Network ties together top global lawyers

By David Lyons

Juan Kuryla

From a 35th-floor conference room in a Brickell Avenue office building, lawyers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean sipped cocktails and took in a commanding view of neighborhood high-rises, Biscayne Bay, PortMiami and the Atlantic Ocean. They were visiting the Miami office of the Gunster law firm for one purpose: to attend a U.S. meeting of Globalaw, a worldwide network of business law firms. The 130-year-old Gunster firm, which is based West Palm Beach, is the world alliance’s Florida representative.

Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, chairman of the firm, hosted a combined “Caribbean and LATAM Forum” that focused on strategies, risks and business opportunities among the island nations and all points south.

Juan Kuryla, director of PortMiami, got to pitch his sprawling cruise and cargo port as “a global gateway for trade, commerce and tourism.”

“I thought the port director did a wonderful job describing the dynamism of the Miami economy and the factors that contributed to it,” says Bryan C. Birkeland, an energy, real estate and international law specialist from Dallas, who is the current Globalaw president and a co-founder. “He laid out the facts and historical perspective of the development of the port. I was particularly interested because I am very familiar with Miami and its position as a capital of the Americas from an economic standpoint, but I wasn’t aware of the logistics component of it.”

A panel of lawyers and business officials from SBA Communications, Sabadell’s global corporate banking unit, the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange, a Brazilian law firm and a Danish consulting firm all gave their takes on the advantages and vagaries of doing business in Latin America and in Florida.

Bryan C. Birkeland
Bryan C. Birkeland

It was all good intelligence for a network of lawyers and law firms who count on one another to drum up international business. The alliance, they say, offers a collective confidence that Globalaw-affiliated attorneys from far-flung areas of the globe are competent and knowledgeable enough to serve their respective clients well.

“It’s wonderful organization for us because a lot of our clients are doing business around the world and we can put them with a fine lawyer,” LeMieux says. “I have had this experience personally where we needed legal work in Europe, and I can find a lawyer who can work with our clients and I know they’re going to get first-class legal work.”

Birkeland says the alliance has grown from a group of three U.S. law firms and a single Austrian firm in 1993 to a present-day network of 111 law firms and 4,500 lawyers located in 165 cities and 85 nations. “We’re looking for firms that have real history in their country,” he says.

For example, the senior partner of a member firm from Bolivia once led his country’s central bank; the father of a top partner in a Panamanian firm is a former vice president of Panama; and a fifth-generation partner of a firm in Argentina is eager to do international business now that the nation is “on the verge of getting back into the world” with the election of a new president.

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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.