By Monika Gonzalez Mesa
Latin American investment redrew Miami’s skyline. Now it is changing the demographic for attorneys practicing international law.
High-end international transactions were once almost exclusively handled by New York attorneys, those in the field say. But that has changed over the last 15 years as Miami’s evolution into a Latin America gateway has shifted the location and demographics of the region’s international practice attorneys. Like many of the clients they woo to their firms, a majority of those now practicing international legal work in Miami are Hispanic.
Twenty or 30 years ago, if you wanted to have a practice with high-end transactions in Latin America, the bulk of that work was handled through New York. Now there is more of a balance,” said Francisco Cerezo, DLA Piper’s U.S. head of Latin America corporate. “Now there’s a significant amount of that high-end work being handled out of Miami. Lawyers that used to see New York as the only viable place for them to have a successful practice dealing with high-end Latin American transactions have found Miami to be an attractive alternative.”
Cerezo said in the past year he has handled $1.2 billion in international transactions out of Miami.
Like Cerezo, White & Case partner Carlos Viana was born and raised in Puerto Rico to Hispanic parents. He and Cerezo both headed to the continental U.S. for college, attended law schools in the Northeast and practiced in New York before moving to Miami.
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