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Miami’s Ferrell Schultz Carter Zumpano & Fertel is hanging its green and gold shingle in a new foreign capital — Panama City. Earlier this year, the 70-attorney law firm, which focuses on serving high net worth individuals and institutions, opened offices in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Beirut and the Bahamas. Counting its new office in more prosaic Aventura, Fla., Ferrell Schultz has opened six new outposts this year. In Panama City, Ferrell Schultz is following the model it has used in its other foreign offices, partnering with the Panamanian law firm Galindo Arias & Lopez. Opened in 1968, Galindo Arias has 10 attorneys and practices in a range of areas. Joseph I. Zumpano, managing partner of Ferrell Schultz, said that in Panama his firm plans to focus on admiralty, shipping, import-export, international tax and corporate law. “Many deals take place through Panama because of the canal and its geographic location in Central America,” Zumpano said. “This will also be a hub office for us in the region by allowing us to serve clients in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.” Over the past two years, Ferrell Schultz has expanded rapidly, tripling its office space in Miami and mushrooming from 12 lawyers to 70 currently. Underlying its foreign expansion is an assumption by the firm that Miami will increasingly serve as the center of commerce for the Caribbean and Latin America. “I am convinced Miami will be the hub,” Zumpano said. In Panama and its other offices, Ferrell Schultz is seeking to encourage and facilitate commerce streaming into the U.S. For example, after opening an office in economically devastated Buenos Aires in March, the firm conducted seminars for wealthy Argentines in which it touted immigration, real estate and corporate services for those interested in moving to or investing in the United States. In carrying out its plan, Ferrell Schultz is banking on a model in which it opens an office next to its partner’s office abroad, and reciprocally has its partner open an office in Ferrell Schultz’s Miami office. Ferrell Schultz handles U.S. legal matters while the foreign-based firm handles legal issues for its particular country. The firm’s downtown Miami office currently houses the Chilean law firm Vial y Palma and the Argentine firm Allende & Brea. Zumpano said the firm’s offices on three floors of the Miami Center will be occupied by more foreign law firms in coming months. Next year, Ferrell Schultz plans to open five more offices by partnering with firms in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Washington, D.C., Zumpano said. Augmenting this expansion, Zumpano said the firm is now drawing up plans to invest in an internal network that will link all of its and its partners’ offices by video. Many South Florida attorneys have wondered how the high-flying Ferrell Schultz, with its lavish penthouse office, in-house gourmet chef and white-gloved waiters, can thrive in the increasingly competitive, cost-conscious legal market. Zumpano declined to give any specifics regarding the firm’s financial condition but maintained that the firm is doing very well. “All economic indicators are the healthiest they have ever been,” Zumpano said, adding that the firm is paying its employees generous bonuses this year.

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