Greenberg Traurig to target Israeli clients with launch of Tel Aviv base

US firm Greenberg Traurig is set to become the first foreign law firm to open an office in Israel staffed by full-time lawyers after announcing a launch in Tel Aviv.

The firm has had an Israel practice for 10 years co-led by Miami-based global corporate and securities head Gary Epstein, who will be transferring part-time to the new base in the Israeli city, splitting his time between Tel Aviv and Miami.

Miami corporate partner Robert Grossman, who also co-heads the Israel practice, will be following suit alongside Miami of counsel Meital Stavinsky. The office is set to open in January.

The firm plans to expand the office above and beyond the three key figures by hiring five full-time partners and associates from local firms. As the firm will not practise Israeli law, it will not be competing against the established Israeli firms.

“We hope to grow as American and UK attorneys with Israeli clients learn about the opportunity we offer,” Epstein said in a statement.

The firm already has space in Tel Aviv that functions as a business development base and a location for foreign partners to use when in the country on business.

New York-based CEO Richard Rosenbaum said the firm originally launched its Israel practice to help the country’s businesses out during the dot-com downturn and the height of the Middle East conflict and found that it evolved into a significant business.

“Notwithstanding all the challenges, it’s a vibrant economy,” he said.

“If you’re in Israel, given the size of the country, it’s really important to access the rest of the world. We felt that if we had a presence on the ground, we would really be able to help Israeli companies access the rest of the world,” he added.

A number of firms without full-time staffed bases in Israel already have groups focusing on the country’s market, including Berwin Leighton Paisner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case.