Six lawyers and over a dozen other professionals have joined together to form a new U.S. law firm, Continental PLLC, which will be based in Florida and specialize in bankruptcy and commercial litigation for clients across the Americas, as well as government relations work for international clients and domestic “center-right” politicians and organizations that aren’t well-served by large law firms.
Continental’s co-founders include Genovese Joblove & Battista partners John Arrastia Jr. and Jesus M. Suarez, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough government relations attorney Anne Corcoran, and Carlos Trujillo, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.
Suarez will lead the firm’s office in Coral Gables, Florida with associates Carlos Alvarez and Angelo Castaldi, also formerly of Genovese Joblove. Trujillo, who has been a partner at the firm’s affiliated lobbying and government relations arm Continental Strategy since January 2021, will lead the office in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, where Corcoran will also practice. Trujillo will also operate his government relations practice in Washington, D.C.
Fourteen professionals from Continental Strategy joined Trujillo in the move over to Continental PLLC as well.
In an interview, Suarez said his and Arrastia’s experience representing Latin American clients in bankruptcy and other forms of litigation is mutually beneficial to Trujillo’s government relations practice, in which Trujillo represents family offices in Central America and the Dominican Republic in U.S. trade disputes and arbitration.
“To put that together and merge both spheres was a fantastic business opportunity,” Suarez said. “Many of Carlos’ clients in Latin America need sophisticated litigators in the U.S. who not only know how to litigate cases but also know how to find solutions that involve disciplines such as bankruptcy or government relations. The ability to combine our team with Carlos’ team adds value because we know how to thread the needle in both worlds.”
Suarez and Arrastia currently represent the unsecured creditors’ committee in the $129 billion bankruptcy of Puerto Rico, the biggest public debt restructuring in U.S. history. The bankruptcy plan was confirmed in February, but Suarez said the attorneys will continue to represent the creditors in post-confirmation litigation. They’ll also seek to recover billions of dollars for the benefit of unsecured creditors in the ongoing insolvency proceedings of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
In the U.S., Trujillo said he also seeks to earn government relations work for conservative organizations and practice election litigation for Republican campaigns. As the nation’s politics become more polarized, Trujillo said traditional law firms are increasingly risk-averse in their choice of clients, meaning fewer attorneys to represent causes he described as “center-right.”
“It’s a product of cancel culture. Companies find themselves in an untenable position of not satisfying either side. It’s not only Disney—look at Major League Baseball and the voting rights bill. They ended up canceling the All-Star game,” said Trujillo, referring to the MLB’s decision to move the game from Atlanta to Denver following Georgia’s passage of the Election Integrity Act of 2021. The act later prompted a U.S. Department of Justice racial discrimination lawsuit.
“[The league] is also doing business in communist Cuba,” he continued. “That’s the hypocrisy of cancel culture.”
Suarez said he will also practice election law as elections become more litigious.
“I’ve represented candidates in election disputes for over a decade,” Suarez said. “I think election litigation is a very exciting and growing practice area. Having skilled litigators that know election issues to represent candidates and campaigns, making sure every legitimate vote is counted, is not only important to us as lawyers but as concerned citizens.”
In a statement, Genovese Joblove wished the departing attorneys well and reaffirmed its commitment to regional and national clients.