Winston & Strawn added two partners to the firm’s rapidly growing Miami office: Carl A. Fornaris, who joins the Transactions Department, and Jared R. Kessler, who joins the firm’s Litigation Department.
Fornaris comes from the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where he was co-chair of both the Financial Regulatory and Compliance Practice and the Blockchain and Digital Assets Group. Kessler also comes from Greenberg’s Miami office.
Accompanying these partners are Of Counsel Paul W. Jezierny, who joins the Transactions Department from Shutts & Bowen LLP’s Miami office, and associates Elisa H. Baca and Claudia Ojeda, who join the firm’s Litigation Department from Greenberg’s Miami office. Associate Gabriela A. Plasencia joined the Transactions Department earlier this month from Shutts & Bowen in Miami.
The lawyers’ arrival closely follows that of the initial six partners who launched the firm’s Miami office on May 19, 2022, and it comes soon after two corporate partners joined the office on June 16, 2022. It is expected that additional arrivals will be announced in the near future.
“Carl, who will co-chair Winston’s Financial Services Regulatory/Compliance Practice and the firm’s Digital Assets & Blockchain Technology group, brings nearly three decades of financial services experience, including in the banking, payments, fintech and digital assets spaces. These and other facets of the financial services sector are of key importance to the Miami and international business communities,” Enrique J. Martin, Miami office managing partner, said. “Jared adds litigation bench strength to our office, and he brings the same entrepreneurial energy that fuels the industries we serve in South Florida and around the globe. Notably, these partners — and the additional lawyers joining them — come from the Miami legal community, which means they know the market and are ready to provide our domestic and international clients with practical legal and business solutions.”
Fornaris represents clients on formation and licensing, capital-raising transactions, acquisitions and divestitures, USA PATRIOT Act/BSA/AML compliance and OFAC sanctions programs, cryptocurrency and digital assets regulation, payments, mobile money and fintech, federal and state agency enforcement proceedings, Dodd-Frank Act compliance and the Corporate Transparency Act. Throughout his career, he has counseled clients in their dealings with the Federal Reserve, OCC, FDIC, FinCEN, SEC, FINRA, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, New York Department of Financial Services, and other state supervisory authorities. Fornaris also represents lenders and credit parties in financing transactions, particularly credits to non-U.S. loan parties, asset-based credits, acquisition financing, and stand-by letters of credit. Previously, Fornaris served as head of legal and compliance for the Latin America region of Barclays Bank PLC, with responsibility for managing legal and compliance matters throughout the region.
Kessler focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts and has litigated in jurisdictions around the country. He represents clients across a broad spectrum of industries in cases involving a diverse array of matters, including class action claims, business torts and contract disputes, corporate and partnership governance disputes and real estate claims. Kessler’s class action work focuses on defending against consumer claims of false or misleading packaging and advertising and allegations of deceptive trade practices. For example, he has assisted in the defense of an international food manufacturer against false advertising claims seeking over $100 million in damages and an international hotel chain against claims of deceptive billing practices at several of its on-property restaurants.
Jezierny practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial finance, and corporate and securities law. He represents global financial institutions, funds, and operating companies in a variety of regulatory, transactional, enforcement and corporate matters.
Plasencia represents financial institutions and other businesses in government investigations and enforcement actions, arbitrations, and civil litigations. She also advises clients on regulatory, licensing, corporate and compliance issues in the fintech and blockchain technology space. Baca focuses on complex commercial litigation and putative class action lawsuits filed in federal court, representing businesses in matters involving claims of consumer fraud, deceptive and unfair trade practices, mislabeling and false or misleading advertising. Ojeda handles civil litigation matters in both federal and state courts. She represents clients in matters involving breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and consumer class actions.
“The addition of these lawyers demonstrates Winston’s ongoing commitment to serving the Miami market by recruiting the very best legal talent that market has to offer,” Winston Chairman Tom Fitzgerald, said. “Each lawyer brings critical experience, knowledge, and skills. Together, they help us round out both the transactional and litigation service offerings that South Florida’s sophisticated business community requires.”