Becker shareholder Ellyn Bogdanoff, a state lawmaker for eight years, is looking for opportunities “to bring unique business to Florida that can flourish here and vice versa.”
Alan Becker, the law firm’s founding shareholder and a board member of Enterprise Florida, the state’s official economic development arm, is going as well. Becker has gone on previous international trade missions, but it will be Bogdanoff’s first trade mission and her second trip to Israel.
Several Am Law 100 firms have Israel practices focused on transactions involving attorneys based in the United States and Europe, but they don’t practice Israeli law.
Greenberg Traurig and Kobre & Kim are among the few large U.S. law firms with Florida offices and resident attorneys in Israel. Other firms like Holland & Knight, White & Case and DLA Piper advise U.S. companies with interests in Israel from afar.
From Greenberg Traurig, Robert L. Grossman, chair of the firm’s Israel practice, and Fred Karlinsky, co-chair of its insurance regulatory and transactions practice, will be traveling. The firm has nine attorneys based in Israel.
Grossman issued a statement saying he was excited to be part of the trade mission. He said the firm has been “working actively for nearly 20 years with Israeli businesses and entrepreneurs looking to do business in Florida, throughout the U.S. and around the world.”
A statement from Karlinsky said, ”Our unique office in Tel Aviv serves as a gateway to Israeli companies doing business in the US, Europe and Asia, as well as benefiting our international client base looking for opportunities in Israel.”
Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson’s incoming president and former state House speaker, and Jason Unger, the firm’s Tallahassee managing director, also signed on for the trip. Both have a government-focused practice. Unger declined comment on the trip, referring the call to the governor’s office.
DeSantis promised to be “the most pro-Israel governor in America” and made a point of selecting Israel as his first foreign destination as governor.
Details about the trip have been light aside from the travel days—May 25-31—and DeSantis’ plan to hold a Cabinet meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, the governor’s communications director, said Tuesday that the meeting would be “in full sunshine and transparency, and there will be a broadcast of it.”
The governor’s office said more than 10 business meetings are scheduled during the week, and Bogdanoff called the schedule “very intense.”
“The purpose of this effort is really to strengthen the economic, academic and cultural ties between Florida and Israel,” Ferre said. “It is a big focus for Gov. DeSantis, and he sees it as a win-win for Florida and an excellent opportunity to work closer together on many issues of mutual concern.”
The governor has been invited to give a keynote address May 29 at the 2019 Israel-USA Business Summit organized by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.
In the latest legislative session, bills went to the governor to fund a Florida-Israel business incubator program with $400,000 to encourage Israeli high-tech companies to open U.S. headquarters in Florida and treat anti-Semitism the same as racial discrimination in Florida public schools. DeSantis is expected to have a ceremonial signing of at least the anti-Semitism bill during the trip. He is required to act on all bills passed this year by Saturday.
Memorandums of understanding for collaboration with Florida universities are expected to be signed, and the focus will be on technology exchanges and best practices in the fields of space, water, medicine, agriculture and the environment.
“I’m just excited to be part of it,” Bogdanoff said. “I think we have a lot to learn from each other.”
Reprinted with permission from the Daily Business Review.