Superb Negotiator Protects the Interests of Clients, Community, and Family

Superb Negotiator Protects the Interests of Clients, Community, and Family

Jorge Diaz-Silveira, J.D. ’88
Jorge Diaz-Silveira, J.D. ’88
PHOTO BY Jenny Abreu

As a student at the University of Miami School of Law, Jorge Diaz-Silveira, like most of his classmates, wanted to prove himself and be at the top of his class. He excelled in the classroom and moot court but quickly realized he preferred negotiations over litigation. Diaz-Silveira had been surrounded by students who loved arguing and relished in heated debates over the most minor, insignificant aspects of a case.

“Most young lawyers think they must prevail on every point,” said Diaz-Silveira, J.D. ’88. “Everything’s an argument, a win.” The relentless bickering he observed in litigation was not his style. Diaz-Silveira gravitated toward transactional law and the art of negotiation. Armed with a jovial personality, a sharp mind, and an effective presence, he has spent 34 years closing deals, settling contract disputes, and negotiating compromises both sides can stomach. He quickly grasps the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves” for his clients while always focusing on the final outcome.

“You have to be a zealous advocate and protect your client’s interest—that’s your obligation—but you also have to be sensitive to your client’s desire to close a transaction,” he said. “I’m relentless in pursuit of my client’s objective but I realize that clients are almost always better served if you work things out.”

After graduating, Diaz-Silveira worked at Steel Hector & Davis (now Squire Sanders), focusing on real estate and construction deals. He represented banks, local and national developers, construction companies, and other businesses, garnering the confidence of many of the firm’s largest clients. At 29 years old, he became one of the youngest lawyers ever to make partner.

However, as his roster of clients grew, he and a core group of friends and colleagues concluded that they had to go bigger.

“We decided we wanted to take our practice to another level, to a global level, and work on the largest deals both in the U.S. and internationally,” Diaz-Silveira said. “Steel Hector was a phenomenal firm, but it wasn’t a global law firm.”

So, Diaz-Silveira and four others approached Hogan Lovells, formerly Hogan & Hartson, and made their pitch. It worked. They moved in January 2002 and became significant players in a big firm.

Diaz-Silveira took on more prominent clients, including several of the largest developers of renewable energy in the world, a slew of Latin American government entities responsible for large-scale infrastructure projects, including oil, gas, and transportation. There were also several conglomerates in Latin America, including one of the largest distributors of food and beverages in Latin America, a global cement company, a major fully integrated sugar company, and several multinational companies developing private-public partnership projects in the U.S. and Latin America.

Diaz-Silveira is also the managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ Miami office and practice area leader (Americas) for the infrastructure, energy, resources, and projects practice. The other four members of his group have also remained and risen the ranks.

“The five of us have a bond beyond the practice of law. We were very close friends,” Diaz-Silveira said. “That special bond has lasted over 30 years, and we continue to support each other both personally and in business.”

Even sweeter for Diaz-Silveira is that four of the five are graduates of Miami Law. “The only negative about (Jose Valdivia), he graduated from Notre Dame,” he joked.

Now 57, Diaz-Silveira is just starting to think about how he wants to spend his remaining years as a lawyer.

He insists he enjoys the practice of law too much to consider slowing down. Still, part of his plan is to continue helping the next generation of attorneys, especially those from immigrant families like his. Diaz-Silveira’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, driving him to become a board member of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, an organization that helps young Hispanics on their path to becoming lawyers.

I haven’t forgotten that I’m a first-generation American...

Although his paternal grandfather was a Supreme Court Justice in Cuba and his maternal grandfather a lawyer, diplomat, and author, “we started from zero. The Hispanic National Bar Foundation is my way of helping people who if given the opportunity will excel as lawyers.”

He also wants to spend time teaching, possibly at Miami Law, where he has served as a guest lecturer.

However, more than anything, Diaz-Silveira knows that most of his time will be spent focused on his family and his faith. He has five children and has been married to his wife, Renee, for over 25 years. He has been a parishioner at Epiphany Catholic Church for half a century and it is where he and Renee remain active, serving as eucharistic ministers and Jorge as an advocate.

Despite an intense work schedule requiring him to fly over 100,000 miles a year, he always rushes back to his family.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s just us on weekends,” he said. “Although helping others is incredibly important and rewarding, I firmly believe that the most important obligation you have is your children. To me that’s critical because at the end of the day, that’s your legacy and if you succeed at raising good children you leave the world a better place.”