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Miami-based Greenberg Traurig has taken its expansion plans across the pond, opening offices in Amsterdam and Zurich. The firm, which has 18 offices and 900 lawyers in the U.S., has been looking for European partners for more than three years, said president and CEO Cesar Alvarez. The new offices serve as points of entry in legal markets less “overheated” than London and where business potential is high, he said. “You don’t want to get in at the top of a bubble and ride the bubble down,” he said. “You want to get in at the bottom and ride the bubble up.” The fact that English is widely spoken in the Netherlands and that companies in that country are a significant investors in U.S. real estate and industry adds to the office’s potential and to the ease of the firm’s entry into Europe, he said. The 15-lawyer Amsterdam office will focus on such core Greenberg practice areas as corporate work, mergers and acquisitions, litigation and arbitration. That office will be co-founded by Peter Roorda, formerly a senior partner and member of the executive committee of Stibbe, a prominent law firm in the Netherlands and Belgium; Bernard Stuivinga, formerly chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ M&A tax practice in the Netherlands; and Peter van Langeveld, also a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands. The Zurich office will focus more on entertainment law, tying in with Greenberg entertainment work in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Miami, Alvarez said. The office will be started by Swiss lawyers Markus W. Barmettler and Andreas Erb. They are both international tax and entertainment lawyers with experience representing European film and television production companies that want to do business in the United States. They also have experience with U.S. entertainment companies that want to expand in the German-speaking countries. Spain and Great Britain are likely to be considered as future locations for Greenberg, Alvarez said. The firm also continues to eye domestic expansion. Last month, Greenberg Traurig opened an office in Morristown, N.J. The two new offices in Europe allow Greenberg to take its business-oriented, pragmatic legal approach into a European market that is fast shedding traditional ways, he said. Joining forces with European partners also gives the new partners easier access to do business in U.S. cities, he said. There’s another benefit for the Europeans, he added. “They get to have Cuban food with me on a regular basis,” Alvarez quipped.

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