Andres Rivero spoke with Transcript, Berkeley Law’s alumni magazine, about what led him to open Rivero Mestre and why he loves having his own firm. The excerpt about Andres is posted below.

Transcript

At firms big and small, Berkeley Law alumni rise to the leadership challenge

BY GWYNETH K. SHAW

Great litigating makes good business

Within a few days of starting law school, Andrés Rivero ’86 knew he wanted to be a litigator, thanks largely to the inspiring teaching of renowned Professor Caleb Foote.

“Foote was just a legend. I immediately knew I wanted to do criminal litigation, I wanted to be a federal prosecutor, I wanted to try cases,” Rivero says. “And I did everything you could do in law school to get there.”

That included Berkeley Law’s Moot Court team and James Patterson McBaine Honors Moot Court Competition (he was a finalist but still smarts over not winning), an internship in the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a spring break program through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

After law school, Rivero thought about staying in California, or moving to New York. But ultimately, he chose to go home to Miami and his Cuban-American roots.

It turned out to be a smart choice: Between drug trafficking and white-collar crime, 1980s Miami was a federal prosecutor’s dream. After a couple of years at a big Florida firm, Rivero got his coveted job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida.

After another round at the big firm, he realized that he still loved trying cases, but wanted to do it in a more streamlined, nimble way. He and a partner opened Rivero Mestre in 1998; the firm now has 20 attorneys in Miami and New York.

“I just love having my own law firm,” Rivero says. “It’s strictly litigation, and I still enjoy it. We just finished a federal jury trial that lasted six weeks, and it’s still as much fun as it was when I was 26.”

Over the years, his firm has built a strong stable of clients in Central America, South America, and Florida. Recently, Rivero Mestre began litigating cryptocurrency cases, including a $600 million suit involving Bitcoin’s inventor that required four years of intense litigation.

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