Cori Lopez-Castro has been named to a one-year term as managing partner of the powerhouse litigation boutique Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton in Coral Gables.
Lopez-Castro served in the same rotating position in 2011 to 2012 and will maintain her regular litigation workload.
“I think the partnership asked me to do this because they know that I really like to manage people. They will tell you that I manage my opposing counsel, I manage witnesses, and I manage clients,” she said Tuesday. ”I just have to I guess be more efficient than I am already, and I’m pretty efficient.”
The law firm has rotated managing partners for at least 15 years, which has allowed diverse attorneys to take charge of the 24-attorney firm for a limited time.
“We think everyone should do it because it helps you understand the business of law, and we all practice law, and none of us can afford to take so much time away from our practice,” Lopez-Castro said. “It seems like one or two years is the sweet spot for us.”
Harley Tropin, firm president, said she embodies the two values that make a successful lawyer and firm — “winning cases and having great relationships with clients, opponents and everyone with whom she comes into contact.”
During the coming year, Lopez-Castro hopes to expand to 27 or 28 attorneys and said the focus is on the health care practice and commercial litigation. All 10 of the firm’s partners hold equity stakes, and younger attorneys may be hired to help with the existing caseload.
But the hiring itself won’t be easy. She described Kozyak Tropin as “a very tight firm” and said, “It’s hard to find people that we feel will share our values and how we approach cases.”
Diversity has been a watchword for founding partner John Kozyak. Now of counsel, he formed a foundation that draws thousands to an annual minority mentoring picnic. The latest event was Saturday.
“Diversity now instead of being a buzzword is truly a sought-after value in the firm,” and it’s valued both by clients and law firms, said Lopez-Castro, a former president of the Cuban American Bar Association.
“There is a very strong push to promote women,” she said of moves in the past year at law firms in South Florida and beyond. “It’s good to see other women succeed, especially women with families.”
Lopez-Castro started at the firm as an associate under the wings of the three founding partners 27 years ago. She focuses on bankruptcy, receiverships and commercial litigation and is a mother of three. A friend commended her for “her elegance and poise,” but she said, “It’s not always so pretty.”
She has represented the bankruptcy trustees in cases involving fraud allegations at Ecuador’s fourth largest bank and the general contractor who built the $150 million Downtown Dadeland project south of Miami.
After the Great Recession, she was heavily involved in the liquidation of the bank holding companies for BankUnited, MetroBank, Orion and First State.