Firms To Watch: City focus - Miami

King & Spalding launched a Miami office in February 2022 by relocating 12 partners to the city. The firm already has a strong connection to Latin America, primarily through its Houston office, and the Miami office will be a key part of its efforts to grow its international arbitration practice in the region. Henry Burnett  , Érica Franzetti  and Craig Miles   are the key international arbitration partners who are now either based in Miami or spend a significant portion of their time there. Since research concluded the partner level bench has been further expanded with the July-2022 hire of financing specialist Fradyn Suárez from Jones Day.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP announced the launch of a Miami office in May 2022. The new office mirrors the strengths of the firm in M&A and private equity, with key partner Eduardo Leal having considerable experience in Latin America deals.
At the time of writing, Sidley Austin LLP has not officially announced its opening in Miami; however, the firm lists five partners as working from the city and in July 2022 announced the hires of Latin America-focused corporate partner Juan Delgado (M&A, securities offerings and financing transactions), and his colleague, bilingual, dual-qualified (Florida/Washington DC) managing associate Axel Miranda, from Morrison Foerster, further increasing the likelihood of an imminent launch.
Squire Patton Boggs has a large team in Miami, many members of which have a Latin America-oriented practice. In this context, the office is better known for dispute resolution, white-collar crime and investigations. Raúl Mañón  is an experienced name in dispute resolution, notably acting for state-owned companies in large disputes and proceedings involving foreign investors.
Winston & Strawn LLP launched a substantial new Miami office in May 2022, bringing in a number of prominent names in the corporate and M&A, projects and energy, and compliance and investigations fields. Enrique Martin  is hugely experienced in Latin America M&A and corporate transactions; Richard Puttré  has a long track record in Latin America energy projects, especially in the renewables segment in recent years; and Gustavo Membiela  is prominent in litigation, white-collar crime and investigations. Since research concluded, the firm has made an additional heavyweight-hire to the office, bringing in Carl Fornaris , formerly co-chair of the financial regulatory & compliance group at Greenberg Traurig LLP, where he had spent much of his 30-year career; he arrives as co-chair of the firm’s financial services practice – effective July 2022.

City focus - Miami in Latin America: International firms

Miami’s status as a natural gateway to Latin America has never been more evident. As a commercial, financial and legal centre, Miami has served as a key focal point for investment into Latin America. More recently, capital flows into South Florida from Latin America have risen enormously, with many wealthy individuals looking to protect their wealth by investing in US-based assets or looking to emigrate to Florida; this has become especially noticeable following further political volatility in jurisdictions such as Chile. Real estate prices in Miami have risen enormously with Florida’s favourable tax rates being another attraction to Latinos and US citizens alike. The city’s vibrancy is is very much reflected in substantial growth in the legal market with not only major US firms such as King & Spalding LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP recently launching offices there, but also the opening of smaller rep offices by a number of Latin American firms to channel US in-bound wrk from their respective jurisdictions, the most high-profile example being that of Chile’s Carey. Many of the firms that have entered the city in recent years have established Latin America-facing teams there.

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP is headquartered in Miami and has longstanding links to Latin America. It covers an impressive range of matters in the region, from trade and sanctions issues in Cuba and Venezuela, to inbound and outbound investments in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Chair of the Latin America and Caribbean practice Luis Pérez was appointed co-office managing partner of the Miami office in January 2022, underscoring the importance of  engagement with the region to both the office and the wider firm. The Miami office has a fine record in disputes involving Latin American entities, including litigation and arbitration (notably both International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and American Arbitration Association (AAA)) proceedings held in Miami: the firm primarily acts for investors in arbitration proceedings. Pedro Freyre, chair of the international practice, remains an authority on trade and sanctions issues in Cuba, especially defending clients in cases under the Helms-Burton Act and in representing clients in their investments under a more open regime. Otavio Carneiro is a leading name in Brazil inbound and outbound investment, having practised in Brazil for over 20 years; he is noted for M&A, joint ventures and investments in greenfield projects. Francisco Rodriguez, Sandra Millor and foreign legal consultant Gilberto Guerrero-Rocca left the firm in May 2022.

Practice head(s):

Luis Pérez

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP‘s investment in its Miami office as a focal point for inbound and outbound Latin America investment and other regional matters, has paid considerable dividends over recent years. Thanks to its presence in key jurisdictions across Latin America itself, the Miami office has been able to build an impressive client base, providing a solid flow of engagements in M&A, project finance, insolvency and restructuring, and regulatory enforcement and investigations, among other practice areas. Latin America M&A, capital markets and project finance specialist John Murphy recently advised Gran Americas USME Provision, GMasivo 10, and GMasivo 16 (the concessionaires in three separate bus lines in the TransMilenio network in Bogotá, Colombia), in connection with an ESG-driven $126m private placement transaction. Paul Keenan is a leading figure in Chapter 11 bankruptcies, especially in the aviation sector. Raised to the partnership in January 2022, New York and Miami-based Federico Cuadra Del Carmen is experienced in Latin America inbound and outbound M&A. Daniela Fonseca Puggina is noted for regulatory enforcement and investigations, particularly in the financial services sector.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP remains at the forefront of Latin America international arbitration, in large part thanks to the presence of co-leader of the firm’s international arbitration group Pedro Martinez-Fraga and Miami-office managing partner, Ryan Reetz. The two have extensive geographic experience across the region, including in investor-state arbitrations and commercial arbitrations, notably in ICSID and UNCITRAL proceedings. Reetz is also an experienced litigator in cases involving Latin American corporates and sovereign states. Martinez-Fraga is highly rated for investor-state disputes and has represented a number of Latin American sovereigns, including the Federated Republic of Brazil and Republics of Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile and Ecuador.

Carlton Fields

Carlton Fields has continued to develop its Latin America practice with its principal focus on inbound transactions from Latin America to the US. The firm represents a range of medium and large family-owned businesses in the region, especially in Brazil and Mexico - and to a slightly lesser degree, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile. The firm has experienced particular growth in US-investments by Mexican businesses, and is also especially active in the insurance and reinsurance sector. Robert Macaulay has an extensive record in representing Brazilian and other Latin American businesses in cross-border investments and acquisitions, along with capital markets offerings. Of counsel Andrew Markus is another seasoned Latin America transactions expert and Michael Pasano specialises in white-collar crime and investigations in the region.

Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance

Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance has continued to develop its standing in Miami, particularly in the white-collar crime and investigations field that constitutes ts core strength. In a notably unusual move, the firm made headlines in 2022 with the hire of former FBI special agents Rick Simpson and Alexander Morales; Simpson was previously supervisor of the FBI’s FCPA corruption/kleptocracy unit in Miami, while Morales spent 21 years with the FBI including lengthy spells on the ground in Latin America. They have joined a wider team of senior investigators, including Mitch Horne. The firm continues to standout for its work in obtaining declination decisions or pre-indictment resolutions in criminal investigations by the US Attorney’s Office in Miami, the DOJ and other law enforcement agencies. It remains known for representing individuals, including former or current government officials, facing allegations of corruption, money laundering, and violations of OFAC sanctions. Though best known for its connections to Venezuelans, it has achieved further traction in Mexico and Central America. Global managing partner Michael Diaz has a mighty reputation and has an outstanding record in big-ticket cases involving FCPA and OFAC violations. Robert Targ  is also highly rated for representing Latin American individuals in cases involving asset seizure, money laundering and other white-collar crime allegations. Marta Colomar-Garcia provides further experience in anti-money laundering and other white-collar cases, and Javier Coronado transferred to the Miami office from Bogota, having been promoted to partner in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Michael Diaz; Gary Davidson; Marta Colomar-Garcia

Key clients

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

Alejandro Andrade

Edoardo Orsoni

Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas

Hector Nunez

Peter Karam

Felipe Alejos

THI Medical

EMFI

Raine Chacko

Virginia Mcgowan

Samuel Tcherassi

Erik Gautier

Andrew Bernstein

Work highlights

  • Represented Alejandro Andrade, the former Treasurer of Venezuela, who will soon be 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.
  • Advised Plus Ultra and its majority shareholder Rodolfo Reyes, which are under investigation for $25m money laundering charges related to the foreign currency exchange controls in Venezuela, where bribes were allegedly paid to access preferred rates.
  • Represented Felipe Alejos, a Guatemalan congressman sanctioned by OFAC under the Global Magnitsky Act, in conducting legal efforts for OFAC to reconsider the designation of Alejos on the List of Specially Designated Nationals.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US)'s Miami office is well-connected to Latin America and has an especially strong record in M&A and corporate transactions. The Miami team works closely with the firm's seven offices in Latin America, which includes a large team in Puerto Rico. The group has established links to US corporates with interests in the region, along with multi-latinas, family offices, private equity investors and sovereigns. Francisco Cerezo is chair of the Latin America corporate and finance group, and is a prominent name in Latin America M&A and corporate deals, including acquisitions and the development of energy projects; he has also led teams on a number of significant litigation matters over the past two years. In 2021, he continued to lead the team advising Luma Energy as winning bidder in the $1.6bn public-private partnership (PPP) transaction to operate and maintain the transmission and distribution assets of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), an integral part of the transformation and modernisation of Puerto Rico’s energy system. Harout Samra is active in litigation, arbitration and investigations in the region. At associate level, dual-qualified (Puerto Rico/Flordia) Joseline Rodríguez is noted for corporate matters including cross-border M&A, joint ventures, divestitures and PPP matters.

Practice head(s):

Francisco Cerezo

Key clients

Luma Energy

Putney Capital Management

EGE Haina

Paulo Mendonca

Inicia Group

YPF

Osvaldo and Santiago Godfrid

Work highlights

  • Advised Luma Energy as winning bidder in the $1.6bn public-private partnership transaction to operate and maintain the transmission and distribution assets of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
  • Successfully represented Inicia in the Pennsylvania Superior Court in connection with a case brought by a group of 41 Dominican residents claiming that they were exposed to toxic pesticides and herbicides while working as fumigators in the sugar cane industry in the Dominican Republic.
  • Represented Putney Capital Management and other defendants in a breach of contract dispute against Ikana Holdings.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP‘s HQ-office houses one of the most fully-rounded and varied Latin America practices in Miami. It has continued to develop its geographic coverage and depth of client base, particularly in the corporate and M&A field. Along with a suite of multinational and multi-latina clients, the practice is also recognised for its work in the financial sponsor and asset manager field, which has led to growth in private equity transactions and SPAC-related deals. In a case-in-point as regards the firm’s prominence in the SPAC space, a Miami team advised Procaps Group on its business combination with Union Acquisition Corp II, resulting in the first public listing of a Colombian company in over 10 years. The Latin America group is also increasingly active in outbound deals from Latin America with clients looking to shift wealth, invest in and acquire assets in Florida and elsewhere in the US. Antonio Peña is now co-chair of the Latin America practice and has landed a series of big-ticket engagements, including SPAC deals. Yosbel Ibarra is co-managing shareholder of the Miami office and is also hugely experienced in Latin America transactions. Carol Barnhart and Emilio Alvarez-Farré also bring extensive expertise to the group, along with Giovanni Biscardi and counsel Arnaldo Rego, who are key figures in Brazil deals. Carl Fornaris is further noted for financing transactions, and financial regulatory and compliance in Latin America. Benjamin Greenberg is highly-rated for white-collar crime and investigations in the region, and Robert Downing is experienced in Latin America power and renewables projects. The return of corporate M&A practitioner Henry R Roque in August 2022 (from Holland & Knight LLP) has further strengthened the transactional bench.

GST LLP

GST LLP is a market leader in Latin America arbitrations, particularly in investor-state disputes. Historically, the firm has worked closely with Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) in numerous cases, but it has spread its geographic focus with a notable uptick in Mexico cases linked to the shift in political climate and significant growth in Colombia infrastructure disputes. Although it maintains a number of further sovereign state relationships, including Guatemala, it has achieved further traction with mid-sized corporates. It acted for Guatemala in its counterclaim in the $350m DR-CAFTA dispute with third-party funded mining investors that are seeking damages for alleged misrepresentation and a failure to meet environmental commitments. Argentine-qualified Diego Gosis has decades of experience in Latin America investor-state disputes, acting for both sovereigns and investors. Managing partner Quinn Smith is another investor-state specialist with a strong emphasis on Latin America, as is dual-qualified (Brazil/Florida) Mauricio Gomm Santos; Ignacio Torterola (also Argentine-qualified) and Peru-qualified counsel Pablo Mori provide additional Latin America arbitration expertise from the Washington DC office.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP has one of the largest teams of Latin America specialists in Miami. The team is best known for energy, infrastructure and mining projects in the region, along with large investor-state and commercial arbitrations. The practice group has close links to a number of sovereign states, major private businesses and high net-worth individuals. With offices in Brazil and Mexico, the Miami team is also notably active in Central America and South American states such as Ecuador and Chile; a team recently advised CEMEX, the Mexican building materials giant, on the sale of its operations in Costa Rica and El Salvador. Richard Lorenzo is regional managing partner for the Americas and is a leading name in international arbitration in Latin America. Daniel González and Puerto Rico born and raised Maria Ramirez are also prominent names in the arbitration field. Jorge Diaz-Silveira is managing partner of the Miami office and leads the infrastructure, energy, resources and projects group for the Americas, while José Valdivia co-chairs the Latin America group and is another hugely experienced infrastructure projects specialist; both are also active in financings, M&A and capital markets transactions.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Diaz-Silveira

Key clients

CEMEX

The Central America Bottling Corp

Glenfarne

Espiritu Santo Holdings

Alejandro Diego Diaz-Gaspar and Iberico

AES Corporation

Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de la Republica de Panama

SSK Ingenieria y Construccion

Michael Anthony Lee Chin

Work highlights

  • Advised long-time firm clients The Central America Bottling Corp, CBC Bottling Holdco and Beliv Holdco, as co-issuers on a Rule 144A/Reg.S offering of $1.1bn senior guaranteed sustainability-linked notes.
  • Represented Espiritu Santo Holdings in an 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 Mexico City.
  • Achieved a victory for Peruvian construction corporation SSK Ingenieria y Construccion in upholding a $40m arbitration award after lawyers were accused of switching sides.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP‘s Miami office is closely associated with Latin America, having a number of Latin America natives in its ranks, along with others that have deep cultural links to the region. It houses substantial teams dedicated to corporate and M&A transactions, financings and projects. International arbitration and financial services regulatory matters are also strengths of the Miami-based Latin America team. The group has impressive geographic coverage in cross-border M&A and private equity transactions, and recently advised Trivest Growth Investment Fund II (TGIF II) on its strategic growth investment in Buenos Aires-headquartered fintech software provider, Veritran. The team also advised the Mexican subsidiary of General Dynamics Information Technology on the new outsourcing regulations that came into effect in Mexico in June 2021. Norberto Quintana splits his time between Miami and New York, focusing on Latin America infrastructure, oil and gas, and energy project financings, along with debt restructurings, leveraged finance and structured finance in Colombia, Peru and other jurisdictions. Roberto Pupo chairs the Latin America group and has an extensive record in cross-border M&A in the region, as does George Mencio, private equity expert Danielle Price and Aymee Valdivia. Wilfredo Ferrer is chair of the global compliance and investigations team and has a strong record in Latin America. Jose Sirven is a versatile Latin America expert and Adolfo Jimenez an international arbitration specialist whose experience includes investor-state arbitrations. Corporate partner Alexandra Aguirre joined from Morrison Foerster in June 2022, along with tax partner Logan Gans from Shutts & Bowen LLP. This was followed by the arrival of international tax specialist Eduardo Arista (as a partner in the private wealth services team) in August, but corporate/transactional partner Henry R Roque exited the same month.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP's Latin America practice is primarily located in Miami, where it has an outstanding record in Brazil financings, especially bilateral and syndicated loans. It is also at the forefront of aviation finance and has further capabilities in sovereign bond offerings (notably for the Republic of Paraguay), and extensive expertise in cross-border M&A, including inbound and outbound transactions between Latin America and the US. Amy Dulin is a big name in bilateral and syndicated loans to major Brazilian businesses, acting for a range of international investment banks; Emilio Saiz is another emerging talent in Brazil financings, having been elevated to partner in 2021. Co-chair of the Latin America team, Federico Goudie was raised in Brazil and has represented the Republic of Paraguay for over 20 years, recently representing the state on its $500m sovereign bond offering. His fellow co-chair, Ruben Diaz specialises in cross-border investment and M&A, and Mark Denham  is at the forefront of the aviation finance field; he advised United Airlines on its landmark $10.75bn senior secured debt financing, involving substantially all slots, routes and gate leaseholds in Latin America. Luis O’Naghten is a key partner for international arbitration in the region, particularly acting for multinationals in investor-state arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Federico Goudie; Ruben Diaz

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP's core Latin America team is based in Miami, led by the hugely respected Fernando Alonso. Like Alonso, the Miami group is versatile and multi-talented, operating across the M&A, financing and projects fields, among others. The group has an especially strong record in the financial services sector, having advised on a series of landmark M&A transactions over the years. The group has also made its mark in digital infrastructure and subsea cable-system projects. In particular, the practice has achieved prominence in Central America, although is active throughout the region, including in Ecuador, Brazil and other jurisdictions.  Uriel Mendieta is another multi-faceted lawyer, covering M&A, financings and sanctions engagements, among other matters. Fernando Margarit is a leader in the specialist niche of subsea cable-system projects. Gustavo Membiela left the firm in May 2022.

Practice head(s):

Juan Enjamio

Key clients

Banco de Sabadell

Diageo

Banco Santander International

Banco Santander

Banco de la Producción

Corporación Interamericana para el Financimiento de Infraestructura

Inter-American Investment Corporation

Banco Promerica

Work highlights

  • Advised Nicaraguan group PLP on the acquisition of a controlling interest in Payless Shoesource and its affiliates.
  • Represented Banco de la Producción (Produbanco), as lender and borrower, in multiple transactions.
  • Advised Banco Santander on its acquisition of Crédit Agricole group’s global wealth management business, Indosuez Wealth Management.

Jones Day

Jones Day has assembled a significant Latin America-focused team in Miami, primarily handling M&A, projects, investigations and disputes. It has an especially strong record in energy and infrastructure projects and transactions, most notably in the renewable energy field. The Miami office also houses a strong banking and finance team -formerly led by Fradyn Suárez  – which represents a number of major commercial lenders and Latin American borrowers; recent work included advising Millicom International Cellular on a bridge loan facility with a syndicate of commercial banks to finance the acquisition of the remaining 45% equity interest in Millicom’s joint venture businesses in Guatemala. On the corporate transactions and M&A front, the Miami team, which includes Nicholas Rodríguez and Luis Vélez, is part of a highly successful Latin America M&A group located across the firm’s offices in Sao Paulo, Mexico City and New York. In the government enforcement and investigations field, Cristina Pérez Soto is an experienced figure; she leads the litigation group in Miami, with Ricardo Puente and Eliot Pedrosa providing additional senior-level Latin America litigation and arbitration expertise. However, Enrique Martin and Richard Puttré moved to Winston & Strawn LLP 's new Miami office in May 2022; and since research concluded, Suárez has moved to King & Spalding, effective as of July 2022.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates‘s Miami office has strong connections to Latin America, primarily through key partner Christopher Tillson, a genuine Latin America specialist who is able to negotiate and draft documents in Spanish. His expertise ranges from cross-border M&A, to infrastructure and renewable energy projects, and commercial arrangements in multiple Latin American jurisdictions.

Kennedys

Kennedys is at the forefront of the insurance and reinsurance market in Latin America. It has multiple offices in the region, opening two more associate offices in Bolivia and Ecuador during 2022, with its Miami office operating as the firm’s Latin America hub. Although primarily known for its insurance and reinsurance work, the firm is increasingly active in corporate and commercial matters. The Miami team is also building its presence in the regulatory and compliance segments, along with an uptick in cyber insurance policies and political risk matters. Colombia has become a strong reinsurance market for the firm and it is rapidly building its name in insurtech, especially in Brazil and Chile. Anna Weiss, regional managing partner for Latin America and the Caribbean, is rated for corporate and commercial engagements, along with construction and engineering. Alex Guillamont is an experienced figure in Latin America insurance and reinsurance, and Jedidiah Vander Klok is a key name for cyber risk work.

Kobre & Kim

Kobre & Kim has an outstanding global reputation in white-collar criminal and government enforcement cases, and it has brought this expertise to Latin America, primarily through its Miami and Sao Paulo offices. The sizeable Miami team represents  a range of individuals, executives and former government officials in white-collar and enforcement cases. Evelyn Sheehan and Adriana Riviere-Badell have impressive records in FCPA, anti-corruption and money laundering cases in Latin America, along with trusts and estates disputes and general civil litigation. Gabriela Ruiz has expertise in dual proceedings in the US and Latin America involving fraud and bribery allegations.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

McDermott Will & Emery LLP‘s Miami team advises a multitude of Latin American corporates, wealthy individuals and family offices (particularly those based in Brazil), while also managing a broader array of work from around the region. Much of the team’s practice is centred on inbound investments and divestments in the US, especially in the Florida real estate segment, along with the creation and formation of funds that enable these investments. It is also active in cross-border wealth planning and investments for US-based individuals with interests and assets in Latin America. Michael Silva is chair of the Miami tax group and co-chair of the Latin America team, and specialises in tax and funds formation with a particular focus on Brazil. Steven Hadjilogiou provides further international tax and real estate expertise, along with Arianne Plasencia and counsel Ryan Coyle.

Practice head(s):

Michael Silva

Work highlights

  • Represented a Miami-based real estate developer owned by Latin American family in matters involving a complex series of transactions.

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster launched its Miami office in 2019 and made an immediate impact with its representation of SoftBank Latin America Fund in a number of deals. The Miami team has an extensive record in M&A, private equity, venture capital and growth company investments. The office’s prominence is in part down to the presence of senior name Randy Bullard, co-chair of the Latin America department, who is well connected amongst the Miami and Latin American business communities, particularly in the tech sector, along with financial services, telecommunications, media, entertainment and other industries. The Miami team has attracted a range of other corporate and financial sponsor clients; it advised Uber Technologies on its acquisition of a majority stake in Cornershop, the Chilean grocery delivery company.  Ludovica Gardani is an up-and-comer of note from the associate bench. However, Alexandra Aguirre left the firm in June 2022, as did Juan Delgado and associate Axel Miranda the following month.

Practice head(s):

Randy Bullard

Key clients

SoftBank

PetLove Cayman

Belcorp

HJM International

Inchcape

Peninsula Management South Florida

Genius Sports Group

Banco Inter

Vertical Bridge Holdings

Visa

Volpe Capital

WE Family Offices

Wizeline

Grupo Terra/Fundación Nasser para el Desarrollo Educativo de Centroamerica

Uber Technologies

Work highlights

  • Advised Uber Technologies on its acquisition of a majority stake in Cornershop, the Chilean grocery delivery company.
  • Advised SoftBank Latin America Fund on its joint venture with WeWork, involving the exclusive right to operate the WeWork brand in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.
  • Advised PetLove, the largest digital ecosystem for pet owners in Brazil, on its combination with Health for Pet, the animal health insurance provider.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has built-out its Latin America practice in recent years with a much greater focus on Brazil’s start-up, growth company and venture capital sector. The Miami team is home to a number of Brazilian natives, including co-head of the Latin America group Jackson Hwu, along with Leandro Molina and Caio Prado. The group is well-attuned to the growing flow of capital out of Brazil into Florida and elsewhere in the US, acting for a number of Brazilian clients in outbound investments; the team represented B3-listed Brazilian healthcare services provider, Qualicorp, in an M&A and VC deal involving the purchase of a stake in Escale Health in the US. The Latin America team also has a strong record in Central America and the Caribbean. John Haley is the other co-head of the Latin America team and is an experienced figure in energy and infrastructure transactions.

Practice head(s):

John Haley; Jackson Hwu

Key clients

Qualicorp

SpinPay

SoftBank

Boulevard Turistico del Atlantico

Autopistas del Nordeste

CyberLabs AI Holdings

AdMobilize and Matrix Labs

Mandae Technologies

Social Miner

W Dental

Dynamo VC (Santosh Sankar) as lead investor and Zenda (Esteban Reyes) as co-lead investor

Work highlights

  • Advised Autopistas del Nordeste, Boulevard Turistico del Atlantico and their respective sponsors (Grupo Odinsa and Consorcio Remix) in connection with the sale of the Autopistas del Nordeste and Boulevard Turistico del Atlantico Toll Road projects and related concessions back to the Government of the Dominican Republic.
  • Acted as co-counsel for Jaguar Fund No.1 in connection with the acquisition of Telefonica Moviles El Salvador.
  • Represented Qualicorp, the Brazilian healthcare services provider listed on the Brazilian stock exchange, in an M&A and VC deal involving the purchase of a stake in Escale Health in the US.

PAG Law

PAG Law is a leader in advising the founders of venture-backed companies in Latin America. Much of the practice centres on Web 3.0, blockchain, digital securities and cryptocurrencies. Although based in Miami and New York, the firm is primarily focused on Latin America with many of its lawyers being either natives of the region or having lived or worked there; several are dual-licensed in the US and a Latin America jurisdiction. Brazil is currently its principal market, followed by Mexico and Colombia; the firm also has a long history with Argentina. It has worked with some of the most successful growth companies, including tech unicorns, advising start-ups throughout their lifecycles, including later stage financings, and has advised on venture capital raisings up to the $500m range. A former Greenberg Traurig LLP shareholder for over a decade, Juan Pablo Cappello has inordinate knowledge of Latin America and is a prominent start-up/growth-company specialist lawyer and co-founder of a number of emerging businesses. Indicative of the firm’s overall growth, it hired two senior lawyers to its New York and Miami offices in 2022, including the experienced Ricardo Beller, formerly a longstanding partner at Argentina’s Marval O’Farrell Mairal. More recently, it has consolidated this growth with the incorporation of Esteban J Elias (formerly founder partner of Awad & Elías in Chile), and Bernardo Tamez (founder of Mexico’s LegalmindMX), both of whom join the Miami office.

Practice head(s):

Juan Pablo Cappello

Polsinelli PC

Polsinelli PC continues to develop its involvement in the Latin America region the the 2020 hire of Emil Infante as practice head constituting a sizeable step forward. He and the team have landed a string of inbound cross-border investments from Latin America to the US, most notably in the real estate and healthcare sectors. The group is particularly active in representing Mexican family-owned businesses and investors, along with clients in multiple other Latin American jurisdictions. While cross-border M&A dominates, the group is also active in anti-corruption and government enforcement matters for clients that have come under the microscope following the uptick in investigations around the region. Complimenting the foregoing sectoral engagement in the region, the practice also handles a range of tax and wealth planning engagements for Latin American clients.

Practice head(s):

Emil Infante

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP‘s Miami outpost provides extensive expertise in investor-state and commercial arbitrations. A well-known figure in arbitral circles, David Orta splits his time between Miami and Washington DC, frequently representing foreign investors in investment arbitrations against Latin American states, as well as acting for Latin American businesses in commercial arbitration. He has also represented a series of co-plaintiffs in multibillion-dollar disputes involving Latin America.

Practice head(s):

David Orta

Key clients

Gordon G. Burr, et al.

Alicia Grace, Ampex Retirement Master Trust, Apple Oaks Partners; Cambria Ventures; Carlos Williamson-Nasi, Axis Oil Field Services

Otto Candies, et al.

Julio Miguel Orlandini-Agreda; Compañía Minera Orlandini

Peruvian Sporting Goods, Rodrigo Xavier Ribadeneira Parducci, Superdeporte Plus Peru

Work highlights

  • Represented 38 US investors in an international investment arbitration against Mexico under Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Represented Oro Negro’s US and European shareholders in a cross-border billion-dollar dispute arising from Oro Negro’s bankruptcy, with litigations ongoing in México, the US, and Singapore.
  • Represented a large consortium of plaintiffs, comprised of a bank, investment funds, and shipping companies in a billion-dollar lawsuit regarding the largest financial fraud in the history of Latin America.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP has expanded its Latin America team in Miami in recent times, most recently with the hire of partners Francisco Rodriguez and Sandra Millor, and foreign legal consultant Gilberto Guerrero-Rocca, from Akerman LLP in May 2022. The three bring extensive Latin America dispute resolution expertise, including in investor-state and commercial arbitrations. In the corporate and M&A field, the office also hired senior lawyer Luis Perez as a partner from Hogan Lovells US LLP in May 2022; along with M&A, Perez has a fine record in renewables and infrastructure. These recent arrivals build on the office’s pre-existing expertise in energy and natural resources transactions and disputes, notably representing a range of multinationals and multi-latinas. Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are the key markets for the Miami team, which is also active in Chile, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica. Previously, the firm has hired senior Brazil disputes specialist Felipe Berer in 2020, who is further noted for energy and infrastructure disputes involving Brazilian entities. These new hires have joined a wider team, featuring international arbitration leader José Astigarraga and key partner Cristina Cárdenas, along with counsel Eduardo De la Peña Bernal. Jonathan Kurry, another recent lateral hire, brings further expertise in real estate transactions and real estate finance involving Latin American capital.

Rivero Mestre LLP

Rivero Mestre LLP is a seven partner, 20-lawyer strong disputes firm that covers the gamut of contentious matters from commercial, class action, IP and securities/financial services litigation and international arbitration, to white-collar defence and internal investigations. Recently named Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Latin America & Caribbean Committee, co-founding partner Jorge Mestre is qualified in Washington DC, Florida and New York, and focuses exclusively on commercial litigation. Fellow co-founding partner Andrés Rivero also focuses on commercial litigation, along with white-collar defence; he is qualified in Florida and multiple appellate circuits, including DC. Both are English/Spanish bilingual and lead a deep bench with considerable experience in disputes and investigations in, or related to, Latin America. Recent matters include successful international arbitration on behalf of a Guatemalan bank.

Practice head(s):

Jorge A Mestre

Shutts & Bowen LLP

Shutts & Bowen LLP 's Miami office services an increasing number of Latin America engagements, particularly inbound investments into South Florida real estate and pre-immigration tax planning matters. Due to further political instability in Latin America, notably in Chile and Peru, the Miami office has experienced further business growth from private and institutional clients. Colombia, Argentina and Brazil also continue to be important markets for the firm. Aside from the flight of capital from Latin America, the Miami office consistently works on tax compliance matters for its Latin American client base. Peter Lagonowicz is co-chair of the tax and international practice group and chair of the Latin America practice; he has a broad-based practice in the region and also specialises in representing Major League Baseball players from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Tax specialist Logan Gans moved to Holland & Knight LLP in June 2022.

Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson PA

Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson PA has a well developed Latin America practice covering contentious and transactional disciplines. It is frequently engaged in litigation, arbitration and investigations involving Latin American entities. The firm has an extensive record on both inbound and outbound Latin America investments and M&A, and is experienced in tax-driven structures and estate planning for Latin American entities and individuals. Experienced litigator Carlos Canino leads the team. Gustavo Oliveira has left the firm in January 2022.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has one of the largest and most successful Miami-based Latin America teams. The Miami office operates as a hub for the region with highly acclaimed projects and finance lawyer Carlos Viana   at the helm of the Latin America practice group. Much of the practice’s caseload is driven by financings (including aviation finance), restructurings and projects engagements, along with a steady pipeline of white-collar crime and investigations matters. The team has advised on a series of solar power projects in Chile, along with renewable energy projects in Mexico and other energy projects in Colombia. Sean Goldstein   has an extensive record in infrastructure and renewable projects in multiple jurisdictions including Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Jeanine Acevedo  is another leading practitioner in energy and infrastructure, including PPP projects. Christian Hansen   is a leading name in aviation and asset-backed financings in the region, and Anna Andreeva   is also noted for asset-backed financings, bank lending and project financings. Additionally, dual-qualified (Florida/New York) corporate finance counsel Karen Katri  was raised to the partnership in October 2022. In the white-collar crime and investigations field, the Miami office houses Michael Garcia   and Maria Beguiristain  , notable figures in investigations and government enforcement actions in Brazil, Mexico, Central America and Ecuador.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Viana