Laura Nava is a special counsel in the Corporate and Labor and Employment Practice Groups in the firm's New York office. She is the Leader of the firm's Latin American team.

Areas of Practice

Laura is an international business and real estate lawyer with more than 25 years of experience. Her practice focuses on cross-border transactions involving Mexico and other countries of Latin America. Within her cross-border practice, Laura is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, commercial and technology licensing agreements, financing transactions, international trade, customs and NAFTA, employment matters, real estate development (resort and residential projects), acquisition and leasing of real estate, matters involving Mexican trusts (fideicomisos), energy projects and the startup of manufacturing operations. Laura also handles international mediation cases involving cross-border issues or Spanish-speaking parties.

Laura practiced law in Mexico from 1989 to 1996 and moved to the U.S. in 1996 to practice law within its borders until joining Sheppard Mullin in 2017. Laura is fluent in Spanish and English and conversant in French.



Representative Matters

  • Acting as mediator and arbitrator for disputes and controversies between U.S. corporations and Mexican/Latin American corporations and individuals.
  • Representing various U.S. companies involved in maquiladora manufacturing operations in Mexico, including corporate and IMMEX compliance, employment issues, construction agreements, real estate leases and acquisitions and operational issues.
  • Representing U.S. and Latam companies in connection with customs and international trade matters; including import and export controls and related issues.
  • Representing a U.S. developer of condominiums and a resort hotel in Baja California, Mexico, including advice on corporate structuring, condominium regime, ejido matters, and other real estate issues.
  • Representing Mexican landowners regarding sale or joint development of Mexican real estate, including response to due diligence requests, deal structuring and documentation.
  • Represents U.S. companies in connection with international technology licensing and operating agreements. 
  • Representing various U.S. companies with financing transactions, secured under Mexican law with traditional mortgages and non-possessory pledge (security) agreements.
  • Representing U.S. companies in connection with Mexican human resources and employment issues.
  • Representing borrowers in Mexico with lending transactions secured by pledge (security) agreements.
  • Representing U.S. companies buying and/or selling companies and operations in Mexico, assisting with due diligence, corporate compliance, employment law, real estate issues, stock transfer, and related matters.
  • Representing Sares Regis/Prudential Real Estate in sale of industrial properties in Baja California, sold for U.S.$16 million; advised clients on real estate, ejido issues, industrial development, FCPA compliance and related matters.
  • Representing Silicon Border Industrial Park in Baja California as borrower in U.S.$27 million credit transaction with ING Clarion using pledge (security) agreement and multiple mortgages.
  • Representing Heller Financial on Mexico-related lending transactions totaling U.S.$20 million, involving non-recourse loans to a leasing company in Mexico.
  • Representing Sempra Energy (NYSE), the parent company for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas, with respect to its Mexico projects. For its gas pipeline projects, involved in forming the Mexican joint venture companies, drafting the joint venture agreements and forming other Mexican subsidiaries.
  • Representation of various U.S. investors regarding investment in Mexican companies, including due diligence, structuring and documentation.

Pro Bono Matters

  • Casa Cornelia – Assisting in asylum matters and visas
  • Certified for Dispute Resolution – Acting as mediator for various disputes
  • Door of Change - Board member in non-profit helping homeless youth 



"Advising the Client Who Has Ties with Mexico," A Guide to International Estate Planning, American Bar Association, 2013

"Tell Me, Are You Sure You're Not a Foreign Official?" May 3, 2011

Labor and Employment Law Blog Posts

Latin American Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements

  • "U.S. History of Mediation and Role of Women in International Mediation," ICC Mexico Monthly Meeting, Mexico City, 2016
  • "A Guide to Mexican Law for the U.S. Lawyer," Lorman Education Services, April 21, 2015
  • "US and Mexico Energy Outlook," ABA International Section Fall Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 22, 2014
  • "How to Structure Mexican Real Estate Holdings for the U.S. Citizen," Arizona Estate Planning Council November Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona, November 7, 2011



President, U.S. Mexico Chamber of Commerce, West Coast Chapter, 2022 - 2024

Member, International Mediation Committee, Section of International Law, American Bar Association, 2016

Senior Advisor, Foreign Legal Consultant Committee, Section of International Law, American Bar Association, 2016

Steering Committee, Mexico Committee, Section of International Law, American Bar Association, 2022

Member, San Diego County Bar Association, 2012

Digital Media


LL.M., University of San Diego School of Law, 1995

J.D., Universidad de Monterrey A.C., 1989


  • New York
  • Mexico


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