Cesar Alvarez provides insight about the growth of Greenberg Traurig

It’s amazing how time flies. I have been writing my monthly column for South Florida Business & Wealth for one year, my show just had its sixth anniversary, and we just had our 1,000th guest on “Fried on Business.”

Guest No. 1,000 was an abogado gigante: Cesar Alvarez, CEO and co-chairman of Greenberg Traurig. What an amazing interview. Not only did Cesar talk to our audience about how he turned Greenberg Traurig into an international legal powerhouse, we also discussed how he maintained the corporate culture of the Greenberg Traurig team during the expansion. He was successful because he got up after every failure. 

The legal industry was consolidating at the time Greenberg Traurig wanted to expand, so Cesar found best-in-class groups of attorneys to be able to get any question answered quickly. He empowered the lawyers on the ground with the freedom to make decisions. Greenberg Traurig became “the largest small law firm in the U.S.” 

Cesar and his leadership team built the firm’s brand by having great partners with key practices in the right markets. All of the partners have a strong business orientation. They are problem-solvers that give solutions. Any attorney could provide a fast, dependable solution. This helped Cesar keep his legal practice strong and consistent. 

To improve the firm’s quality of service, he suggests that his lawyers record their sides of their conversations. He then wants them to ask themselves: “Would I pay $400 to $500 per hour for the advice I gave on the call?”

Cesar sees the future of the law firm as being more virtual. Costs will need to be kept in check with the globalization of legal services. “Our economy needs to become more efficient with legal services. This will be done with technology,” he says.

The highlight of the interview was when Cesar discussed his first meeting with the legendary Mel Greenberg, who had been seeking bilingual lawyers to build his firm. He kept calling Cesar by his brother’s name, Carlos. When Cesar discovered how much a Greenberg Traurig partner paid in taxes on an annual basis, he decided he’d let Mel call him whatever he wanted. Cesar got the job and the rest is legal history.

Tips on branding

A regular guest on the show is branding expert Bruce Turkel. During this interview, Bruce outlined some of his best branding tips, such as: “It’s all about them” and “You have to repeat, repeat, repeat your message.” 

We talked about being your authentic self in business. Bruce advises to project who you are to people in an honest and forthright way. People will be attracted to that. It will build your brand the right way. I know I work hard to project positive energy and strong expertise in my business meetings. It works for me. ?

To listen to these and other interviews, go to our website, friedonbusiness.com. We interview thought leaders every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. on 880 AM. Listen live by visiting bit.ly/jimlive. 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.