Buchanan Ingersoll Moves Aventura Office to Fort Lauderdale

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Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney will officially shutter its Aventura, Fla., office and move the attorneys and staff to its new location in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, according to a statement from the firm.

There are currently six attorneys in the Aventura office, including managing shareholder Jack Kessler, who is set to lead the new Fort Lauderdale location.

Buchanan Ingersoll announced its plans to open in Fort Lauderdale back in August when the firm hired finance shareholder Philip M. Hanaka and relocated San Diego shareholder John P. Dyro Sr. to the Aventura location.

Kessler opened the Aventura office in 1990 and co-manages Buchanan Ingersoll's South Florida operations with Richard Morgan, the managing shareholder of the firm's Miami office. The firm also has an office in Tampa.

"Buchanan is nationally recognized for its sophisticated experience in the real estate and commercial lending arena, and this sector in South Florida is an area of significant growth," Kessler said in a statement.

Kessler said in the statement that the Aventura office's move is part of the firm's strategic plan to "ensconce itself in South Florida's growing business market."

Kessler said in an interview Thursday that over the years the three counties that comprise the South Florida market have split into three fairly distinct legal markets. The firm is in Miami-Dade County through its Miami office and the Fort Lauderdale location, just 12 miles from Aventura, can better serve the Broward County market, Kessler said. He said the firm feels the new location can handle serving the Broward and Palm Beach County markets, with a potential office opening in Palm Beach down the road. Kessler said that seems to be the normal progression of firms expanding in South Florida.

Moving from Aventura, a more suburban area of Miami, to the more city-like environment of Fort Lauderdale is also helping with recruiting, Kessler said.

"Recruiting high-level attorneys is tough because most want to be in a downtown urban area," Kessler said, noting the move is already generating calls from potential laterals.

As Legal sibling publication Daily Business Review in Florida reported, Buchanan Ingersoll is part of a trend of law firms moving from suburban lairs to downtown Fort Lauderdale offices. Others include Becker & Poliakoff and Greenspoon Marder.

The South Florida market has been a hotbed of lateral activity recently for Pennsylvania firms looking to handle real estate and health care work as well as have a potential launching pad into the South American legal market. Cozen O'Connor, Duane Morris and Fox Rothschild have all either opened new offices or expanded in existing locations in the South Florida market in the last year.

Kessler said the market is heating up with new deals and construction projects in the works, a continued influx of investment and people from South America and a resurgence of investment from Europe.

In April, Fox Rothschild opened a Coral Gables, Fla., office near Miami with the hire of two banking attorneys. The firm already had a West Palm Beach location in the state. There are around 25 attorneys between the two offices.

"We realized that Miami is a very distinct market from Palm Beach," Fox Rothschild managing partner Mark Silow said at the time. "A lot of business we have in Palm Beach is Miami-based litigation so it will be helpful to have a presence in Miami."

Silow said at the time that Miami "seems to have fully recovered. Things are really booming down there." He said Fox Rothschild has a growing international practice, so the Latin America component was a plus.

In March, Cozen O'Connor opened in West Palm Beach with a team of partners from Edwards Wildman and Duane Morris grew in the region with additional attorneys from Edwards.

Gina Passarella can be contacted at 215-557-2494 or at gpassarella@alm.com. Follow her on Twitter @GPassarellaTLI.

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