Greenberg Traurig LLP set out to provide an alternative to some of the traditional New York law firms, directing its efforts towards delivering a more cost-effective and client-centric approach without compromising on quality. Five decades on, and this focus has remained the same, enabling the firm to maintain close and long-standing relationships with some of the most important multinationals and family-run businesses operating in the region.
With its origins in Miami, the firm has long been inextricably linked to Latin America and for that reason, its offering is extensive and well-established. The outfit is best known for its strong corporate, M&A and banking and finance practices, but it also counts a solid disputes and investigations group, and the depth and diversity of the offering has been key to its success in the region and its ability to stay active during slower periods. Its client-centric approach is appreciated by clients, who praise the firm’s commercial outlook, as well as its flexibility and agility in providing services.
The last three years have arguably been the busiest for Greenberg’s Latin America practice, both in terms of the number of transactions but also the breadth of engagements. From handling major acquisitions and joint ventures and leading multi-million-dollar funding rounds, to managing complex litigation and tax matters, Greenberg’s capabilities span a wide range of practices and industries.
Most recently, the firm has witnessed an uptick in work form clients looking to diversify their investments as the region continues to grapple with uncertainty. It also continues to be a prominent name for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in the region, where it regularly represents underwriters, targets and sponsors, as well as the SPACs themselves, in various initial public offerings. Added to this, the team has seen a significant rise in the number of deals relating to the technology sector, and in particular the fintech and proptech sectors, drawing on its highly-regarded expertise in both banking and real estate.
Greenberg’s Latin America practice has grown carefully, and the team has been much more focused on consolidating its offering, as well as expanding both the quality and reach of its expertise. Over the past year, the firm has continued to add to its corporate, M&A and tax offering in the region through a string of lateral hires and recently established a labour and employment practice in Mexico with the appointment of a partner and six associates from fellow outfit Holland & Knight (Mexico).
A clear part of the business plan for years has been to hire talent with Latin American heritage, or even those who are from the region and dual-qualified. Greenberg is notable for the depth of its cultural understanding of the region, which it has cultivated over more than half a century.
The firm’s strategic view of the region continues to take a heavily business-minded approach, shifting its focus to areas that are predicted to see a lot of activity. In Mexico, the office has sought to add specialists in complex regulatory areas and benefits from an experienced telecoms group manned by the former undersecretary of communications. Greenberg has also been making inroads in Brazil, where it is looking to better support the growth of clients. Another area where the firm sees opportunity is in representing Latin American clients looking to diversify their investment portfolio by entering the US.
The Latin America practice group is co-chaired by José Raz Guzmán in Mexico, Marc Rossell in New York and Antonio Peña, who was recently appointed to help lead the practice from Miami. The decision to spread the leadership across these bases is indicative of a wider directive for the practice to draw on a broader spread of talent from across the firms’ network of offices. The quality of the Mexico City office has driven a lot of success for the firm, with deep expertise in corporate finance, antitrust and real estate. Miami and New York remain integral to the offering, but other offices in the US are rising to the fore. For example, the Minneapolis outpost focuses on opportunities between the US and Brazil in the agribusiness sector. Houston remains a solid and comprehensive practice with several key strengths that give it an edge.
Leveraging the decades of experience in the region, the firm also counts on a strong network of law firms as allies, while former alumni from Greenberg’s extensive foreign association programme have also allowed it to maintain valuable resources on the ground throughout the region.
Greenberg deserves recognition for its contribution to pro bono and diversity initiatives in Latin America. The Mexico office is a frontrunner for pro bono in that country, as well as the region more generally, and has done important work strengthening Mexican civic organisations on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development. Antonio Peña was also behind a diversity initiative with the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s Inter-American Chapter, aimed at promoting inclusion in the US and Latin American business communities.
The practice group is chaired by partners based in Miami, New York and Mexico City. Washington, DC plays a role, particularly in trade. The firm is notable for bringing in talent from any of its broad range of offices in the US (especially Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston) and elsewhere when needed.