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International law firm Foley & Lardner has launched a Latin American practice in Miami after hiring two lawyers from Greenberg Traurig and one from White & Case. The new practice will be led by partner Francisco Cerezo, a former Miami shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, and includes Diego Figueroa Rodriguez, who worked in Greenberg’s Boston office, and John Murphy, a 13-year veteran of White & Case’s office in Miami. Figueroa, of counsel at Greenberg, and Murphy, counsel at White & Case, join as of counsel. Figueroa has represented public issuers and underwriters in more than 45 bond issues valued at more than $19 billion. Murphy was on a legal team representing HSBC Bank USA as administrative agent on a $1 billion senior bridge loan that closed in December to Banco de Bogota, one of Colombia’s largest banks. Bill Davis, who heads Foley’s Miami office, said the firm planned to start a Latin American practice since opening the office in 2007 but was stymied by the recession. “It was very difficult to find laterals willing to move during the recession,” he said. “Now that the economy is improving, quality laterals are looking for opportunity. It’s always been part of our strategy.” The 1,000-lawyer firm has no plans to open any offices in Latin America but plans to develop business in Brazil, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, among other countries, from Miami.

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