CLEVELAND, April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez, who served as General Counsel to Florida Governor Jeb Bush and most recently was a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, has joined McDonald Hopkins LLC, a business advisory and advocacy law firm with an 80-year history. Rodriguez will serve as managing member of the firm's new Miami office, which is located in the Southeast Financial Center (formerly Wachovia) at 200 South Biscayne Boulevard. She will also serve on the firm's Board of Directors. McDonald Hopkins has more than 130 attorneys in West Palm Beach, Cleveland, Chicago, Columbus and Detroit.
During her time with Governor Bush, Rodriguez worked on some of the most complex and urgent issues facing Florida, such as the largest economic development project in state history, a $310 million economic incentive grant to The Scripps Research Institute. "Rocky has been a valued and trusted legal counsel to me, both in my administration and upon my return to the private sector," Governor Bush said. "Her excellent legal skills as well as her consistent commitment to finding solutions and serving clients make her a superb choice to lead the McDonald Hopkins Miami office." Rodriguez also represented the state in the incentive grants to The Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and the Stanford Research Institute. Overall, she has been instrumental in the negotiation of nearly $750 million in state and local incentives to promote the diversification of the state's economy. Rodriguez also advised Governor Bush in more than 200 appointments to the state's courts. Governor Bush continues to be among Rodriguez's principal clients.
While many law firms have struggled in a difficult economy in recent years, McDonald Hopkins has continued to grow and expand. The firm's revenues have increased 46 percent since 2006. The West Palm Beach office, which opened in 2004 with four attorneys, has grown to 11 attorneys today. The Chicago office of McDonald Hopkins, which opened in 2007, has 19 attorneys and recently moved to a premier building on the Chicago River. In Detroit, 10 attorneys have been added in the past 18 months. Initially, the Miami office will consist of two attorneys. McDonald Hopkins continues to recruit attorneys to join its national practice groups.
"We recognize the importance of Miami as a strategic business market," said Carl J. Grassi, president of McDonald Hopkins, who has led the firm since 2007. "Rocky is the perfect fit to manage our growth in Miami because she shares our entrepreneurial spirit and our focus on being an advocate for our clients beyond their legal challenges. Many of our highly experienced attorneys came to us after working at larger law firms where they charge considerably higher rates and bring big firm experience in a cost-effective way."
Grassi noted that Rocky's combination of "business acumen, government experience, litigation expertise, and depth of knowledge in both U.S. and international client issues, will be a solid foundation for enhancing the firm's expertise in the South Florida market."
Rodriguez pointed out that John T. Metzger, managing member of the West Palm Beach office, and she started their legal careers together in 1985 at Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Miami, where they both became shareholders. "I am very pleased that we are practicing law together again. This is an excellent opportunity for me because McDonald Hopkins is committed to the Miami market and the firm recognizes the importance of developing approaches for clients that go beyond the obvious legal solutions," said Rodriguez. "I appreciate their confidence in me and I look forward to introducing McDonald Hopkins to the dynamic business community in Miami."
Rodriguez, who is fluent in Spanish and speaks French, has more than 25 years of experience representing Fortune 100 clients, closely held companies, foreign governments, family businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs. She has worked with Latin America during most of her legal career representing clients from throughout the Americas as well as assisting US companies with international disputes and business challenges. Much as she did for Governor Bush as General Counsel, Rodriguez is a "trouble shooter" for clients using her wide-ranging experience in international and business litigation, business counseling, crisis management, and government affairs to help them achieve their goals and overcome potential threats.
"We are delighted that Rocky will be leading our new Miami office," Metzger said. "We will be working closely together to advise our South Florida clients and to continue to recruit the highest caliber attorneys to our offices in Miami and West Palm Beach."
Rodriguez has also served as executive director of the London-based MULTILAW Multinational Association of Independent Law Firms. She has been recognized by her peers and clients, who have voted her inclusion in Chambers and Partners USA 2009 and 2010, Florida Super Lawyer 2008 and 2009, and Florida Trend's Legal Elite in 2005, 2006 and 2010.
Rodriguez is active in several Florida organizations. She is a founding board member and Executive Committee member of the Florida-Israel Business Forum, founding member of the Miami International Arbitration Society, Executive Committee member of the Florida Bar Section of International Law and co-chair of its Amicus Committee, and Legislative Committee member of BioFlorida.
A graduate of the University of Miami, Rodriguez earned a J.D., summa cum laude, in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in 1982. In law school, Rodriguez was class valedictorian, a member of the University of Miami Law Review, and the Order of the Coif.
About McDonald Hopkins
The firm's comprehensive legal services are provided by teams of specialized attorneys and professionals in areas such as business law, litigation, business restructuring and bankruptcy, estate planning, government affairs, healthcare, intellectual property, labor and employment, and mergers and acquisitions. Service and industry specialties are designed to meet the growing challenges that clients face in an increasingly competitive environment. For more information about McDonald Hopkins, visit www.mcdonaldhopkins.com.
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Deborah W. Kelm
McDonald Hopkins LLC
SOURCE McDonald Hopkins LLC