Slowly growing its new Miami office, Jones Day has snagged Rafael Aguilar, former co-chair of Akerman Senterfitt's Latin American and Caribbean practice.

Aguilar started two weeks ago as a partner in Jones Day's Miami office, which opened in May. Before joining Akerman in Miami, he practiced in New York at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Aguilar, 43, said he was intrigued by the office startup opportunity.

"Probably the most significant factor was the opportunity to open an office in Miami for one of the largest and best law firms in the world, working with people I knew from before and considered to be like-minded in reputation in the community and their focus on Latin America, where my practice really resides," he said. "A lot of the work I do is inbound investment. Plus the fact that Jones day has international offices would enhance my practice."

Aguilar represents financial institutions, private equity funds, real estate developers and investors in a broad range of commercial transactions in the United States and Latin America. A significant portion of his practice is cross-border work. He represented the leading operator of casinos and horse racing tracks in Argentina in the acquisition of the Dania Jai-Alai in Dania Beach.

"We view him as a person who can help us grow our presence in transactions that are taking place in Latin America but equally important in transactions emanating from Latin America and coming into Florida," said Pedro Jimenez, Jones Day's Miami managing partner. "In terms of Latin American individuals who have money to invest in South Florida, he's doing a number of different deals."

Jones Day is the latest of a string of out-of-state law firms to open Miami outposts in an effort to capture lucrative Latin American business. Others include Sedgwick, Squire Sanders and DLA Piper.

Jones Day ranks among the world's largest law firms with more than 2,400 lawyers, including more than 400 lawyers in Europe and 200 lawyers in Asia.