Alcides I. Avila of Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri, LLP was named 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Banking and Finance Law.

How did you get into your practice area?

While attending law school, I already had my mind made up that I would be a banking lawyer. I got into the banking and finance practice completely by chance—I was just at the right place at the right time. Miami’s importance as an international banking center was in its infancy when I started practicing. The firm I joined was looking for someone interested in working in a new banking group that was being formed, and I immediately volunteered. 

Were there any particular inspirations (people or events) that spurred your interest?

My biggest inspiration has been my wife, Cary, who has always been my biggest supporter.

Who are your typical clients?

Foreign banks, international bank agencies and branches, community banks, and international investors.

Describe one of your most interesting or memorable cases.

There are two cases that will always stand out for me. The Banco Latino International (BLI) case, which involved the first U.S. financial institution to go into—and successfully emerge from—a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This was unprecedented. The case consumed my life for over a year, but in the end, every single depositor of the institution got 100 percent of their money back with interest! The other case was the recent acquisition of City National Bank by Banco de Credito e Inversiones of Chile, which involved the first bank from Chile to acquire a bank in the U.S.

What qualities do you possess that you find particularly relevant/necessary for practicing your area of law?

Finding practical solutions to complex problems.

What other passions/interests do you have?

My horses, playing tennis, and watching Notre Dame football.