Network Firm News

Friday, January 31, 2014

First Law Firm to Establish an Outpost In Miami's Wynwood Art District, a Rising Center for Innovation for U.S. and International Entrepreneurs

Akerman, a leading U.S. law firm, today announced that it has embedded itself into one of the country's most promising startup communities, establishing an outpost at The LAB Miami (LAB), an entrepreneurial incubator located in the heart of Miami's Wynwood Art District. Akerman is the first law firm to occupy space in this thriving urban hub. The firm joins a diverse mix of innovators and tech startups, as well as international investors and serial entrepreneurs, converging to disrupt existing business models while developing breakthrough ways of delivering services and engaging with clients and each other.

A core group of Akerman lawyers representing the firm’s Corporate, Intellectual Property and Real Estate Practice Groups will work and collaborate in the space to decentralize from the confines of a traditional high-rise office and to integrate with Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"Akerman's involvement in the LAB is part of our institutional commitment to weave our lawyers - in Miami and across the firm's national platform - into the fabric of the grassroots entrepreneurial movement in the United States," said Andrew Smulian, Akerman Chairman and CEO. "Disruptive technology and breakthrough business solutions are frequently born from collisions of discovery. We want our lawyers to integrate with an environment that allows these collisions to occur - helping to build a culture of collaborative innovation and continue to disrupt traditional methods of providing legal services."

Miami's urban core is fast becoming the next major entrepreneurial hub joining the likes of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.

“With veteran entrepreneurs and angel investors like the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation nurturing Miami's entrepreneurial ecosystem, the City's urban core has become a launching and landing point for startups throughout the Americas," said Wifredo Fernandez, Co-Founder of The LAB. "Given Akerman's deep roots in Miami and expansive reach across the international business community, we are thrilled that Akerman has joined us as an active player."

"The Lab Miami was one of Knight's very first investments aimed at helping build Miami's emerging startup community," said Matt Haggman, Miami Program Director at Knight Foundation, which launched an initiative focused on strengthening Miami's startup community a year ago. "We couldn't be more excited to have a forward-thinking law firm like Akerman be part of the growing group of innovators at The LAB. The firm's addition to the space highlights the diversity of Miami's startup ecosystem, while reinforcing the need to create a strong support network for up-and-coming entrepreneurs."

Akerman is one of the top 100 law firms in the United States and the largest firm in Florida. Its presence in Miami's start-up community is a natural progression in the firm's trajectory and continued growth.

"Akerman has been at the center of the entrepreneurial movement in South Florida for more than three decades, having guided fiercely independent business pioneers and venture capitalists in transformational deals that have defined the region," said Mary Carroll, chair of Akerman's Corporate Practice Group. "With the next wave of entrepreneurs and international investors converging at the LAB, Miami has many of the elements needed to succeed as a startup mecca."

The LAB Miami is a 10,000 square foot collaborative work-learn campus for the entrepreneurial community to learn, create and disrupt together. Under the guidance of experienced mentors combined with an educational curriculum, the LAB seeks to enable collective inspiration and build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami. The LAB is located in Miami's Wynwood Art District, a community at the intersection of contemporary culture and urban revitalization in Miami, home to over 70 galleries, museums, art collections and the world's best graffiti and street artists.

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