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Virginia firm Hunton & Williams is doubling the size of its Miami office with a team of six partners from Greenberg Traurig.
The corporate team, which represents half of the practice from the Miami office of Florida firm Greenberg Traurig, will ramp up Hunton & Williams' ability to tap work in the Central and South American markets.
The team of partners is led by Carlos Loumiet, who was chairman of international and banking practices at Greenberg Traurig. He will become co-head of Hunton & Williams' international practice and will head the Florida business practice group.
The other five partners are corporate lawyers Fernando Alonso, Alberto Hernandez, Roberto Pupo, Enrique Martin and Fernando Margarit.
Hunton & Williams managing partner Thurston Moore says: "We opened in Miami two years ago as part of filing out our strategic focus on our national litigation practice in the US and our international project finance practice. We felt that strategically we didn't need to have a presence in South and Central America but having an office in Miami is very helpful as it's a gateway to that market."
The firm's clients who are active in South America already include Bacardi, Diageo, Carnival Cruise Lines and Enron.
The new team has worked for companies such as Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica and Terra Lycos, Telefónica's joint venture with internet group Lycos, but Moore declines to comment on which clients will move with the team.
The group increases the numbers of lawyers in the office from 25 to nearly 50.
Moore says: "This group can give us a truly leading corporate securities M&A practice in Florida. It can give us a similarly leading practice in the Latin American inbound and outbound corporate world, and it can give us a very strong technology practice which complements what we are doing in Atlanta, North Virginia and New York."
Hunton & Williams is concentrating on building its international practice, focusing on cross-border M&A and project finance work. The firm opened a London office 18 months ago when project finance partners Jane Templeton-Knight and Mark Frewin joined from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.
In January, the firm's merger talks with City firm Watson Farley & Williams collapsed for a second time. The firms had considered a marriage in 1999, but plans have now been abandoned (The Lawyer, 8 January).