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Zumpano Patricios & Winker, P.A.

Targeting International Streams of Commerce

From international commerce to complex healthcare litigation, Zumpano Patricios & Winker, P.A. (ZPW) has focused on delivering the right combination of legal services for the South Florida market. As result, the Coral Gables-based firm has grown steadily, expanding its client base, and opening new national and international offices despite the economic headwinds of the past few years.

“South Florida law firms today need to have business savvy as well as legal skills,” says Joseph Zumpano, managing partner.  “We have diversified our practice areas, while developing core specialties, and that combination has served us — and our clients — very well. As a result, we are one of the few homegrown midsize firms here that grew during this past recession.”

 Leon Patricios and Joseph Zumpano

Back in 2003, Zumpano teamed with partners Leon Patricios and David Winker to launch a new firm.  “I remember when we first walked into the offices,” Zumpano says. “No phones, no computers, no furniture. We were a true start-up.”

From the beginning, Patricios has led the firm’s litigation practice, including healthcare, employment, tax and family law cases, while Winker has focused his practice on healthcare matters.

In the past nine years, Zumpano Patricios & Winker has grown from just three attorneys to 61 lawyers, while opening U.S. offices in Chicago and Salt Lake City, as well as 15 satellite offices around the world. To accommodate its growth in South Florida, the firm purchased and renovated a Coral Gables building in 2008, and now has 10,000 square feet of space for its 25 South Florida lawyers.

Patricios credits Zumpano with the broad vision and entrepreneurial spirit needed to build a global law firm. “Joe sees the currents of commerce and recognizes new opportunities,” he says. “He also has strong professional values and a great business sense, allowing our firm to adapt to market changes.”

One of the firm’s flagship practice areas is complex healthcare litigation. To date, the firm has recovered more than $100 million for hospitals and healthcare systems from managed care companies. “We advise clients on transactions and regulatory matters, as well as civil and criminal cases,” Patricios says. “If you think the tax code is complex, you haven’t seen at the growing stack of healthcare regulations. Today, a civil transaction that does not comply with those regulations is potentially a crime. Therefore, healthcare clients can benefit from a broad range of advice.”

The firm’s team now includes Jose Quinon, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who joined ZPW last year. Quinon handles healthcare investigations and criminal cases, as well as other types of defense work.
In 2009, the firm opened a Chicago office with four attorneys under the leadership of managing partner Arthur Bresnahan. “Arthur came to the firm with a skill set in utilities and power companies,” Zumpano says. “That added a new practice group to the firm.

Recently, the firm opened another U.S. office in Salt Lake City led by Chris Esseltine, who specializes in medical devices and pharmaceutical companies. “That will be a strategic extension of our healthcare practice,” Zumpano says. “We expect it will bring in new business, while benefitting our clients in South Florida and other parts of the country.”

International commerce is the firm’s other flagship practice area. “We pioneered a theory I call new globalism,” Zumpano says. “It’s an approach to doing business in foreign markets by capturing inbound and outbound flows of commerce in a way that benefits both the in-country attorneys and our firm.”

Rather than perceived as an outside competitor, ZPW becomes a strategic partner to a highly regarded local law firm. “We outfit a fully operational ZPW office that focuses strictly on international commerce,” Zumpano says. “Then, we use attorney coordinators who operate at a partner level but do not practice law.” The coordinators’ role is to identify international business opportunities, staff those matters with attorneys from ZPW or the local firm, and fully disclose the arrangement in accordance with Florida Bar rules.
“It’s a humble approach to doing business,” says Patricios. “We know we don’t always have the answers, nor do our local partners. But by working together in an efficient manner, we can choose the best lawyers for that particular matter and do a better job for our mutual clients.”

Now, the firm has a network of international offices from the Caribbean to India and China that generates about 25 percent of the firm’s total revenue, says Zumpano. ZPW has also attracted highly regarded international lawyers like Dr. Thomas Rinne in Germany and Arnold Shevin, the firm’s co-chair of its international offices.

In the 1990s, Shevin was Zumpano’s mentor at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. “Now things have gone full circle,” Patricios says. “Arnie was excited by our international model. He likes to travel and has been a driving force in building those interpersonal relationships across the continents.”

ZPW’s international allies also participate in the firm’s global cross selling conference and annual firm retreats. They can bring family members and may stay at a partner’s home during visits to Miami. “Those are the steps that build relationships,” Zumpano says. “I think our connectivity is greater than some brick and mortar models. Over the next few years, Zumpano intends to keep growing the firm’s global network, and is targeting the United Kingdom, France and Canada for the next office locations.
The firm also takes pride in its cultural and language diversity — which are vital factors in serving international clients. “We have a strong set of core values, including the principle of responsiveness,” Zumpano says. “If someone calls our law firm, we try to call them back the same day. We look at those values as well as an attorney’s legal skills when making hiring decisions for our firm.”

Summing up the firm’s strategy for the future, Zumpano says, “We will continue to align our practice areas to the marketplace — healthcare, international, corporate, criminal, family, probate, estates and trusts. In South Florida, you have to build your firm with a diversified skill set based on the fundamental areas of law.  That diversity can allow your firm to grow in any phase of the global economic cycle.”

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