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The New York office of Latham & Watkins has recruited a six-lawyer Latin America practice from West Coast rival O’Melveny & Myers. The group is led by corporate partner Jose W. Fernandez, who will become co-chair of Latham’s Latin America practice. Fernandez also had chaired that practice at O’Melveny and had previously served as managing partner of that firm in New York as well as a member of its policy committee. He specializes in representing corporations and financial institutions undertaking transactions in Latin America and has been involved in many of the region’s largest deals. He also has advised governments in the region on privatizations and on debt restructuring. Antonio Del Pino, who worked closely with Fernandez at O’Melveny, will also join Latham as a partner focusing on Latin American transactions. The group also includes counsel Jose Lau and three associates. Fernandez said Tuesday that his group was drawn to Latham & Watkins by its record of success in the New York market as well as its commitment to a strong Latin America practice. “It’s not a flavor of the month for them,” said Fernandez, who said Latham already boasted many elite lawyers in the field. Both Latham and O’Melveny hail from Los Angeles but have built large offices in New York.

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