Legal Business Blogs

Welcome to Miami: Kirkland and Winston open in Florida as Willkie targets Frankfurt capital markets

Winston & Strawn and Kirkland & Ellis have boosted their profiles on the US east coast by opening Miami offices, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher has continued its recent expansion in Frankfurt by establishing a capital markets practice.

Fresh off the back of becoming the first law firm to surpass $6bn in annual global revenue, Kirkland is looking to use the new Miami office to further its goal of attracting the best legal talent.

Corporate partners Jeremy Liss, Matthew Arenson, Jeffrey Swatzell (all Chicago) and Eduardo Leal (New York) are to launch the practice, which is set to open its doors this summer.

Jon Ballis, chairman of the executive committee, commented: ‘We are excited about the opportunity that Miami offers: a vibrant and growing business community where talent and capital are moving at a rapid pace. Kirkland’s ability to attract, train and retain the best legal talent is key to our continued success, and being present where that talent wants to be is critical.’

In April it was revealed that the Chicago-bred powerhouse had added $1.2bn to its top line to remain the world’s highest grossing law firm, as turnover surged 25% from $4.83bn to $6.042bn.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) also spiked 19%, increasing from $6.2m to $7.38m and revenue per lawyer also saw double-digit growth, from $1.8m to just shy of $2m.

Meanwhile, Winston & Strawn’s new office marks the firm’s largest expansion in five years. It will be initially staffed by six new lateral recruits. M&A partner Enrique Martin has joined from Jones Day and is to lead the office, while commercial litigators David Coulson and Gustavo Membiela have come over from Greenberg Traurig and Hunton Andrews Kurth respectively. Richard Puttré from Hogan Lovells will chair the Latin America projects group while Kimberly Prior and Daniel Stabile have joined from Shutts & Bowen to collectively lead the digital assets and blockchain technology team.

Enrique Martin said: ‘Miami’s unique position as a magnet for capital from across the globe makes it a vibrant forum for complex transactional and litigation work. Winston has an outstanding reputation in both areas. I am proud to be one of the initial partners of Winston in Miami, and I look forward to contributing to the office’s rapid growth and success.’

Talbert Navia, co-head of Latin America, added: ‘As supply chain issues continue to drive the need for cross-border trade with Latin America, we are seeing a corresponding need for clarity on a wide range of matters related to regulation, litigation, and capital flows. Miami represents the ideal location from which to address these and other business challenges on behalf of clients across the Americas.’

Elsewhere, Willkie has expanded its capital markets practice into its Frankfurt office.

Simon Weiss and Joseph Marx have joined the firm to lead the new offering, having previously worked at McDermott Will & Emery. Weiss, who has experience working in Germany and the US, advises on IPOs, equity-linked transactions and investment grade and high-yield bond offerings. Marx’s expertise include accelerated primary and secondary offerings, Rule 144A transactions, US registered offerings and private placement transactions.

The arrivals are the latest in a spree of hires in the region that has seen the New York-led outfit bring in over ten partner and counsel laterals in recent years.

Frankfurt lead, Georg Linde, said: ‘In the space of only two years we have added a number of new practices to our German offering, including real estate, litigation, restructuring, employment and regulatory law, while continuing to expand our private equity and M&A capabilities. Simon and Joe are well-known and talented practitioners. They will serve as the core of our new German capital markets practice, which will be a valuable resource to the expanding needs of our clients in Germany and across the firm.’