Jackson Hwu, Jaime Guttman, Jason Stark and Juan Pablo Cappello (handout)
Three Greenberg Traurig lawyers including international shareholder Juan Pablo Cappello have left to start a business-focused Miami law firm called the Private Advising Group.
The new firm, which opened Wednesday, is in one of downtown Miami’s newest skyscrapers, Brickell World Plaza at 600 Brickell Ave.
The firm was started by Cappello, a Chilean-born lawyer who was a key member of Greenberg’s international practice; Jaime Guttman, a Greenberg senior associate who is a founding member of the Venezuelan American National Bar Association; Jason Stark, a Greenberg senior associate; and Jackson Hwu, former deputy general counsel for Miami-based Dufry, a duty-free company.
Guttman said the Private Advising firm will be one of the first law firms to accept the digital currency Bitcoin as payment for services. Clients also can pay through the firm’s website or use LawPay, an online credit card processing service.
“We want to be more of a forward-looking law firm in terms of our structure, fees and all that,” Guttman said. “The four of us have business experience prior to our legal career … so not only do we understand the law but we understand the needs of business, and we speak their language as well.”
The lawyers are part of a larger trend of attorneys leaving large law firms to start their own shops. Other Big Law refugees include Ari Tenzer and Linda Leali, formerly of White & Case; Adam Schachter and Gerald Greenberg, formerly of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson; and Elliot Kula, formerly of Greenberg Traurig.
Cappello, Stark and Hwu plan to focus on corporate and transactional work while Guttman will do domestic and international litigation and dispute resolution.
“We saw an opportunity, given the changes of the marketplace especially with technology, to gear our practice to startups and entrepreneurs,” Guttman said.
Cappello is an investor in more than 20 early-stage companies and is a co-founder of Ideame, a capital crowd-sourcing firm in Latin America, and the LAB Miami business incubator. He represented Boston Scientific in the $27 billion Guidant-Boston Scientific merger in 2006. He was executive vice president, corporate secretary and general counsel of Patagon, which he helped sell to Banco Santander for more than $750 million in 2000.