Monday, November 18, 2002
Greenberg Traurig Opens Offices in Amsterdam, Zurich
By LORELEI LAIRD, Staff Writer
Miami-based Greenberg Traurig announced Thursday that it has opened offices in Amsterdam and Zurich, where it will work closely with the Los Angeles office to serve American and European entertainment industry clients.
While the firm’s Amsterdam office will concentrate on Greenberg Traurig’s specialty of general business services, the Zurich office will be a small entertainment boutique, Greenberg Traurig CEO and President Cesar Alvarez said.
Heading the new office will be entertainment and tax lawyers Markus Barmettler and Andreas Erb, both of whom already work closely with clients in the United States. The firm said Barmettler will be working out of both the Zurich and the Los Angeles offices (located in Santa Monica).
Greenberg Traurig already works closely with firms throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, Alvarez said. These, however, are its first branch offices outside the United States.
“We wanted to enter Europe,” Alvarez said. “As you know, the best legal market in the world is here in the United States, but the second largest market if you look at it from a broad basis is the European market.”
London is the traditional location for an American law firm’s first European office, Alvarez said, but the firm thought London was oversaturated with American law firms and the local talent too heavily recruited. Amsterdam, by contrast, didn’t have a single American law firm until Greenberg Traurig opened its office there.
“My key point is I did not want to go someplace that was oversaturated with US presence,” Alvarez said.
He added that the Netherlands was “perfect” because the Dutch speak English, are centrally located in Europe and are big investors, an advantage for a firm like Greenberg Traurig, whose main focus is business services.
The Amsterdam office will be headed by Dutch lawyers Peter Roorda, formerly a senior partner at the Dutch and Belgian law firm Stibbe; and Bernard Stuivinga and Peter van Langeveld, both formerly executives at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands. The office will start with a stable of 15-20 lawyers serving general business clients, Alvarez said. He said his firm hopes to add lawyers to that office within a year, but preferred not to set a specific number—”that’s never a good idea.” Instead, he said, the firm prefers to concentrate on hiring the right kind of lawyer to fit in with Greenberg Traurig’s culture—business-oriented, entrepreneurial and highly motivated.
The firm’s Zurich office, by contrast, will employ only five or six lawyers with a specialized entertainment clientele. Barmettler and Erb are both known for helping the U.S. entertainment industry film in German-speaking countries, and for helping European entertainment companies do business in the States. Some Greenberg Traurig entertainment clients in the United States include Spyglass Productions, Hyde Park Entertainment, Blue Tulip and New Regency.
Greenberg Traurig is a full-service business law firm with 18 offices in the United States, employing about 900 lawyers. It was ranked by the National Law Journal as the 21st-largest law firm in the United States in September 2001, and its D.C.-area lobbying firm has been ranked among the top five in the nation.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company