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Developing a Global Practice

Carlos E. Loumiet exemplifies South Florida’s growing presence on the world’s legal stage. Known for his acumen in banking, finance and business transactions, Loumiet has advised U.S. and international clients on banking issues, major infrastructure projects, securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border transactions.

“One thing I enjoy about practicing law in Miami is that you can handle many types of matters ,” says Loumiet, a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US) in Miami. “I have always enjoyed a wide variety of challenges.”

Over the past three decades, Loumiet has built a global practice that includes financial institutions, governments and multilateral institutions, as well as startups and entrepreneurial family groups. Back in 1984, he headed a Florida Bar international arbitration task force that drafted Florida’s International Arbitration Act, and in 1999 he chaired a Florida Latin America Internet Task Force established by Secretary of State Katherine Harris in 1999.

“Simply put, Carlos is one of the most brilliant lawyers I know,” says Juan Azel, who is President and CEO, Standard Chartered Bank in Miami. “As my mentor a dozen years ago, he was quite humble and genuinely interested in my development as an attorney – attributes not often mentioned together. Much of my banking knowledge and skills I owe to the foundation and love of banking fostered by Carlos many years ago.”
A ‘Born’ Lawyer

Born in 1951, Loumiet grew up in Havana before Fidel Castro came to power. “I had an uncle who was a successful lawyer in Cuba, and I thought that one day I might become an attorney as well,” Loumiet recalls. In August 1959, Loumiet’s parents put him and his older brother Juan on a plane to Miami to escape the new dictatorial regime. Like many young immigrants plunged into a new culture, he began learning English and studying every aspect of life in a new country, including the proper name for his favorite dessert, which he then called “pie apple”. Two years later his parents left Cuba and the family was reunited in Chicago.

From the Midwest, Loumiet went to boarding school in New Hampshire, but got an early taste of international business as well, spending a year in Peru with his father, who worked for Morton Salt throughout Latin America. He enrolled at Yale University, and later received a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford University. After earning his law degrees from Yale and Oxford, Loumiet began his practice in New York and Paris.

Newly married and starting a family, Loumiet felt that Miami would be a better place to live, and in October 1980 he moved to South Florida. “The international banks were just coming into Miami, so my timing was good,” he says. “It was a lively decade in the banking sector.”

From the arrival of financial institutions from Canada, Latin America and Europe and the establishment of Edge Act banks, to the Latin American debt crisis and interstate banking battles of the 80s, to the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s, Loumiet was heavily involved in banking matters as a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, P.A. For 10 years he headed that firm’s international and banking practices.

Twelve years ago, Loumiet moved to Hunton & Williams, becoming co-chair of the firm’s international practice as well as chair of its Florida Business Group. He joined DLA Piper in April 2011. “Our Miami office is heavily involved in international transactions and litigation, as well as healthcare and banking,” says Loumiet. “That complements our Tampa office, which focuses more on domestic litigation and real estate.”

Along the way, Loumiet has taught international banking and banking regulation courses at the University of Miami Law School and Yale Law School. As someone very involved in Hispanic civil rights, Loumiet has also spoken extensively at conferences and testified at Congressional hearings on “Diversity in the Financial Services Industry” and “Women and Minorities in Financial Reform.”

Current Trends

As the global financial markets recover from the 2008 collapse, Loumiet has seen an increased interest in investing in infrastructure projects. “Pension funds looking for a 7 percent or better annual return in recent years have not been able to achieve that goal in more traditional, liquid investments,” he says. “One strategy is to invest in longer-term projects with higher returns.”

Loumiet has been involved in structuring and financing power plants, telecom projects, toll roads and other infrastructure projects throughout the Americas. He was also involved in the first public-private partnership transportation deal in Florida, the I-595 toll road, which was designated the US “deal of the year” by Project Finance magazine.

“What I like most about infrastructure projects is the permanence of the results,” he says. “At the end of the day, you can see and touch a new power plant, road or bridge that enhances the area’s quality of life for a long time.”
Today, Loumiet’s projects include the disposition of a large local bank, an initial public offering (IPO) for a foreign technology company, the sale of a large South American agricultural conglomerate, financing and building toll roads in Colombia, bidding on public airports in Brazil, and structuring a joint venture involving state-of-the-art food storage facilities in Latin America.

“I enjoy coming to the office and having something new waiting for me,” he says. “My advice to young lawyers is to make your career as challenging as possible, including becoming involved in outside activities such as politics, Bar or community activities, teaching or pro bono work. There is nothing more dreadful than doing the same thing over and over again for decades. Always push to your limits.”

When not working, Loumiet enjoys sports, reading, movies and relaxing in the snow or on the beach with his wife Cristina, his five children and three grandchildren. “We love the Caribbean, with its varied islands, colorful history and fascinating mixture of cultures,” he says.

In keeping with that interest, Loumiet is pro bono general counsel to the Cuba Emprende Foundation, which provides funds to train individuals in Cuba on the opening and operation of private sector microenterprises. “It’s very satisfying to help people improve their lives while supporting the emerging small business sector,” he says. Loumiet is also pro bono general counsel for the National Latino Education Research and Policy project (NLERAP), a non-profit focused on improving public school education for young Latinos in the United States. Loumiet also appears frequently as a commentator on Spanish-language radio and TV.

Looking ahead, Loumiet plans to stay active in his practice for the indefinite future, while doing more teaching in area law schools and remaining active as an advocate on national Latino issues. Summing up his impact on the region, he says, “I am particularly proud that over more than three decades I have helped teach and mentor dozens of outstanding legal practitioners in South Florida. That has always been a particularly rewarding part of my work, and one that I will continue cherishing.”

South Florida Legal Guide 2014 Edition

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