “We are entertaining some processes with two other firms in two other jurisdictions, so the strategic aim is to eventually cover the whole region,” Eduardo Mayora, managing partner of Mayora & Mayora said. “The customs union that will eventually cover the whole of the union, or so we expect, has come into force first with Honduras. This external factor made this process concerning Honduras advance a bit faster than the other two are going to be.”

In order to open in Honduras, Mayora & Mayora absorbed the practice of Guillén, a founding partner of IG Abogados & Asocs. Guillén left his former firm where he was one of two partners to join the new entity. Guillén focuses his practice on arbitration, civil and commercial law, corporate law, litigation and labor law.

Before agreeing to absorb Guillén’s practice, the firm had attempted to merge with or absorb other Honduran firms, according to Eduardo Mayora. These did not come to fruition, so the firm considered opening its own office. Then, a mutual friend of Guillén and Eduardo Mayora introduced the two. Both Mayora & Mayora and Guillén had similar philosophies on the processes for integrating firms, so the two decided to combine practices.

“My move here happened because the market here in Central America is looking forward to these kind of law firms,” explained Guillén. “My clients (Honduran and foreigners) were always interested in a possible attention to their operations in the other Central American countries.”

Eduardo Mayora concurred that the move was spurred by interest from clients. “They were really looking for us to support them in more than one jurisdiction, and the more we began getting the kind of demand from our clients, [the more we] considered these processes as strategic and assumed the commitment [to expand into Honduras],” he said.