IWIRC announces new board of directors

By Mohamed Dabo

The International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) has announced its newly elected and appointed incoming board of directors for 2018 – 2019.

The international networking and professional growth organization, aimed at women in the restructuring and insolvency industries, announced the names of its five-member executive board and its ten-member management committee on 17 September.

IWIRC also published the names of its new regional directors, directors at large, as well as its standing committee and vice directors.

Carrianne Basler, a managing director at AlixPartners in Chicago who was vice chair, succeeds outgoing chair Jennifer McLemoreMichelle Pickett, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto, Canada, becomes the new vice chair. McLemore will remain on the board as immediate past chair.

The executive board also includes Leyza Blanco of Sequor Law in Miami as secretary, Jennifer Kimble of New York restructuring firm Prime Clerk as treasurer, and Marjorie Kaufman of Getzler Henrich in Boston as Vice Finance Director.

Appointees to the group’s management committee include Tinamarie Feil, president of the California-based BMC Group, who becomes the group’s UNCITRAL committee director. Alexandra Schnapp, a law clerk at the US Bankruptcy Court in Atlanta, is the communications director.

Eloise Fardon, a senior associate at Stephenson Harwood in Hong Kong, is now the Asia regional director. Rita Gismondi, an associate at Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners in Rome, is the new Europe regional director. Kelly McDonald, of Shearman & Sterling in New York, is  US regional director and Toronto-based Dentons counsel Sara-Ann Van Allen is Canada regional director.

Outgoing chair McLemore says, “The composition of the Board speaks to the depth and expertise of our membership base and we look forward to working with these talented women.”

In a phone interview, she told GRR the organisation’s focus right now is to bring the international experience to the local level—so that members who are unable to attend international conferences can still have access to those international resources.

IWIRC’s newsletter is one resource the organisation is aiming to make more accessible; for example, by using social media to give it a stronger international presence on the internet.

Founded in 1993, IWIRC is a not-for-profit organisation currently located in Asia, Europe, and North America and continues to grow. McLemore says IWIRC welcomes the development of new networks in these or new regions.

Executive Board (terms ending October 2019)

  • Carrianne Basler, AlixPartners, Chair
  • Michelle Pickett, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vice Chair
  • Leyza Blanco, Sequor Law, Secretary
  • Jennifer Kimble, Prime Clerk, Treasurer
  • Marjorie Kaufman, Getzler Henrich & Associates, Vice Finance Director
  • Jennifer McLemore, Christian & Barton, Immediate Past Chair

Management Committee (terms ending October 2019)

  • Tinamarie Feil, BMC Group, UNCITRAL Committee Director*
  • Karen Fellowes, DLA Piper, Newsletter Director
  • Terri Freedman, Freedman Law, Program Committee Co-Director
  • Melissa Hager, Morrison & Foerster, US Networks Director
  • Evelyn Meltzer, Pepper Hamilton, Member Services Director
  • Alexandra “CC” Schnapp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Communications Director
  • Helen Sevenoaks, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Europe Networks Director
  • Carren Shulman, NYU School of Law, UNCITRAL Committee Director*
  • Pooja Sinha, Global Legal Solutions (GLS Law), Asia Networks Director
  • Melaney Wagner, Goodmans, Canada Networks Director

Regional Directors (terms ending October 2019)

  • Eloise Fardon, Stephenson Harwood, Asia Regional Director
  • Rita Gismondi, Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners, Europe Regional Director
  • Kelly McDonald, Shearman & Sterling, U.S. Regional Director
  • Sara-Ann Van Allen, Dentons, Canada Regional Director

Directors at Large (terms ending October 2019)

  • Jacqui Calderin, Agentis
  • Kelly Beaudin Conlan, Connolly Gallagher
  • Catherine D’Alton, Harney Westwood & Riegels
  • Mary Grace Diehl, former judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
  • Rebecca Hume, Kobre & Kim
  • Ericka Johnson, Womble Bond Dickinson
  • Nicole Stefanelli, Cullen and Dykman
  • Blanche Zelmanovich, Ernst & Young

Directors at Large (terms ending October 2020)

  • Monica Blacker, BAX Advisors
  • Kristen Siracusa Eustis, Miles & Stockbridge PC
  • Elizabeth Gunn, Virginia Office of the Attorney General
  • Rachel Lao, SSG Capital Management
  • Kerri Mumford, Landis Rath & Cobb
  • Leanne Williams, ThorntonGroutFinnigan

Standing Committee Vice-Directors (terms ending October 2019)

  • Valerie Banter-Peo, Buchalter Nemer, Vice Director of Regional Programming*
  • Aisling Dwyer, Maples and Calder, Asia Regional Vice Director*
  • Rosa Evergreen, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Vice Director of Communications and Newsletter*
  • Justine Lau, Mourant Ozannes, Asia Regional Vice Director*
  • Tina Lucas, Banner Bank, Vice Director of Budget*
  • Lauren McKelvey, Odin Feldman & Pittleman, Vice Director of Spring Programs*
  • Tara Schellhorn, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti, Vice Director of Fall Programs*
  • Nellwyn Voorhies, Donlin Recano, Vice Director of Communications and Social Media*
  • Blanche Zelmanovich, Ernst & Young, Vice Director of Member Services*
  • Rita Gismondi, Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners, Europe Regional Director
  • Kelly McDonald, Shearman & Sterling, U.S. Regional Director
  • Sara-Ann Van Allen, Dentons, Canada Regional Director

Directors at Large (terms ending October 2019)

  • Jacqui Calderin, Agentis
  • Kelly Beaudin Conlan, Connolly Gallagher
  • Catherine D’Alton, Harney Westwood & Riegels
  • Mary Grace Diehl, former judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
  • Rebecca Hume, Kobre & Kim
  • Ericka Johnson, Womble Bond Dickinson
  • Nicole Stefanelli, Cullen and Dykman
  • Blanche Zelmanovich, Ernst & Young

Directors at Large (terms ending October 2020)

  • Monica Blacker, BAX Advisors
  • Kristen Siracusa Eustis, Miles & Stockbridge PC
  • Elizabeth Gunn, Virginia Office of the Attorney General
  • Rachel Lao, SSG Capital Management
  • Kerri Mumford, Landis Rath & Cobb
  • Leanne Williams, ThorntonGroutFinnigan

Standing Committee Vice-Directors (terms ending October 2019)

  • Valerie Banter-Peo, Buchalter Nemer, Vice Director of Regional Programming*
  • Aisling Dwyer, Maples and Calder, Asia Regional Vice Director* 
  • Blanche Zelmanovich, Ernst & Young, Vice Director of Member Services*     
  • Rosa Evergreen, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Vice Director of Communications and Newsletter*
  • Justine Lau, Mourant Ozannes, Asia Regional Vice Director*
  • Tina Lucas, Banner Bank, Vice Director of Budget*
  • Lauren McKelvey, Odin Feldman & Pittleman, Vice Director of Spring Programs*
  • Tara Schellhorn, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti, Vice Director of Fall Programs*
  • Nellwyn Voorhies, Donlin Recano, Vice Director of Communications and Social Media*
  • Blanche Zelmanovich, Ernst & Young, Vice Director of Member Services*

To view full article, click here.

Two Sequor Law Attorneys Named Rising Legal Stars by Latinvex

ARNOLDO LACAYO Bio Image

ARNOLDO LACAYO
Partner, Sequor Law

Arnie Lacayo, a partner at Sequor Law, focuses his international litigation practice on financial fraud and asset recovery.

He has extensive experience litigating complex disputes in state and federal courts and has represented multi-national corporations, sovereign governments, receivers, trustees and other foreign officeholders in matters pending in U.S. Courts.

Key work includes representing the judicial administrator appointed in a Brazilian bankruptcy case in one of the largest failed bank bankruptcies in Brazil’s history; acting as lead U.S. counsel for the Liquidator and has successfully pursued recognition of the Chilean insolvency proceedings and of the Liquidator as foreign representative under Chapter 15 and Brazilian Liquidator in an adversary proceeding clawback action within a Chapter 15.

Lacayo has also worked at length with the versatile 28 U.S.C. § 1782 discovery statute, including in one of the leading cases out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lacayo holds a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law (2003) and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (2000).

 

 

NYANA A. MILLER Bio Image

NYANA A. MILLER
Associate, Sequor Law

Nyana Abreu Miller, an attorney at Sequor Law, focuses her practice on international asset recovery and financial fraud.

Miller has worked on cases brought under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on behalf of foreign office holders of bankrupt Latin American companies and financial institutions where insiders misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assets into or through the United States. She represents individuals, corporations, receivers and trustees in litigation to recover assets that were concealed, fraudulently transferred, or otherwise misappropriated.

Prior to joining Sequor Law, she worked on commercial, financial and real estate transactions at an international law firm. In that position, Miller represented bank syndicates in financial transactions for various purposes, including working capital, international trade and acquisitions.

She holds a J.D., University of Miami School of Law (2011) and a B.A., University of Kansas (2005).

 

August 2018 Quarterly Newsletter

The Bankruptcy Episode w/ Paul Orshan, Leyza Blanco, Jacqueline Calderín, and Joe Stone

Felony Miami explores the disparities in the criminal justice system and the intersection of those disparities and the arts.

In this exploration, Felony Miami seeks to educate, entertain, enlighten and contribute towards the improvement and fairness of the system.  Felony Miami intends to do this by bringing together thought leaders, decision makers, the accused, the guilty, the not guilty and other participants in the system and in the arts to examine the current state of being, ways in which the system can be improved and ways in which the arts can contribute to this exploration and improvement.

Sequor Law’s Leyza Blanco spoke with Felony Miami as part of their Bankruptcy Episode. Click below to listen.

Gibraltarian payday loans business files Chapter 15 in Miami

Two weeks after its UK sister company filed for Chapter 15 protection in New Jersey, the joint liquidators of a Gibraltar-registered payday loans business embroiled in fraud and mismanagement allegations, have sought recognition of their appointment in Miami.

With counsel from Sequor Law shareholder Leyza Blanco, Grant Thornton partners David Ingram and Frederick White filed the Chapter 15 petition in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida on 14 August.

Ingram and White were appointed joint liquidators of Privilege Wealth One by the Supreme Court of Gibraltar in June, five months after administrators were appointed over its sister company, UK-registered holding company Privilege Wealth, in England.

Soon after the UK administrators were appointed, the group caught the attention of the UK’s Mail on Sunday, which quoted a letter to investors from Privilege Wealth One blaming the group’s problems on a series of bad decisions, including the UK company;s investment in a payday loans business in South Dakota run by a Native American Sioux Tribe, and serviced – at least initially – from a call centre in Panama.

The head of that call centre, according to the Mail, was a UK national and “well known scam operator” who was reportedly shot in an assassination attempt in Panama last year. He was later arrested at the request of Spanish police, which accused him of running a scam oil venture from a call centre in Marbella targeting British investors.

In a declaration filed at the Miami court, Ingram said Privilege Wealth One was plunged into compulsory liquidation after Chilean creditor Richard Leclerc filed a statutory demand in Gibraltar in March. Leclerc requested payment owed to him by Privilege Wealth One and its general partner Privilege Wealth Management (PWM) under a loan note agreement.

After the companies failed to satisfy the demand they were presumed insolvent under Gibraltarian law and Leclerc made an application to appoint the joint liquidators, supported by three additional investors. Those four creditors have combined unsatisfied debts of US$600,000 in US loan notes and £800,000 (US$1.02 million) in European loan notes.

Ingram told the US court that he has taken steps to gather information on the affairs of Privilege Wealth One and PWM, and to notify all creditors and interested persons of his appointment. But he said that the information available to the joint liquidators so far has not allowed them determine “the precise details of the funds received from creditors” for investment in the Privilege companies, or how the proceeds were used.

The Chapter 15 application “is of critical importance to addressing these issues”, Ingram’s declaration said. “[R]ecogonition under Chapter 15 is essential to the joint liquidators’ worldwide pursuit of assets with which to recover the funds received from creditors”.

Under Gibraltarian insolvency law, no distinction is applied between the assets of an insolvent entity located within Gibraltar and those outside the territory. “The joint liquidators are empowered to seek recovery of all assets and rights, wherever located,” Ingram said, adding they are duty bound to pursue assets and claims of the debtor in the United States.

Other actions

GRR has already reported that the UK administrators Privilege Wealth, filed Chapter 15 recognition proceedings in New Jersey on 2 August. David Rubin & Partners’ Stephen Katz and John Kelmanson of Kelmanson Insolvency Solutions were appointed by the England and Wales High Court back in January, after the company defaulted on funds owed to the Gibraltarian entity.

In a declaration filed in New Jersey, Katz said he had become aware that Privilege Wealth had possible rights and causes of action arising out of a 25,000 strong portfolio of payday loans. He said any outstanding loans and the proceeds from the portfolio may now lie with US company Oliphant Financial, which was allegedly engaged to service the loans after the UK company’s own Panamanian subsidiary stopped servicing them.

Katz and Kelmanson intend to file lawsuits in the US to obtain what funds they can for creditors, and have also asked the New Jersey bankruptcy court’s permission to repatriate any proceeds recovered to the UK.

Privilege Wealth One and Luxemburgish fund Helix Investment Management are described as the UK company’s two primary lenders in its Chapter 15 application. They appear on a list of entities against whom Katz and Kelmanson may seek provisional relief in the US, along with Florida foreign limited partnership Privilege Direct, and numerous Oliphant entities, which are being pursued by Helix in the District Court of the Middle District of Florida.

Helix, which may be owed US$7 million by Privilege Wealth according to the UK’s Mail on Sunday, is seeking damages of US$75,000 plus interest and injunctive relief in those proceedings for the breach of various security arrangements relating to loans it issued to the company.

In Ingram and White’s Chapter 15 petition in Miami, they also list the Oliphant groups and Helix as entities against whom the Gibraltarian company may seek interim relief, as well as the UK company Privilege Wealth.

A hearing to decide Privilege Wealth One’s recognition application will take place before Judge Laurel Isicoff in Florida on 9 September.

Meanwhile, a recognition hearing for Privilege Wealth’s action in New Jersey has been listed for 6 September, with Judge John Sherwood assigned to the case.

In the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida

In re: Privilege Wealth One Limited Partnership

  • Judge Laurel Isicoff
  • Joint Liquidators of Privilege Wealth One

  • Grant Thornton
  • Partners David Ingram in London and Frederick White in Gibraltar Counsel to the joint liquidators of Privilege Wealth One

  • Sequor Law
  • Partners Leyza Blanco and Edward Davis in Miami

    To view full article, click here.

    New ‘Substantial Doubt’ Standard for Foreign Judgment Enforcement in Fla.

    A recent change to a state law concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Florida may make it easier to avoid payment of valid debts.

    By Arnoldo B. Lacayo, Juan J. Mendoza and Andres H. Sandoval

     

    Juan Mendoza, Andres Sandoval and Arnoldo B. Lacayo, Sequor Law

    Left to right: Juan Mendoza, Andres Sandoval and Arnoldo B. Lacayo, Sequor Law

    A recent change to a state law concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Florida may make it easier to avoid payment of valid debts. An amendment to the Uniform Out-of-Country Foreign Money- Judgment Recognition Act (the act) adds two further grounds for denial of recognition of foreign country money-judgments, potentially making it harder to recognize and enforce foreign judgments in the Sunshine State, a jurisdiction already viewed domestically and abroad as a debtor’s haven due to its generous exemptions.

    On March 19, House Bill No. 623 was signed into law and, per Article III, Section 9 of the Florida Constitution, went into effect on May 9. The bill adds two discretionary grounds to Section 55.605(2), Fla. Stat., to challenge recognition of a foreign money-judgment. Under these additional grounds, a Florida court need not recognize a foreign money-judgment if the judgment was rendered in circumstances that “raise substantial doubt about the integrity of the rendering court” or “the specific proceeding in the foreign court leading to the judgment was not compatible with the requirements of due process of law.” These new grounds apply only to judgments of other countries and not to judgments of other U.S. states, territories or commonwealths.

    Enacted in Florida in 1994, the act largely follows the 1962 version of the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (the Uniform Act), promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (the NCCUSL). The act applies to final, conclusive, and enforceable money-judgments of other countries. Generally, such judgments are entitled to recognition under the act; however, there are several mandatory and discretionary grounds set forth in Section 55.605, Fla. Stat., upon which a court may deny recognition.

    While the purpose of the act is to “provide a speedy and certain framework for recognition of foreign judgments,” Laager v. Kruger, 702 So. 2d 1362, 1363 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997), in practice, this may not be the case.

    At first glance, the new amendment may seem unnecessary as the act already provides avenues to challenge recognition of a foreign judgment if it is “rendered under a system which does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law,” or if it is “obtained by fraud.” The official comment to the Uniform Act draws a distinction between the new and existing grounds by stating that the focus of these two new grounds is on the integrity and procedure of the specific court that rendered the judgment, rather than on the judicial system of the foreign country.

    Nevertheless, one potential concern is that the amendment invites a case-by-case review of foreign judgments, rather than further the “speedy and certain framework” the act intended to establish. This concern is compounded by the uncertainty as to the application of the nebulous “substantial doubt” standard when evaluating the “integrity” of the foreign court. Based on this language, some may argue that a debtor need only present enough evidence to raise substantial doubt in the mind of the trier of fact rather than affirmatively demonstrating fraud. Thusly, at face value, the amendment appears to welcome the enterprising debtor to argue the interpretation and limits of these new provisions in an effort to delay and possibly frustrate the recognition and enforcement of a legitimate foreign judgment.

    Though the “substantial doubt” standard appears broad and ambiguous, it should in fact be narrowly interpreted. The NCCUSL explains that the standard is tantamount to “a showing of corruption in the particular case that had an impact on the judgment that was rendered.” At least two courts have followed the NCCUSL’s guidance in this respect. See In re Carmona, No. 16-50155, 2018 WL 889358, at *13 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Jan. 19, 2018); Savage v. Zelent, 243 N.C. App. 535, 545 (2015). Neither found “substantial doubt” as to the integrity of the foreign court.

    In short, the new amendment may leave room for abuse if courts do not adhere to the guidance of the Uniform Act and the interpretation of other courts. If so, the nebulous “substantial doubt” standard should have minimal impact for experienced creditor’s rights and asset recovery lawyers seeking to enforce valid foreign judgments entitled to recognition in Florida.

    Click to view full article.

    Partner Q&A

    This June, we welcomed two new powerhouse attorneys as partners at Sequor Law. We sat down with Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez to discuss what led them to our firm, their viewpoints on their unique practice areas, and their interests and community involvement.

    Why did you decide to join Sequor Law?

    • Fernando – Being geographically situated in Miami, which serves as a gateway to Latin America and a hub for international business, Leyza and I were excited by the possibilities presented in joining a firm with a great depth of experience and knowledge in the international asset recovery arena. We have known the lawyers at Sequor Law professionally for many years and greatly admire their practice. We believe that our addition to this exceptional team creates natural synergies, adds to the firm’s resources and helps us all respond to the needs of our clients worldwide.
    • Leyza – Sequor Law presented an excellent opportunity to join professional colleagues who are world-class experts in the fields of Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights and Asset Recovery, and who would augment my cross-border practice with an already established global presence in those fields.

    What do you think is unique about the firm?

    • Fernando – The firm’s depth of experience in international asset recovery matters is truly impressive. In the few short weeks since joining the firm, I’ve had the opportunity to assist clients and work with global teams on matters with ties, not only to the U.S., but to the U.K., Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Panama, Turkey, and Romania. I don’t know that I could say that anywhere else.
    • Leyza – Sequor Law is unique because it is a specialized firm with a niche practice and global reach in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Asset Recovery space.

    How are your practice areas important for Sequor, and/or in general?

    • Fernando – I’ve focused my practice on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights matters for some time. Sequor’s focus on representing companies and individual clients in the areas of asset recovery, financial fraud, insolvency and financial services litigation fits perfectly within the scope of the work I’ve done throughout my career. I believe that our addition to the team will amplify the firm’s already formidable resources, and allow us to better assist and respond to the needs of our clients, whenever and wherever they may arise.
    • Leyza – Our practice areas have synergy with Sequor’s existing cross-border insolvency and restructuring practices. We look forward to adding to Sequor’s already deep bench in these areas.

    How do you see your practice areas evolving or changing in the next 5-10 years?

    • Fernando – In a world that (at least as it relates to commerce) is getting smaller by the day, I see the scope of my work expanding to meet the needs of U.S.-based clients engaged in international business, and to assist clients in their asset recovery efforts around the world.
    • Leyza – I see our practice evolving to expand the use of U.S. Courts to assist clients from all parts of the world in asset recovery and insolvency proceedings.

    What special strengths do you bring to Sequor?

    • Fernando – During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to handle numerous types of bankruptcy and insolvency matters from a number of different perspectives. In addition to working for plaintiffs and defendants in various fraudulent transfer and avoidance cases, I’ve also assisted a broad range of clients acting in various capacities in bankruptcy and other litigation proceedings, including debtors, trustees, secured creditors, bondholders, judgment creditors, and shareholders. I think the broad range of my prior engagements provides the benefit of multiple perspectives on how to handle new challenges.
    • Leyza – We bring additional depth of experience in both cross-border and domestic insolvency and creditors’ rights matters as well as the ability to counsel clients in Spanish, as we are native Spanish speakers.

    How do you give back to the community?

    • Fernando – My wife and I contribute to several charities that are primarily focused on assisting children in developing countries.
    • Leyza – For many years, I have taught law students in clinical programs with the goal of serving the profession of law and the community. Most recently, I have assisted with a medical/legal partnership clinic assisting students with indigent clients who seek pro bono assistance in insolvency matters. I am also committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and to this end have served in various leadership roles, including Treasurer of the Florida Bar’s Business Law Section and Finance Director of IWIRC (International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation.) When I served as President of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida, I brought the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program (C.A.R.E.) to South Florida, and then throughout the state. The C.A.R.E. Program teaches students of all ages the dangers of credit abuse. Through this program, we have presented to students in middle schools through to university freshmen. I am still involved in this program and most recently presented to students at the Department of Juvenile Justice in collaboration with the Legal Up Program. Teaching at-risk students and foster youth in transition about the dangers of credit abuse has been a good way to merge my skill set and experience as a bankruptcy lawyer with my love of teaching.

    What is something people don’t know about you?

    • Fernando – Last year, I decided to take on the challenge of building a large wooden deck in my backyard. Not being a carpenter, and working only on weekends, the project turned out to be somewhat ambitious, and took far, far, . . . far longer than anticipated. Although it was a very rewarding experience, I’m fairly certain that my wife will insist that all future carpentry be left to the professionals.
    • Leyza – Many people do not know that law is my second career, having worked as a public school teacher prior to and during my law school years. Since then, I have also served as an adjunct professor teaching law students.

    Sequor Law Picks Up Two Bankruptcy Attorneys From GrayRobinson

    By Rick Archer

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr.

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr.

    Sequor Law has added two former GrayRobinson PA shareholders, including one of the founding members of that firm’s Miami office, to its own Miami-based bankruptcy practice, the firm has announced.

    In a statement released June 4, Sequor Law said new partners Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr. have experience dealing with complex and cross-border bankruptcy cases, which would be a particular asset to the firm.

    “The firm not only gains two outstanding lawyers with years of experience in insolvency, restructuring and commercial litigation but their bilingual and multicultural heritage will add to the growth of our market leadership in international asset recovery and cross-border insolvency,” Sequor Law founding shareholder Ed Davis said in the statement.

    Seven years ago Blanco, a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, was one of the founding shareholders of GrayRobinson’s Miami office.

    The statement said Blanco has a wide range of litigation experience with a special emphasis on complex business bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters. She has extensive international bankruptcy experience, including with the Chapter 15 proceedings for Barbados-based British American Insurance Co., where she served as U.S. counsel for the court-appointed representatives from 11 different jurisdictions

    She is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator. Menendez, a New York University School of Law graduate, also spent seven years with GrayRobinson after starting his career at White & Case LLP.

    Menendez has worked a broad range of business reorganization and restructuring matters as well as complex and contested bankruptcy issues, the statement said. According to his biography on the firm’s website, one major case Menendez has handled was representing the holders of more than $30 million in secured debt in the contested Chapter 11 of the owner of a large Miami real estate parcel.

    Both attorneys credited what they called Sequor’s focus on international business as their reasons for joining the firm.

    “I think we were both concerned about widening the breadth of our international practice,” Menendez said in a phone interview Monday. “They’re already in these markets. I think we have the opportunity to expand our relationships overseas.”

    In the statement, Blanco said they had both worked with a number of Sequor’s attorneys for years and had “long admired” the firm.

    “They have significant depth in the cross-border area,” Blanco said in the phone interview. “They have a really deep bench.”

    Miami-based Sequor represents financial institutions, governments, and public and non-public companies in commercial litigation, financial fraud cases and bankruptcies in the U.S. and internationally, according to the statement.

    Click to view full article.

    Meet Our Newest Partners

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez have joined the Sequor Law team as partners, representing a significant expansion for the firm, founded just one year ago.

    Miami’s Sequor Law Raids GrayRobinson for Two Insolvency/Litigation Partners

    By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr. joined Miami’s Sequor Law as partners.

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr.

    Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr.

    Sequor Law, the Miami firm formed in 2017 as the successor to Astigarraga Davis, on Monday hired insolvency and litigation lawyers Leyza Blanco and Fernando Menendez Jr. as partners. Both came from GrayRobinson.

    Blanco said Sequor Law’s well-known international insolvency practice is a great fit for her practice. She does a range of insolvency work and litigation, including complex business bankruptcy and commercial litigation. Menendez does a variety of insolvency work, including complex workouts, bankruptcy litigation and representation of foreign and domestic court-appointed trustees.

    Blanco, who is also a Florida Supreme Court-certified civil mediator, declined to identify clients they brought with them to the new firm.

    “The firm not only gains two outstanding lawyers with years of experience in insolvency, restructuring and commercial litigation, but their bilingual and multicultural heritage will add to the growth of our market leadership in international asset recovery and cross-border insolvency,” Edward Davis, a founding partner of Sequor Law, said in a statement.

    Both Blanco and Menendez are fluent in English and Spanish.

    In April 2017, Astigarraga Davis co-founder Jose Astigarraga left the firm along with a group of international arbitrators to open a Miami office for Reed Smith. At that time, Davis changed the name of Astigarraga Davis to Sequor Law, which has a practice focusing on asset recovery, financial fraud and cross-border insolvency.

    With the lateral hires, Sequor Law now has 14 lawyers.

    GrayRobinson, the duo’s former firm, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Click to view full article.