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By Angelique B. Thomas

With a strong legal community and many law firms flocking to the city, Miami is positioning itself to be a top destination for national legal conferences and meetings

Miami is more than just a desirable destination for tourists. The city is also a major hub for legal professionals. With robust practice fields including international arbitration, real estate and litigation, Miami consistently ranks as one of the top cities in the nation to practice law. South Florida’s close proximity to Latin America has also attracted many law firms to Miami seeking to better serve international clients doing business in the United States, Central America and South America. Within the past few years, large national and international law firms like Clyde & Co, Goldberg Segalla LLP and Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP have opened new offices in Miami.

Miami also rivals large cities like New York, Chicago and Las Vegas in hosting national conferences due in part to the city’s increasing prominence within the legal sector. Miami will host the American Bar Association’s Midyear Meeting in February 2017. “People enjoy coming to Miami and the weather in February is great,” says Hilarie Bass, President-Elect of the American Bar Association. The city will also play host to the Hispanic National Bar Association’s prestigious Corporate Counsel Conference in 2017. With temperate weather year-round, world-class facilities and an abundance of hotel properties dispersed throughout the city, Miami is made for meetings. The city’s investment in convention centers, hotels, entertainment and retail are all factors that make Miami an attractive venue for meeting attendees.

Miami boasts more than 50,000 hotel rooms in boutique hotels, convention properties and luxury resorts. Leading event management technology company CVENT named several Miami hotels in its Top 100 Meeting Hotels in the United States. From beachfront to urban retreat, the variety of hotels in Miami is expansive and can satisfy any legal professional.

Additionally, Miami has 74 specialized event facilities, three convention centers and a fourth convention center currently being constructed. The City of Miami broke ground on Miami Worldcenter, a multi-billion dollar project that will include a 1,700-room Marriott Marquis hotel and a 350,000-square-foot convention center with a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 60,000-square-foot ballroom and a 40,000-square-foot junior ballroom, each stacked on top of the next to form a three-tier structure. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018. “Having a convention center downtown and the Marriott Marquis hotel would create many new opportunities,” says Bass.

Nearby, the Miami Beach Convention Center is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion. The new 1.4 million square foot LEED certified facility is scheduled to open in 2018 and will include a state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot grand ballroom, 20,000 square foot glass rooftop junior ballroom, additional meeting rooms with flexible arrangements, advanced technology, and reimagined indoor and outdoor areas. The construction of Miami Worldcenter and renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center is expected to make Greater Miami & Miami Beach a premier place for national meetings and events.

Miami is a diverse city and one of the best ways to experience that diversity is through Miami’s culinary scene. Miami has some of the hottest restaurants in the country. Award-winning restaurants offer groups a chance to taste gourmet cuisine and can be found in the city’s various neighborhoods including South Beach, Wynwood and Midtown. In their off-time, meeting attendees can also take advantage of Miami’s warm weather, pristine beaches, historic neighborhoods and two national parks – Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park. “When professionals travel for work-related events, they want to experience leisure activities and have a mini-vacation,” says Aziza Elayan-Martinez, a Miami commercial litigation attorney. “Miami offers that.”

The downtown area is located a short distance from Miami International Airport, making it a perfect meeting destination for legal professionals traveling domestically and internationally. With world-class facilities, year-round sunshine and a thriving legal community, Miami is on the forefront of becoming a premier destination to host national legal conferences and meetings.

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