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February 18, 2011 4:47 PM

DLA Piper Bolsters Latin American Practice with Miami, Caracas Moves

Posted by Brian Baxter

DLA Piper has opened an office in Miami with two international arbitration hires from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal. DLA also announced Friday that it was heading to Caracas via an alliance with Venezuelan firm InterJuris Abogados.

Helping DLA launch in Miami are former Squire Sanders partners Pedro Martinez-Fraga and C. Ryan Reetz, both of whom predominantly advise Latin American clients on international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. Martinez-Fraga worked at Greenberg Traurig before moving to Squire Sanders, where he has served as head of that firm's international dispute resolution practice in Florida and Latin America, according to The NLJ.

While at Squire Sanders, Martinez-Fraga and Reetz practiced with InterJuris founder Juan José Delgado, who heads his firm's energy practice, and corporate partner María Cecilia Rachadell. Both will become foreign legal consultants to DLA's new Miami office, while InterJuris will be rebranded DLA InterJuris Abogados.

DLA hopes to grow its Miami office by "aggressively expanding" with key hires that fit the firm's global platform, joint CEO Lee Miller in Chicago told The NLJ. The firm has been looking to expand its presence in Latin America since snatching Stuart Berkson, the current chair of its Latin American practice, from McDermott Will & Emery in June 2008.

The firm hired former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez as a partner for its government affairs practice in Washington, D.C., and Tampa in September 2009, and six months later opened in Brazil through an alliance with local firm Campos Mello Advogados. (Martinez ended up leaving DLA for JPMorgan Chase last July.)

Ignacio Sanchez, cochair of DLA's federal affairs and legislative practice group in Washington and Tampa, will become the new acting head of the firm's Miami office as well. The firm has signed a lease for 22,000 square feet of space at Miami's Wachovia Financial Center, which was renamed the Southeast Financial Center on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, DLA merged with its Australian alliance partner DLA Phillips Fox to become the world's largest law firm with more than 4,000 attorneys working under its banner.

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