Miami, Fla., January 08, 2014 – Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP (AADS), a leading South Florida boutique corporate and real estate transactional law firm, announced the promotion of founding associate, Aracely Alicea, to the position of partner.
“From the beginning, we knew that having Aracely with us would be essential to the long-term success of Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira,” said Partner Pedro “Tony” Alvarez. “Her client-first approach, dedication to providing superior legal services and creative legal thinking sets her apart from her peers, and I’m so glad she chose to work with us at our founding. Today, no one could be more deserving of this promotion.”
Ms. Alicea focuses on international and domestic transactions and has represented clients with business and investment interests in Florida, Puerto Rico and other jurisdictions in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Her legal experience includes mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, asset-backed financings, bank transactions and general corporate and commercial advisory matters. She regularly represents investors, entrepreneurs and start-up companies in the areas of technology, renewable energy and other green industries. Most recently, her work with a Miami-based technology services company that provides turnkey solutions for stored value account and prepaid card services has set her apart in a cutting-edge segment of the market – the rapidly evolving payment technology solutions field.
Aracely is a member of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar, as well as a member of the American Bar Association and its Business Law Section and Young Lawyers Division. She provides corporate/transactional pro bono legal services for local not-for-profit organizations, such as the Miami Children’s Museum and Catalyst Miami, and has supported the United Way of Miami-Dade as a Young Leader. She currently holds a leadership position with the Junior League of Miami (JLM), a women-focused educational and charitable organization; and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Catalyst Miami, a non-profit organization advancing civic engagement in Miami. In addition, she is involved with the Brown Club of Miami, her alma mater’s local alumni organization.
“In joining Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, I chose to work with a team of people who inspire and challenge me professionally as well as allow me the flexibility to be the community-focused attorney that
has always been my passion,” stated Ms. Alicea. “I am very proud that our firm is known for providing exceptional legal services, and I look forward to growing the corporate practice while furthering the firm’s presence and positive impact in the South Florida community.”
Prior to joining AADS, Aracely practiced in the Miami office of a global New York-based law firm where she represented private and public entities in both complex transactions and routine business law
issues. She also previously practiced at a highly regarded Florida firm where she had the opportunity to focus on bank transactions and regulatory matters affecting the banking industry.
Aracely graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Public Policy and American Institutions in 2000. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, in 2007 from the University of Miami School of Law where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif. She is fluent in both Spanish and English and is admitted to the practice of law in the State of Florida.
Miami, Fla., June 5, 2013 – Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, LLP, a leading South Florida boutique corporate-transaction law firm, continues to expand with the addition of a Private Client practice, which includes estate and wealth preservation planning, led by Partner Blas Cueto. In addition, Erik Christensen has joined the firm as an associate and will provide corporate transaction legal services.
Prior to joining Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, Blas practiced with a prominent boutique estate planning firm located in Miami, where he assisted both domestic and international clients in implementing their estate planning and taxation strategies. Blas advises clients and their families on a host of issues, specializing in estate planning, business succession planning, wealth preservation, estate and trust administration, and the implementation of meaningful charitable giving plans; including the establishment of not-for-profit entities, foundations and charitable trusts.
“Thoughtful estate planning is so much more than the distribution of assets,” said Blas Cueto. “It is the opportunity to define a legacy and establish a path forward for businesses, employees, families and charitable organizations. I believe my area of expertise is a perfect complement to the great work being done at Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, and I look forward to better serving our clients through expanded legal services.”
Blas earned his LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami School of Law in 2004. In 2003, he received his J.D. from the University of Florida, and was admitted to the Florida Bar the same year. During law school, Blas served as executive managing editor of the Florida Journal of International Law, and was an active member of the Spanish-American Law Students Association and the Law School Ambassadors Program. He graduated from the University of Miami in 2000 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. In addition to the Florida Bar, Blas is a member of the Dade County Bar Association and the Cuban-American Bar Association. He serves as class delegate for the Belen Jesuit Alumni Association and is a part of the Belen Jesuit Alumni Association Lawyers Section. Blas is also the past president of Business Networking International and was honored for his leadership winning the Most Valuable Member Award for the chapter in 2012. He was also recently recognized as a Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star.
“As we grow our practice, we look for top-caliber attorneys who possess the same commitment to personalized and cost-effective counsel,” stated Alejandro Arrieta. “We are thrilled to have Blas and Erik join our team and offer expanded legal services to our clients.” Erik Christensen has a wide range of experience that includes legal work on international and domestic transactions, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity offerings, securities and bank regulatory filings, private equity and joint venture investments as well as corporate finance and project finance matters.
Prior to joining Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, Erik was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, where he supported the Financial Institutions and Corporate Finance practices. Prior to law school, Erik negotiated broadcast media agreements for the National Basketball Association.
Erik is a member of the New York State Bar Association and New York City Bar Association, and has been actively involved in voter protection initiatives in South Florida’s Miami-Dade and Lee Counties. He is also a past director of Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto. Erik graduated from Dartmouth College in 2002, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in Russian Language. He received his J.D. in 2008 from Stanford Law School where he was the co-editor in chief of the Stanford Journal of International Law and a U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow. Erik is fluent in English and Russian, and is admitted to the practice of law in the State of Florida and the State of New York.
Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, LLP, a leading South Florida boutique law firm in South Florida providing business and real estate services, is pleased to announce the addition of H. William (Bill) Walker Jr., as “of counsel” to expand the Firm’s real estate practice group.
“Simply put, Bill is one of the most respected and experienced real estate lawyers in the Southeast United States,” stated founding partner Pedro (“Tony”) Alvarez. “His background and practice style compliment our focused, personalized approach to the delivery of business services, and he will be a proven resource to our clients . We are thrilled to have someone with his experience, integrity and stature join our team.”
Prior to joining Alvarez, Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, Mr. Walker , served as both partner and “of counsel” at the global firm White & Case, LLP since 1987. While there, Mr. Walker guided many of South Florida’s largest and most complex real estate projects, from the acquisition and disposition of signature properties, including the recent $262 million purchase of the Miami Center office tower, to planned residential communities as well as resort and hospitality properties . In addition, he handled real-estate financing , international and domestic development deals and participated in a number of complex public-private partnerships, including the landmark redevelopment of the Howard Air Force Base in Panama.
“No two real estate transactions are alike and, whether negotiating commercial development financing, site planning or a tenant lease agreement , real estate lawyers must work to understand the individual and unique needs of their clients,” stated Bill. “I have known Messrs . Alvarez, Arrieta and Diaz-Silveira for many years and have worked with them on many complex transactions . I look forward to practicing in their more personalized and focused approach.”
From 1999-2000, Mr. Walker worked as the Managing Director of the Parmenter Company, a commercial real estate development firm . He was founding partner of Walker Ellis Gragg & Deaktor from 1984-1987, and he worked at law firm of Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston , Dunwody & Cole from 1971-1984.
Mr. Walker is a recognized community leader having served many organizations in roles such as Chairman of the Board of Directors for United Way of Florida, Founding Director and Corporate Secretary of Kristi House, Founding Trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Trinity Episcopal School, Founding President and Director of the Florida Foster Care Review Project, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Easter Seal Society of Miami-Dade County, Vice Chairman and Trustee of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc.
He received his B.A from Washington and Lee University in 1968 and graduated from Washington and Lee University School of Law, summa cum laude in 1971. In addition, Mr. Walker received his Master of Divinity from the Florida Center for Theological Studies in 2009. He is A.V . Preeminent Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been recognized a “Best Lawyer in America ” since 2006 and has been rated as a Band 1 Real-Estate Attorney by Chambers & Partners.
Miami, Fla., Feb. 25, 2013 – On Thursday, Feb. 21, Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP hosted an open-house event and art sale in support of the International Kids Fund (IKF) Wonderfund™.
Firm partner and IKF board member, Alejandro Arrieta stated, “In opening our practice last year, we made a commitment to give back to those organizations that make a true difference in the lives of others. We are extremely proud of the opportunity we can provide to raise awareness and funds for work done by IKF.”
IKF’s Wonderfund™, a program of Jackson Memorial Foundation, seeks to provide life-saving or life-changing medical care to children in need. This includes international children who cannot be treated within their native country, as well as children living in the United States who, without the assistance of IKF ‘s Wonderfund™, have no options for treatment. The fund ensures these children receive the best care possible at Holtz Children’s Hospital of the University Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
Niurka Del Valle, Director of Development, International Kids Fund said, “To date, more than 600 children, primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean, have benefitted from critical surgery, life-saving treatments and essential medical care that was not available in their home countries. The donation of work by Miami-based and Latin-American artists and the generosity of local businesses like Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira make our work possible.”
Continued Arrieta, “Miami is the business gateway to the Americas. Each year, it also hosts some of the world’s finest contemporary art. As a boutique corporate transactional law firm, we are uniquely positioned to bring these concepts together in support of IKF’s Wonderfund™.”
With extensive big-law firm experience, Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP provides sophisticated legal counsel to companies, executives, family offices, entrepreneurs and other individuals in a broad range of matters such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, restructuring, financings, investments and real estate transactions.
Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP is located at 1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Suite 2110 in Miami and its attorneys can be reached at 305-740-1940 or through www.dev1-clients.teckpert.com/aadslaw.
For more information about the IKF’s Wonderfund™ or to view artwork for sale visit www.wonderfund.org.
Three more lawyers have left White & Case’s Miami office to start their own firm, joining a growing number of lawyers who have departed in recent years.
The office lost nine lawyers in the previous year, reducing its total to 81, according to numbers provided by White & Case to the Daily Business Review for its annual Review 100 survey.
The latest departing attorneys have started Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira to focus on transactions.
Pedro “Tony” Alvarez, Albert Diaz-Silveira and associate Aracely Alicea left White & Case to launch Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira two weeks ago. They were joined by former White & Case partner Alex Arrieta. Arrieta left White & Case last year to work at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson.
Alvarez, a 25-year lawyer at White & Case and a partner since 1989, said he and his colleagues decided to leave the New York-based firm because “it became the right time for us to venture out from the big firms.”
“I think it was a move that was more personal than anything else,” he said. “We all wanted to give it a try. It was now or never.”
Alvarez said their goal was to launch a transactional firm focusing on mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and deals. Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira will not handle litigation.
Eschewing the big-firm model, Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira will avoid high overhead, offer lower fees and serve clients with personalized relationships, Alvarez said.
“We are coming away from representing big institutions,” he said. “We want to build relationships and practice law the way it used to be.”
There are no immediate plans for any other White & Case lawyers to join the firm, Alvarez said, adding the split from White & Case was amicable.
The recent departures follow a string of others from White & Case over the last few years, including at least 28 in 2010 nationally. During the depths of the recession in 2008 and 2009, the firm laid off hundreds of lawyers and staff. Earlier this week, one of The Am Law 100‘s strongest bankruptcy and restructuring firms saw two New York partners leave, with Evan Hollander and Gerard Uzzi joining Arnold & Porter and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, respectively.
Sources say the Miami office is a “pass-through” office, churning out work for the New York office on behalf of wealthy Latin American clients at high fees, and some Miami lawyers there are frustrated by having little contact with clients.
A White & Case spokesperson did not return calls for comment by deadline.
Joe Ankus, a longtime legal headhunter and executive director of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants, said it’s not unusual for junior and midrange partners to leave major firms like White & Case, which ranks ninth on The Am Law 100, to spin off their own boutiques.
“The firms are reluctant to allow the junior partners to bring in below market rate business because their overhead prevents them from doing it,” Ankus said. “The biggest variable is overhead. It’s the killer. The younger partners want to bring in the second or third tier of business and grow a book of business, so they spin off a firm. I don’t think it sets off alarm bells. I think it’s consistent with them wanting to be entrepreneurial, plus they don’t have nearly the conflicts they would in a large firm.”
That doesn’t mean there doesn’t continue to be a place for the big law firms like White & Case, Ankus noted.
“The good news is these large firms have such a good reputation and such great technical expertise that the larger Fortune 500 clients love them,” he said.
White & Case saw gross revenue increase 4.1 percent to more than $1.3 billion in 2011, while profits per partner dropped 5.1 percent to nearly $1.5 million as the firm made a number of new investments and weathered a series of lateral departures and cracked down on unproductive partners. The firm’s financial restructuring group is headed by Thomas Lauria, who splits his time between Miami and New York and was named a Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2011.
The firm served as bankruptcy counsel to Major League Baseball this year in the record-setting $2.15 billion sale of the LosAngeles Dodgers.