Roy Larson, Baker McKenzie’s Miami office managing partner, has left his firm of 18 years to join McDermott Will & Emery.

Larson, who joins as a partner in McDermott’s corporate group today, said McDermott’s emphasis on health care is a better fit for his transaction and health care practice.

Larson said about 60 percent of his work is health care transaction-related, and an overlapping 40 percent is international transaction work, including cross-border transactions through Switzerland, England, France and Germany. Health care transactions tend to be more domestic-related, and Baker McKenzie in Miami over the years has increasingly focused on Latin America, he said.

“There are a fair number of health care companies that are based in South Florida and a lot of [the work] is driven by private equity,” Larson said, “McDermott has developed a very nice private equity health care practice in Miami.”

Baker McKenzie’s focus, in contrast, is going to be Latin American work, Larson said.

Larson is not a stranger to McDeromott. He has two close friends who work at the firm­—Fred Levinson, co-head of the private equity group, and Harris Siskind, global head of the firm’s transactions practice group, he said. And he has worked in the past with firm managing partner Ira Coleman and Miami office partner-in-charge Jerry Sokol.

“He’s a transactional lawyer with a real practice focus in health care, which is one of our real power alleys,” Sokol said. “Practices that focus on health care transactions and health care litigation—we’re the perfect platform for their practices to flourish and for them to serve their clients at the highest level.”

Sokol said the firm’s healthcare practice is large enough to be highly specialized within the space.

With the health care industry in a time of change, it’s also a good time to expand the practice, Larson said. His clients include hospitals, physician practice companies, and national-managed care companies.

“There are many parts to the Affordable Care Act, but part of it is about changing healthc are from a fee-based system to a value-based system.” Larson said. “Anytime there is change, that leads to additional opportunities for larger and more sophisticated players in the space. The bigger players are in a position to provide services, assume some risk and use analytics to provide cost effective care.”

McDermott also advises clients in such areas as intellectual property, international commercial litigation and arbitration, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and tax law.

Sokol said the Miami office has always been a powerhouse within the Chicago-based firm, but now that Coleman, who is based in Miami, is head of the firm, lawyers with high-end practices are more assured that the Miami office is centrally involved in firm management. He said there is excitement within the office about the growth it has seen over the last two years. The firm has about 50 lawyers in the Miami office, Sokol said.

Larson’s hiring comes on the heels of the firm rehiring Michael Austin, former hiring partner and head of the Miami office health care litigation practice at DLA Piper, who had left McDermott for DLA Piper five years ago.

“Everyone we’ve hired has not come through a head hunter but has been someone we know. That’s the best way to bring people on board if you have a history and really know them,” Sokol said.