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McDonald Hopkins Law Firm Taps Former General Counsel To Jeb Bush To Open Miami Office

CLEVELAND - Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez, who served as general counsel to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and most recently was a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, has joined McDonald Hopkins LLC, a business advisory and advocacy law firm with an 80-year history.

Rodriguez will serve as managing member of the firm's new Miami office, which is in the Southeast Financial Center (formerly Wachovia) at 200 South Biscayne Blvd. She will also serve on the firm's Board of Directors. McDonald Hopkins has more than 130 attorneys in West Palm Beach, Cleveland, Chicago, Columbus and Detroit.  

During her time with Gov. Bush, Rodriguez worked on some of the most complex and urgent issues facing Florida, such as the largest economic development project in state history, a $310 million economic incentive grant to The Scripps Research Institute.

Rodriguez also represented the state in the incentive grants to The Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and the Stanford Research Institute. Overall, she has been instrumental in the negotiation of nearly $750 million in state and local incentives to promote the diversification of the state's economy. Rodriguez also advised Gov. Bush in more than 200 appointments to the state's courts. Gov. Bush continues to be among Rodriguez's principal clients.  

While many law firms have struggled in a difficult economy in recent years, McDonald Hopkins has continued to grow and expand. The firm's revenues have increased 46 percent since 2006. The West Palm Beach office, which opened in 2004 with four attorneys, has grown to 11 attorneys today. The Chicago office of McDonald Hopkins, which opened in 2007, has 19 attorneys and recently moved to a premier building on the Chicago River. In Detroit, 10 attorneys have been added in the past 18 months. Initially, the Miami office will consist of two attorneys. McDonald Hopkins continues to recruit attorneys to join its national practice groups.

Rodriguez pointed out that John T. Metzger, managing member of the West Palm Beach office, and she started their legal careers together in 1985 at Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Miami, where they both became shareholders.

Rodriguez, who is fluent in Spanish and speaks French, has more than 25 years of experience representing Fortune 100 clients, closely held companies, foreign governments, family businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs. She has worked with Latin America during most of her legal career representing clients from throughout the Americas as well as assisting U.S. companies with international disputes and business challenges. Much as she did for Gov. Bush as general counsel, Rodriguez is a "trouble shooter" for clients using her wide-ranging experience in international and business litigation, business counseling, crisis management, and government affairs to help them achieve their goals and overcome potential threats.

Rodriguez has also served as executive director of the London-based MULTILAW Multinational Association of Independent Law Firms.

Rodriguez is active in several Florida organizations. She is a founding board member and Executive Committee member of the Florida-Israel Business Forum, founding member of the Miami International Arbitration Society, Executive Committee member of the Florida Bar Section of International Law and co-chair of its Amicus Committee, and Legislative Committee member of BioFlorida.

A graduate of the University of Miami, Rodriguez earned a J.D., summa cum laude, in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in 1982. In law school, Rodriguez was class valedictorian, a member of the University of Miami Law Review, and the Order of the Coif.

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