2021: Doing Business in Florida, USA

Published on Jan 28, 2022

Doing Business in Florida

While South Florida’s prominence in private equity, venture capital, and technology had been steadily increasing, the tax law changes implemented during the Trump administration (2017-2021) (which limited the ability to deduct state taxes from federal taxes) created greater incentives for clients based in traditional high-tax states to move to Florida, which has no state income tax. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend through the broad adoption of remote working.

While most of this growth is coming from within the United States, the growth of technology and venture capital opportunities in South Florida has led Latin American entrepreneurs and technology companies to look to South Florida as a source of capital. There has also been growth in capital coming to the U.S., and particularly Florida, especially from clients based in Chile, Peru, and Colombia.

1. What is the current business climate in your jurisdiction including major political, economic and/or legal activities on the horizon in your country that could have a big impact on businesses?

We have seen the trend of venture capital investment into the U.S. from Europe and Latin America.

2. From what countries do you see the most inbound investment? What about outbound?

While we continue to see investment from traditional sources (e.g., Spain) in Florida, there is no doubt that there has been a marked increase in inbound investment from Chile, Colombia, and Peru. Outbound from Florida, there continues to be investment in Brazil and Mexico, as Latin America’s largest markets, but significant investments are also noted in Central America (particularly by Europeans) and in Colombia (principally from American clients).

3. In what industries/sectors are you seeing the most opportunity for foreign investment?

Technology-based businesses are a focus for outbound investment, as are opportunities for “near-shoring” in places like Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador. Inbound, the opportunities are most noted in real estate, although investment firms are making a major mark in South Florida.

4. What advantages and pitfalls should others know about doing business in your country?

There is perhaps no other place in the world where it is as easy to form a company and start a business. Of course, there are also few places in the world that are as competitive as the U.S., which creates both risk and opportunity for market entrants. Historically, foreign investment into the U.S. was relatively easy, with few regulations outside of certain industries (e.g., airline) or certain sensitive sectors (e.g., defense technology). More recently, foreign investment into the U.S. has become more scrutinized, with many foreign investment transactions being subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS).

5. What is one cultural fact or custom about your jurisdiction that others should know when doing business there?

It is often said that Miami, influenced by the rich cultures of its large Latin American immigrant communities, has more in common with Latin America than with the rest of the U.S. However, rather than being an outlier, the city’s growing prominence as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship has helped to shape and influence national discourse on important topics, including immigration and more recently, technologies of the future, like crypto.

Our Firm

1. What distinguishes your firm from others in your market?

Greenberg Traurig was founded in Miami, Florida and today is one of the world’s largest law firms, representing many of the world’s top corporations. However, what distinguishes us as a firm is that we continue to value a close relationship with our clients, providing a boutique experience with the expertise and resources of a global law firm. Within Florida, our firm maintains six offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee, which is the state capital. Our core practices in Florida include a full-service corporate practice, where we represent many of the state’s leading corporations on matters ranging from M&A to finance and securities offerings, supported by leading tax and regulatory practices. Our real estate team, which is complemented by our Florida-based environmental and land use & zoning practices, represents leading real estate developers and has been involved in almost every important real estate project in the state, especially in South Florida. Our litigation team is multidisciplinary, with a dedicated team of trial lawyers, appellate lawyers, white collar litigators (including the former Assistant U.S. Attorney and the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida), securities litigators, and a nationally-recognized products liability litigation team. We also maintain a leading governmental affairs practice based in Tallahassee. Finally, we distinguish ourselves through our commitment to our community, with many of our lawyers serving on the boards of leading charitable organizations throughout the state, as well as leading a number of professional organizations.

2. What words describe the culture of your firm?

Excellence, collaboration, and meritocracy.

3. Are there any new and exciting initiatives, practice areas or industry focuses in your firm?

Over the past decade, but with tremendous acceleration since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditionally New York-based clients, including major private equity firms, have been moving their operations to South Florida. At the same time, Miami has grown as a center for technology-focused investment, with a number of high-profile venture firms from California and New York moving to South Florida. As a result, our corporate and transaction practices have grown, as have our venture capital engagements and fund formation practices. We see continued growth in these core transactional areas, including capital markets.