GRR 100 2022

Von Wobeser y Sierra

Von Wobeser y Sierra

Professional notice

The law firm is representing the Burger King Corporation in the Operación Restaurantera insolvency

Global head of restructuring and insolvencyDiego Sierra
Partners in restructuring team2
Restructuring lawyers in Who’s Who Legal1
Active cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters8

History of the practice

Mexican firm Von Wobeser y Sierra (VWyS) was founded in 1986. Partner Luis Miguel Jiménez set up the restructuring group 10 years ago, handling insolvency work alongside an international business transactions practice with Diego Sierra, who made partner in 2013. As the firm expanded and specialised, Jiménez moved to the tax and regulatory practice area and Sierra took over the restructuring practice; he has worked on most of the major workouts in Mexico since. Sierra is admitted to practise in Mexico and New York, and has co-chaired the Mexican Bar Association’s bankruptcy committee since March 2017.

Other names to know are partners Raymundo Soberanis and Jessika Rocha, both of whom also practise in the firm’s commercial litigation and arbitration practice.


The medium-sized firm is based in Mexico City.

Who uses it?

TK Holdings and Takata de México – entities of bankrupt Japanese airbag maker Takata – used VWyS for the Mexican aspects of their global restructuring and sale to Key Safety Systems in 2018. Other clients include Burger King, trucking finance company Navistar Financial and consumer goods company Procter & Gamble. Its automotive clients include German carmaker BMW Group – in fact, the firm has a reputation for advising German clients.

Historic track record

VWyS advised BAC Florida Bank, a significant creditor in the restructuring of Central Mexico-based pet food maker Proveedora La Perla. The firm managed to get the bank recognised as a secured creditor and lifted the stay that protected the debtor’s related parties.

The firm also advised Universidad Interglobal, a university with six locations in Mexico that struggled with high rents. In 2016, VWyS secured a federal court injunction instructing the university not to pay any rent in the conciliation stage of its concurso proceedings. After a year, the firm managed to reach an agreement with landlords and creditors that allowed the university to keep running.

VWyS represented car manufacturer Benteler de México when it purchased spare parts producer Refa Mexicana out of bankruptcy in 2010. It was only the second sale transaction of an operational business to be successfully completed under Mexico’s 2000 Bankruptcy Law

Recent events

The firm promoted Soberanis to partner from senior associate in December 2020.

Top cases of the research period

Burger King Corporation reached out to VWyS when the company that had a contract to operate some of its Mexican franchises, Operación Restaurantera, entered insolvency. VWyS provided the fast-food chain with advice on the insolvency proceedings and on the possibility of collecting royalties from the franchise master contractor, Operadora de Franquicias Alsea. It also helped Burger King buy some of the restaurants from Alsea in Mexico, since that entity was also in default, without risking a fraudulent conveyance claim.

Marinsa, a shipping company in the oil and gas industry in Mexico, also took advice from VWyS on an involuntary insolvency claim. Offshore drilling company Perforadora Central filed the claim along with another creditor before a Campeche District Court to try to force settlement talks, after VWyS successfully defended Marinsa from an emergency injunction in arbitration. VWyS succeeded in helping Marinsa reach a settlement with Perforadora Central and the other creditor over the dispute, which ended the arbitration and insolvency proceedings.

VWyS represented Japanese IT company NTT Data as a creditor in Aeroméxico’s Chapter 11 proceeding, negotiating for the renewal and payment of its executory agreement with the Mexican airline. VWyS managed to obtain the renewal of the executory agreement for one additional year, guaranteeing full payment. Aeroméxico exited bankruptcy in March 2022, after a New York court approved its restructuring plan two months earlier. The approved plan eliminated US$1.1 billion of the airline’s debt and saw it receive US$1.4 billion in new financing.

Finally, the firm has been acting for German bank Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, as a creditor in the restructuring of Oceanografía, the largest provider of offshore services to Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex, which was declared bankrupt in 2014. The firm persuaded the bankruptcy court to allow the bank’s claim for US$14.6 million in debt and is continuing to fight for the recognition of another US$4.3 million that was not recognised. VWyS has also led talks with Oceanografía’s bankruptcy trustee on behalf of a group of creditors for a restructuring plan.

Client references

Raúl García Herrera, partner at Guerra González y Asociados, has been working for an insolvent debtor across the table from VWyS as counsel to a creditor: “Having VWyS as my counterpart, I found a law firm with experience and knowledge, prudence and leadership,” he says, noting they worked together to agree and achieve common goals. “VWyS understood the common principles of this kind of procedure in order to obtain the best benefits of it.” He also gives a nod to Sierra’s “brilliant practice”.

“Von Wobeser have an excellent commercial vision and ability to negotiate and understand regulations and implications in different jurisdictions for financial restructuring processes,” says Eva Villar Endrino, legal director at NTT Data Services LATAM. “The attention and commitment with us was excellent.”

Number of partners worldwide: 21

Number of other lawyers worldwide: more than 80

Languages: Spanish, English, French, German, Dutch and Japanese

Von Wobeser y Sierra is a Mexican law firm founded in 1986 that offers a wide range of legal services (full-service) through seventeen practice areas, six industry groups and one German desk. Our founders started the firm to challenge the statu quo and serve the needs of clients with a practical, agile and creative mindset, which they thought was missing in the Mexican market. This purpose has inspired us for over 36 years.

We develop long-term relationships with clients, through a collaborative and problem-solving approach. Many of our clients are leaders in their industries and are part of the Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 lists, as well as of the Dow Jones, S&P 500, FTSE, DAX, Nikkei or IPC indices.

We have a strong and diverse team of world-class talent made of 21 partners, 5 of counsel, 6 counsel, ~100 associates and apprentices (law students), and more than 100 administrative staff colleagues. Our lawyers have strong academic and professional credentials. Many of them have pursued graduate degrees in the most prestigious universities of the United States and Europe, and have visiting lawyer experience in globally renowned law firms.

Our vision is to be the law firm of reference for the most complex and challenging legal matters in Mexico. Our mission is to solve our clients’ legal matters with the highest quality services, prioritising their interests and the success of their business, through an expert and solution-oriented team.

The firm has earned international recognition from the most prestigious legal researchers: Chambers and Partners Global, Chambers and Partners Latin America, The Legal 500, Latin Lawyer 250, Global Arbitration Review 100 (GAR 100), Global Competition Review 100 (GCR 100), Global Investigations Review 100 (GIR 100), Global Restructuring Review 100 (GRR 100), Who’s Who Legal (WWL), Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA), IFLR1000 and Benchmark Litigation, among others.

Diversity and Inclusion

Von Wobeser y Sierra strengthened its commitment to D&I with the creation of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2016, which promotes an inclusive work environment regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic level, disabilities, or any other social identities.

Regarding sexual diversity, in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the firm obtained the recognition of LGBTQ+ Best Place to Work, a certification of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation of Mexico.

The firm signed the promise of Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA), which was launched in May 2016, in London, to increase the number of women arbitrators on an equal opportunity basis.

Von Wobeser y Sierra actively supports Abogadas MX, a non-profit organisation established in 2015, whose mission is ‘[to] work so that every female lawyer in Mexico can thrive in an inclusive professional environment and have the necessary tools to enhance her development and be a change agent’.

In September 2022, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee successfully organised the first Von Wobeser y Sierra Diversity Week, in the interest of providing a space for reflection and dialogue on the challenges and opportunities we face in matters of D&I.

Pro Bono

Von Wobeser y Sierra is proud to be a pro bono leader. The firm signed an agreement for the promotion of pro bono work with Fundación Barra Mexicana, A.C., with the objective of filing a quarterly report stating the number of pro bono hours worked during that period, as well as a detailed description of the work done and the clients to whom it was provided. The firm has been fulfilling this obligation since January 1, 2007.

The firm was in the committee that prepared the preliminary draft of the Declaration of Pro Bono Work for the American Continent.

Since 2012, Von Wobeser y Sierra has received the Leading Lights recognition, from the Vance Center and Latin Lawyer, as one of the law firms in Latin America most committed to pro bono work.

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