Miami is rightly known as the gateway to Latin America, a point that has been highlighted by the influx of law firms into the market over the last few years. Winston & Strawn LLP is perhaps the most prominent example with its bold lists of lateral hires to establish one of the largest Latin America teams in the city. Other firms too – most notably King & Spalding – have invested in Miami offices as a means of targeting Latin America-related work, including the flow of inbound and outbound capital. Miami has also grown as an international arbitration centre and now houses a range of firms with sizeable arbitration-focused teams. Additional 2022-arrivals included Sidley Austin LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. More recently still -as of September 2023- Osborne Clarke has announced its opening in the city (its third office in the US) under the leadership of Javier Fernández-Samaniego - formerly at his own firm, Samaniego Law SL which had a presence in both Madrid and Miami; the office will focus primarily on international arbitration but will also benefit from Fernández-Samaniego's deep expertise in the tech sector.
City focus - Miami in Latin America: International firms
Akerman LLP has a wide-ranging Latin America practice which is especially noted for its experience in Cuba trade and sanctions matters; it has extensive expertise in Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issues and cases under the Helms-Burton Act. The Miami office has worked on some of the largest investments and commercial arrangements in Cuba over the years. Chair of the international practice Pedro Freyre and chair of the Cuba practice Augusto Maxwell are leaders in helping businesses with interests on the island, with Matthew Aho as a senior policy consultant for the Cuba group. More generally, the Miami office houses a large number of Latin America-born practitioners and others with civil law expertise. The firm has also built a significant presence in cross-border disputes involving Latin America, including significant commercial and investor-state arbitrations. Chair of the Latin America group Luis Pérez is a big name in Latin America disputes, while Andrew Dominguez - who returned to the firm in 2022 - provides further expertise in Latin America litigation and arbitration. The Miami office also has a large Brazil desk, dedicated to inbound and outbound transactions involving Latin America’s largest economy; key partner Otavio Carneiro previously practised in Brazil for over 20 years.
Baker McKenzie LLP
Baker McKenzie LLP is a major player in Latin America, thanks to its multiple offices throughout the region and large Latin-America-focused team based in the US. The Miami office accounts for much of its Latin America emphasis with a large number of attorneys having a primary or substantial practice in the region. Much of this is centred on M&A, project finance, insolvency and restructuring, and regulatory enforcement and investigations. Federico Cuadra Del Carmen has advised on a number of investments by multinationals and financial investors in Latin America, including in the energy and financial services sectors. Daniela Fonseca Puggina is noted for financial services disputes, regulatory enforcement and investigations in Latin America, while Paul Keenan is an experienced figure in cross-border restructurings and bankruptcies; he has worked on a series of cases in Latin America, including in the aviation sector.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Miami office is a cross-border disputes' powerhouse. It is especially noted for investor-state and commercial arbitrations involving Latin America, with global co-leader of the international arbitration group Pedro Martinez-Fraga having an outstanding record in big-ticket cases; this includes representing investors in a series of cases against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under bilateral investment treaties (BITs), as well as representing sovereign states in headline disputes. Managing partner of the Miami office Ryan Reetz is also an experienced figure in Latin America cross-border disputes, including investor-state arbitrations.
Carlton Fields has longstanding links to Latin America, notably inbound transactions and investments from Brazil. It also has a strong record in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia; and has particular profile for its expertise in insurance and reinsurance. Robert Macaulay has a background in cross-border transactions involving Brazil and other Latin American jurisdictions, as does counsel Andrew Markus. Michael Pasano specialises in white-collar crime and investigations, including Latin American matters, and Daniel Badovinac handles international tax planning for high net-worth individuals and family offices.
Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance is a giant of the Miami market, particularly in the fields of white-collar crime, anti-money laundering and investigations, international arbitration and other contentious commercial matters, especially partnership disputes. Clients widely praise the firm for its cultural understanding of Latin America, benefitting from the presence of various Latin America-born practitioners within its, a number of whom are dual-qualified in Latin American states and in the US, providing additional expertise in both common and civil law codes. Corporate real estate and tax work related to the region are both areas of growth. Venezuela has featured prominently for the firm over many years, but it has broadened its geographic reach to Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico among other markets. The firm is also building its standing in tax disputes and international tax, often in connection with Latin American investments into South Florida; estate planning and pre-immigration tax planning for Latin American clients are also central parts of the Miami practice. Global managing partner Michael Diaz is hugely well connected and has an outstanding reputation in white-collar crime and investigations. Robert Targ is a prominent figure in fraud, asset seizure and money laundering cases; and Gary Davidson has an excellent reputation in cross-border commercial disputes and international arbitration. Marta Colomar-Garcia is another key figure in cross-border disputes involving Latin American businesses and senior executives. Colombian national Javier Coronado, who is licensed in New York, Miami and Colombia, is another emerging talent.
Michael Diaz; Gary Davidson; Marta Colomar-Garcia
‘At Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance, I have found excellence displayed in many forms. Primarily through the service and commitment of their attorneys, but also through efficacy and execution, and legal support and knowledge which I had not found with other law firms and litigators. The capacities and knowledge that they have given to our cases, including a civil suit that we have been working on in Miami, FL, and another fraud case that has involved extensive and elaborate negotiation and back-and-forths, Diaz Reus has taken the proper steps and provided practical advice, always handled professionally and timely to recoup assets that were taken away from us. The judicial decisions and advice given for negotiations to recover assets taken fraudulently have made a significant difference thanks to their professional knowledge, experience, and commitment.’
‘All of the Diaz Reus attorneys I’ve had the opportunity to interact with have always displayed outstanding professionalism and knowledge. In particular, attorneys Marta Colomar-Garcia, Gary Davidson, and Michael Diaz, have always taken the time to thoroughly explain the legal process, available options, and potential outcomes. They have been diligent in their research and preparation and have genuinely demonstrated their care and commitment to solving the issues presented. I cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism and expertise.’
‘In Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance, we have found an extension of our counsel in Miami. Their knowledge, experience, attention to detail, and commitment to their clients make them an exceptional choice for anyone seeking legal representation.’
‘There are plenty of firms that claim being “multicultural” but the reality is that they have Americans who speak Spanish or have roots but makes Diaz Reus unique is that it is really diverse and international. They of course have multilingual practitioners, but also understand culture, fee approaches and the way of working with European and Ibero-American multinationals. I strongly recommend them.’
‘Michael Diaz is an unique lawyer. We recently hosted a client meeting on a sensitive sanctions matters and he is very capable and knowledgeable but, most importantly, provides reassurance and full control of matter. We also enjoy working with Javier Coronado, Gary Davidson and Marta Colomar-Garcia. A truly first class team!’
Silmar Robert Bertin
Eastern National Bank
Liga de Béisbol de Venezuela
- Represented Alejandro Andrade, the former Treasurer of Venezuela who was recently released from a 10-year prison sentence, in defence of the US government’s continued efforts to secure and forfeit assets and monies from third parties as part of the largest FCPA case in South Florida history.
- Represented the board of directors of Eastern National Bank in two $20m lawsuits brought by minority and majority shareholders, involving two parallel proceedings in Venezuela and Curaçao relating to the control of an entity that holds 99% of the bank’s shares.
- Representing the respondent in a foreign arbitral award recognition and enforcement action in the Southern District of New York, opposing an action which seeks to enforce an arbitration award of $40m issued by an arbitration panel in Brazil.
DLA Piper LLP (US)’s Miami office is central to its Latin America ambitions with partner Francisco Cerezo as chair of both the US-Latin America and the Latin America corporate and finance practices. Cerezo has played a pivotal role in developing the firm's network of offices in Latin America, and subsequently deepening their connections with relevant US offices; he can also take substantial credit for solidifying the corporate team with significant lateral hires in New York and São Paulo. Cerezo and the wider Latin American team are working closely with Colombia and Chile, in particular, relating to outbound investments into the wider region and into the US. The group is also active in fund establishments and relocations. Additionally, the Miami team continues to work with the a range of US corporates, multi-latinas, family offices, private equity firms and sovereign governments.
Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Miami office is the largest of all law firms in the city. Its roots in Miami have provided longstanding links to Latin America and the firm has long since developed a well grounded reputation for its capability and know-how regarding Central America (and to a lesser degree, the Caribbean), where it has worked extensively. More recently, the firm has continued to build out its practice capabilities for the region (not least with the establishment of a local Mexico City office back in 2011) and has now has expanded its geographical focus to the entirety of Latin America. It has strongly increased its engagement with Brazil, which has included a series of lateral hires and the promotion of Brazilian Arnaldo Rego to the partnership in Miami; indeed, the office is now benefitting from an inflow of capital not only from the region’s largest economy, but also from other countries such as Chile, and the Miami team now represents a range of public companies, private equity houses and venture capital funds. Co chair of the Latin America practice Antonio Peña, and co-managing shareholder of the Miami office Yosbel Ibarra, are the key figures for cross-border corporate transactions. Benjamin Greenberg is an experienced figure in FCPA, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and sanctions matters, including advising individuals who have been placed on the Engels List. Marina Olaman-Pal is building the firm’s presence in Latin America fintech, payment systems and crypto matters - including regulatory compliance and licensing, and the acquisition of businesses in the region. On the contentious front, Joseph Mamounas is part of a Miami team that is at the forefront of cross-border litigation and arbitration, particularly M&A disputes, project/infrastructure cases, and investor-state arbitrations.
GST LLP is a boutique Miami-based firm with a distinct focus on international arbitration involving Latin American states, especially investor-state disputes. The firm advises a number of sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities, and has represented the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) in a number of disputes; it has also represented Guatemala. Diego Gosis has an impressive background in Latin America investor-state disputes, acting for both sovereigns and investors, most notably in cases involving Argentina; he is Argentine qualified. Managing partner Quinn Smith is another specialist in investor-state disputes, many of which involve Latin America. Licensed to practice in New York and Brazil, Mauricio Gomm Santos specialises in cross-border disputes involving Brazil entities. Domenico Di Pietro splits his time between Miami and London.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has a long history in Miami with much of its practice having a Latin America emphasis. The Miami team is noted for energy and infrastructure projects in Latin America, along with international arbitration. Previously, the international arbitration practice was more centred on commercial arbitration, but the firm has increased its focus on investment treaty cases; the team represents sovereigns, quasi-sovereigns and investors. Richard Lorenzo is regional managing partner for the Americas and is a recognised leader in international arbitration, as is Daniel González, who was previously global head of international arbitration. Puerto Rican-born Maria Ramirez is an emerging talent in the international arbitration field and -like Lorenzo and González- a genuinely bilingual practitioner. The Miami office is also at the forefront of energy and infrastructure projects, along with sustainability and decarbonisation-related transactions. Jorge Diaz-Silveira is managing partner of the Miami office and leader of the Americas infrastructure, energy, resources and projects group; he has an extensive record in projects work in Central America, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia. José Valdivia is co-chair of the Latin America group and another experienced figure in energy and infrastructure projects.
The Central America Bottling Corp
Espiritu Santo Holdings
Mr. Alejandro Diego Diaz-Gaspar and Iberico
Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de la Republica de Panama
SSK Ingenieria y Construccion
Mr. Michael Anthony Lee Chin
- Advised the Central America Bottling Corp (CBC), CBC Bottling Holdco, and Beliv Holdco, as co-issuers on a Rule 144A/Reg S offering of $1.1 bn senior guaranteed sustainability-linked notes offering and a successful concurrent tender offer, consent solicitation, and redemption relating to senior guaranteed notes previously issued by CBC.
- Represented Espiritu Santo Holdings in a high-value ICSID claim against the United Mexican States (Mexico) for violation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), after the Mexican Government indirectly expropriated the client’s concession to implement a taxi hailing app and digital taximeter in the City of Mexico.
- Successfully acted for SSK Ingenieria y Construccion in upholding a $40m arbitration award after lawyers were accused of switching sides.
Holland & Knight LLP has a major focus on Latin America with Miami partner Roberto Pupo leading the firm’s efforts in the region. Having developed close connections to Latin American businesses, the firm has experienced significant growth in investments and acquisitions into the US, including by Chilean entities targeting the renewables sector, along with a spate of intra-regional deals. Colombia, where the firm has a large office, and Peru, are also key markets for inbound deals into the US, especially South Florida. The Miami office is benefitting from the firm’s efforts to grow its Latin America capabilities, which included the hire of a 17-lawyer team from Sánchez Devanny in Mexico City and Monterrey; this provides the firm with greater abilities to target industrial growth and the near-shoring phenomena in northern Mexico. Along with considerable activity in the M&A and private equity spheres, the Miami office has a fine standing in banking and finance, projects, international arbitration, financial services regulatory matters and tax. Aside from the aforementioned Pupo, other prominent figures in corporate and M&A transactions include Aymee Valdivia and Enrique Conde, along with Alexandra Aguirre, who joined from Morrison Foerster in 2022; Aguirre has led teams on a string of deals since joining the firm. Jose Sirven is a seasoned and versatile corporate and finance practitioner with a high degree of focus on Latin America. Adolfo Jimenez is an international disputes specialist with a long history of acting in international arbitrations involving Latin American entities. Wilfredo Ferrer is chair of the global compliance and investigations team, and has notable expertise in anti-corruption and FCPA matters. Logan Gans provides further Latin America tax expertise. Project finance leader Norberto Quintana splits his time between New York and Miami, and has an excellent record in energy and infrastructure financings, including 4G toll roads in Colombia. Since publication, complex corporate (& labour) disputes specialilst Vanessa Lopez has been raised to the partnership - effective as of January 2024.
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP’s Miami office is best known for its high market share of large syndicated loans in Brazil. Amy Dulin is a recognised leader in this field, with Emilio Saiz providing additional senior-level talent in the area. Alongside Brazil, the syndicated lending team is also active in Mexico and Colombia, primarily acting for lenders although also enjoying a healthy number of engagements from borrowers. Bilateral facilities constitute another key area and the team is also at the forefront of sustainability-linked financings to major Brazilian borrowers. The Miami office is also increasingly active in Latin America investments into the US, including real estate and corporate acquisitions; and is further recognised for its expertise in financial institutions M&A and venture capital investments. Federico Goudie has strong links to Paraguay and has worked on numerous sovereign bond issuances and infrastructure projects, including toll road developments. Ruben Diaz has a fine record in cross-border investments and M&A in Central America, and Mark Denham is a leader in aviation finance in the wider Latin America region.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s Miami office is central to its Latin America practice. It has longstanding links to the region, particularly Central America, although it's geographical coverage is increasingly extensive. The Miami team, along with colleagues in Washington DC, has developed strong connections to multilateral agency lenders, such as IDB Invest, which has brought a number of financings in the renewables and energy transition areas, along with loans to Latin American financial institutions. The group advises a range of family-owned businesses, funds and multinationals on inbound and outbound transactions; and it has advised a series of family offices in Mexico and Central America on their investments into the US. Fernando Alonso is a hugely experienced Latin America specialist with rich pedigree in M&A, capital markets offerings, debt financings and projects. Fernando Margarit is a leader in telecoms infrastructure projects, including niche expertise in subsea cable systems. Uriel Mendieta is another rounded practitioner with a background in M&A, financings and infrastructure projects.
Banco de Sabadell
Banco Santander International
Banco de la Producción
Corporación Interamericana para el Financimiento de Infraestructura
Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)
- Represented Ecuador’s Banco de la Produccion in two loans from International Finance Corporation totalling $160m.
- Advised WE Acquisition, a wholly owned acquisition vehicle of PG Growth Opportunities Fund I and PG Growth Opportunities Cayman Fund I, in connection with its acquisition of the Louisville-based Wild Eggs brunch chain from Patoka Capital; the limited partners in PG Growth Opportunities Cayman Fund I are primarily from Panama and include Prival Bank.
- Advised Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest) on a $23m secured loan to Explora Chile.
Jones Day’s Miami office has entered a new era following a series of senior-level departures in 2022, including corporate partners Enrique Martin and Nicholas Rodríguez, along with project finance specialists Richard Puttré and Fradyn Suárez. Luis Vélez has now stepped up as the lead corporate partner in Miami and frequently represents US-based clients on their investments and interests in Latin America; notably, he advised TotalEnergies on its strategic alliance and investment agreement with Omaha Beach Investment Corp, Sunix Petroleum, and Tropigas Dominicana in the Dominican Republic. The Miami office and broader Latin America team are also notably active in private equity investments and transactions in the agriculture sector, along with a growing swathe of investments by Latin American businesses into the US. Cristina Pérez Soto leads the Miami litigation team, and has an extensive record in internal investigations, anti-money laundering and sanctions; she and the team are also noted for investigations linked to acquisitions. Additionally recognised for its experience in energy and infrastructure, Pérez Soto’s group also has growing credibility in the financial services and fintech areas.
Kennedys is a global insurance giant that has committed considerable effort and resources into developing a large Latin America practice. With multiple offices in the region itself, the Miami office operates as a hub for the region. The Miami team has continued to develop its standing in cyber risk and is building out its incident response capabilities, in part by leveraging the firm’s global capabilities in this area; it also remains active in financial lines and has achieved further growth in political risk insurance. Surety cases are another growth area. In addition, the group has expanded its practice in line with the growth of the reinsurance market in the city, with an increase in regulatory and compliance engagements, corporate and employment work. Dual-qualified (Spain/England and Wales) Alex Guillamont and regional managing partner Anna Weiss are the key contacts for the firm's Latin America and Caribbean practice (both are foreign legal consultants and as such, do not practice Florida law).
King & Spalding has made a substantial investment in assuring the Latin America-facing capabilities of the Miami office it opened in February 2022. By transferring a number of partners and attorneys to the city, the firm has rapidly established a substantial (locally based) team, particularly in one of the firm’s standout global practices: international arbitration. Moreover, it has brought in a financing team with the hire of project finance partner Fradyn Suárez from Jones Day and Jessica Mendoza as counsel from White & Case LLP. Suárez is noted for transportation project financings, particularly 4G toll roads in Colombia; and both she and Mendoza are also active in refinancings and acquisition financings involving projects and energy assets. Drawing on the expertise of the wider firm, the Miami group is set to develop further inroads into renewable energy, hydrogen, LNG, telecoms and digital infrastructure. On the international arbitration front, co-leader of the team Henry Burnett relocated to Miami from New York in February 2022, bringing considerable commercial and investment treaty disputes expertise to the office. Craig Miles now splits his time between Miami and Houston, and is another high-profile figure in commercial and investment treaty arbitration across multiple Latin America jurisdictions. Both international arbitration partners are part of larger teams involved in some of the most significant cases related to the region, including Quanta Services’ ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru.
Henry Burnett; Craig Miles; Fradyn Suárez
Terminal Portuario Paracas
Millicom International Cellular
Odyssey Marine Exploration
Desarrollo Vial de los Andes
Sociedad Aeroportuaria Kuntur Wasi
The Williams Companies
AMERRA Capital Management
Kobre & Kim
Kobre & Kim’s Latin America government enforcement and defence practice is largely centred in Miami and Sao Paulo. The practice group houses a number of former DOJ officials and is frequently engaged in matters linked to investigations by the DOJ and SEC; this includes global cases that have Latin America at the heart of the investigation. The Miami team often works alongside colleagues in São Paulo, Brazil. Gabriela Ruiz represents a range of corporates and individuals, including in dual-proceedings in the US and Latin America relating to alleged corruption. Evelyn Sheehan, a former DOJ official, is also noted for DOJ investigations, including FCPA and money laundering violations; and Adriana Riviere-Badell is also recognised for anti-corruption investigations in the region.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s Miami office has a strong cohort of international tax lawyers that have extensive experience in cross-border transactions with Latin America. The team is best known for inbound investments into the US from the region – particularly from Brazil. Many of these transactions involve south Florida, with real estate investments a particularly active segment. Co-head of the Latin America practice and leading the tax group in Miami, Michael Silva‘s practice demonstrates a strong emphasis on international tax, US investment structures, fund formation and advice to Latin American family offices. Steven Hadjilogiou and Arianne Plasencia provide additional international tax expertise.
Delta Electronics, Inc
Sterling Capital Partners
- Represented Sterling Capital Partners on its sale Costa Rican higher-education entities Universidad Latina de Costa Rica (ULatina) and Universidad Americana, Costa Rica (UAM), to Universidad de las Americas, a private, non-profit higher education institution in Quito, Ecuador.
- Advised a wealthy Chilean family on tax planning and the restructuring of their investments in the US in a tax efficient manner, involving extensive analysis of US M&A rules in order to optimise the structure and ensure compliance with US witholding tax regulations.
- Advised various Mexican high-net-worth families on tax-efficient investments and asset protection.
Morrison Foerster’s small Miami office is led by the experienced and highly-rated Randy Bullard, a true Latin America specialist, who has close links to SoftBank Latin America Fund, a client that provides much of the office’s deal flow. In 2022, the firm continued to advise the fund on a series of significant investments, including its up to $150m investment in Mexican investment platform, Grupo Bursátil Mexicano (GBM). The team also represents a number of other financial investors, along with financial services and fintech businesses. Two Miami corporate partners, Alexandra Aguirre and Juan Delgado, left the firm in 2022.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP continues to build-out its Latin America team, most recently with the hire of senior international arbitration lawyer Luis O’Naghten from Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP . A native Spanish speaker, he brings an extensive background in commercial and investor-state arbitrations, often involving the Latin America region. The firm’s own presence in construction and energy, including a wealth of South Korean clients with interests in Latin America, will provide a platform for O’Naghten and his team to further develop the practice. Beyond international arbitration, the firm is one of the global market leaders in venture capital, start-up and growth company work, and this is also evident in Latin America. Jackson Hwu is noted for advice to start-ups and early-stage companies, particularly those seeking Series A financing or an M&A exit, in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. He is particularly active in fintech, payment solutions and blockchain. Leandro Molina is recognised for venture capital work, including for major players in the region such as SoftBank Latin America Fund; this includes investments in fintech, edtech and healthtech. Additionally, Molina led the team that advised Lightrock on its $27m Series B financing round for Brazilian fintech Agrolend Holding. The wider team is also working with Brazil tech companies expanding into the US. John Haley is another key member of the Latin America team with broad experience across M&A, project finance and capital markets, with a recent focus on Central America.
PAG Law has 13 partners, most of whom are based in Miami and are bilingual (English and either Spanish or Portuguese). The firm has a primary focus on venture capital, start-ups and emerging companies in Latin America; it has a particular history in representing start-up company founders, although it continues to build its investor relationships. The venture-backed community suffered a drop in valuations during 2022, but the firm remained active in early-stage company investments and M&A transactions. It has a fine recent record in fintech and AI-related businesses, particularly in Brazil and Mexico. Colombia, Chile and Argentina are also key markets for the team, which includes a number of dual-licensed practitioners – such as Ricardo Beller (Argentina/New York), Esteban J Elias (Chile/New York/DC/ California/Florida) and Bernardo Tamez (Mexico/California). The Miami office further built-out its digital assets and crypto expertise in 2022 with the hire of Kendrick Nguyen as a special adviser; he is the co-founder and chief executive of equity crowdfunding platform, Republic. Juan Pablo Cappello is a hugely experienced venture capital and emerging company specialist with an extensive record in Latin America. Lizbeth Flores is another outstanding Latin America corporate and venture capital lawyer. Since publication the team has been further strengthened with the hire of experienced PE and VC practitioner Alejandro Fiuza, formerly of Brown Rudnick LLP, in November 2023.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s David Orta is chair of the firm's US international arbitration practice and its Latin America international arbitration group. Based in Miami, Washington DC and New York, he is a prominent figure in commercial and investor-state arbitration, and has represented numerous businesses in claims against Latin American states, and in other commercial arbitrations involving parties from across the region. Orta is highly regarded by clients for his strategic thinking, thorough case preparation and advocacy.
‘I’ve never worked with a team of lawyers that was more talented and dedication to our case. David Orta is truly incredible to watch in action and unparalleled to any attorney I’ve worked with in litigation. Both in person and on paper, he has a way of taking complex arguments and distilling them into key persuasive components that pave the pathway for your side to win. It is an art, and it’s no wonder that he is Chair of the U.S. and Latin America International Arbitration Practices. Both David and his team are easily accessible at any time of day, any day of the week. What sets them apart from many firms is they provide clear, defensible answers to concerns about strategy, and after speaking with David or his team, you’re left feeling more confident and assured about your case and how these concerns will be addressed. They do a wonderful job of preparing for any argument the other side may have. Their witness preparation is by far harder than the questions I faced in the hearing!’
‘We had a major filing due April 2020 and the entire team, including experts, worked seamlessly from a technological perspective on the filing. In the hearing, they used technology to keep the tribunal engaged and aware of exactly where the evidence was to support our side. The team was diverse, with men and women from all over the globe working with us. The team works seamlessly to make sure everything runs smoothly.’
‘I’ve never seen anyone more skilled in the hearing/court room as David Orta. Listening to him, both in opening statements and his examination/cross examination of witnesses, is like watching a movie unfold. I thought it was impossible for him to surpass his performance in the hearing. However, seeing his re-work of our post-hearing briefs made me truly understand how exceptional he is. There are few attorneys as skilled and persuasive in litigation/arbitration as David Orta.’
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP’s expanding Miami office has major emphasis on Latin America dispute resolution. It is noted for Section 1782 actions, investor-state arbitrations and Brazil-related litigation. Its illustrious standing in international arbitration stems from the presence of senior figures José Astigarraga (who has stepped down as head of international arbitration) and Edward Mullins, who is the Miami office managing partner; Mullins recently represented Brazilian weapons manufacturer, Condor, in its headline case against Bolivia. The arrival of investor-state arbitration specialist Francisco Rodriguez in 2022, who has since become head of international arbitration, has furthered the office’s standing in the field. Sandra Millor is another recent hire, who has a primary emphasis on cross-border litigation and arbitration involving Latin American entities. Felipe Berer is a Brazil litigation specialist, and is dual-qualified in Brazil and the US. However, real estate finance specialist Jonathan Kurry moved to Vedder Price in May 2023; and Luis Perez moved to McDermott Will & Emery LLP in August 2023.
Rivero Mestre LLP
Rivero Mestre LLP is a sizeable Miami-based firm with a primary emphasis on dispute resolution, including cross-border disputes involving Latin America. The firm is noted for its engagements in high-value and headline disputes, including representing a Chevron attorney as part of the long-running multi-billion dispute concerning Chevron’s alleged environmental damage in the Amazon. Along with cross-border litigation and arbitration, the firm is also recognised for its expertise in white-collar criminal defence. It is noted for its Spanish speaking attorneys and ability to conduct cases in Spanish. Jorge Mestre is vice chair of the Latin America & Caribbean Committee of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section. Andrés Rivero is another senior litigation attorney with a fine track record in Latin America-related cases, including international arbitrations. Michael Fernández is also noted for contentious matters, including commercial and investor-state arbitration, and corporate internal investigations.
Sidley Austin LLP’s launch of a Miami office in July 2022 saw the arrival of the well regarded Juan Delgado and a team, featuring managing associate Axel Miranda, from Morrison Foerster. Prior to becoming part of the firm’s significant move into Miami, the pair already had a track record in Latin America venture capital and emerging company transactions, including investments by SoftBank Latin America Fund; notably, following Delgado’s arrival, the firm was appointed to SoftBank’s outside counsel panel. The team is also noted for corporate restructurings and M&A transactions, with their past experience (prior to joining the firm) including advising SoftBank on a $48m Series B financing for Colombian e-commerce platform Laika, with participation from Delivery Hero, JAM Fund and FJ Labs, and angels Carlos Garcia (Kavak), Emil Michael (Uber) and Pedro Garay (GBM). Further afield, the practice is also active in Brazil, Mexico and other smaller markets in the region.
SoftBank Latin America Fund
- Advised SoftBank in a Series B financing round for Incode, a next-generation identity and authentication platform for global enterprises.
Squire Patton Boggs’s Miami office is best known for cross-border litigation and arbitration. It represents a number of sovereigns and government-owned entities in cases seated in the US, and is also regularly engaged in Section 1782 cases. Notable sovereign clients include the Republic of Ecuador, Republic of Peru, Republic of Panama and Republic of Costa Rica, along with state entity EP Petroecuador. In the Costa Rican case, the group defended the State in a BIT arbitration brought by a Spanish investor alleging that the Costa Rican Ministry of Health’s inspections of its chicken farming facilities, and subsequent suspension of its activities due to infractions, forced the exit of Ibérico (the claimant’s company) from the Costa Rican market. Aside from sovereign work, the Miami office has also seen ongoing growth in energy and transportation-related cases. Digna French is chair of the litigation practice in Florida and co-chair of the Miami-Latin America task force; she and Raúl Mañón, who heads the international dispute resolution practice in Miami, are the key names to note.
Digna French; Raúl Mañón
‘Unique legal expertise, exceptional client service, and commitment to collaboration.’
‘In his work, Mr Manon and his team reflects strong legal expertise, excellent communication skills, strategic thinking, strong work ethic, and attention to detail.’
Republic of Peru
Republic of Costa Rica
Republic of Ecuador
Instituto Postal Dominicano
Republic of Panama
- Defended the Republic of Costa Rica in a BIT arbitration brought by a Spanish investor alleging that the Costa Rican Ministry of Health conducted inspections of its chicken farm business, detected infractions and issued administrative orders that suspended activity, thereby causing the exit of Ibérico (the claimant’s company) from the Costa Rican market.
- Represented the Republic of Peru in three ICSID arbitrations arising out of Peru’s alleged breaches of a concession agreement entered into with Metro de Lima Linea 2 (a Spanish-Italian-Korean consortium) for the construction of a 35km metro line in Lima, Peru.
- Represented the Republic of Ecuador in an effort to recover hundreds of millions of dollars embezzled by the owners and administrators of the then-largest bank in Ecuador, Filanbanco.
White & Case LLP’s Miami office houses one of the most complete Latin America practices. From white-collar crime and investigations to international arbitration, banking and finance, and projects and energy, it has a huge and highly developed team with a major focus on the Latin America region. On the projects front, the team in Miami includes head of Latin America Carlos Viana, a leader in project finance, along with IDB Invest relationship partner Sean Goldstein, and up-and-coming yunger partner Anna Andreeva. The group have a fine background in energy projects and have carved-out a growing portion of infrastructure financings over recent years, with mandates including a series of project financings in Chile, along with metro projects in Brazil. Solar projects and 4G road refinancings have also featured in the team's caseload. Another key member of the team, Christian Hansen has particular expertise and an extensive record in the aviation finance segment in Latin America. More broadly, the Miami team is also recognised for acquisition finance, sustainability-linked financings and debt restructurings. It has a flourishing white-collar crime and investigations practice led by Michael Garcia and Maria Beguiristain, which has a major presence in FCPA violations, internal investigations and M&A due diligence; the team is increasingly active in relation to gaming, crypto and online platforms. In international arbitration, a group which includes Silvia Marchili (who divides her time between Houston and Miami), has a strong presence in commercial, construction and investor-state arbitration; the Miami team forms part of the firm's broader, market-leading Latin America arbitration practice, which has an outstanding record in energy and LNG-related arbitrations. Arbitration specialist Estefanía San Juan was elected to the partnership in January 2023.
Winston & Strawn LLP made a bold entry into the Miami market in May 2022, assembling a large and highly-credible team, many of which are primarily focused on Latin America. They have joined a larger Latin America group, primarily located in New York, and cover a broad range of disciplines from energy and infrastructure projects to corporate and M&A, financial services and fintech, dispute resolution, and bankruptcy and restructuring. The New Miami office is led by highly-rated corporate and M&A partner Enrique Martin, who – along with long-term colleague Nicholas Rodríguez – has built an impressive practice in cross-border M&A, private equity and fund formation; the pair also work extensively in conjunction with New York partners Talbert Navia and Allen Miller. The Miami corporate team has already built a steady pipeline of inbound and outbound M&A and private equity engagements, including in the energy and infrastructure segments. The group also has a burgeoning presence in venture capital investments, notably in blockchain and digital assets. In the projects and energy field, senior figure Richard Puttré has an impressive background in representing Spanish construction companies and other sponsors. In financial services, the firm has built a substantial group covering bank regulatory, financings, fintech, payments and digital assets; various of the practitioners in the group have held senior in-house legal positions, including prominent name Carl Fornaris, while Juan Azel provides further senior-level financial services and regulatory expertise. Kimberly Prior and Daniel Stabile co-head the digital assets and blockchain technology group. In the bankruptcy and restructuring segment, Craig Rasile is immensely experienced; and Gustavo Membiela is a prominent name in Latin America investigations and international arbitration. Foreign legal advisor Isabelle Ferrarini Bueno is an emerging talent; she is dual-qualified in Brazil and New York.
- Advised Total Play Telecommunications, based in Mexico, on its $45m bridge financing from Barclays.
- Represented Chilean airline Sky in connection with the negotiation of documentation relating to the sale and leaseback of various CFM International aircraft engines with Engine Lease Finance Corporation.
- Advised Paysafe – as M&A and financial regulatory counsel – on its acquisition of SafetyPay.