What You Need to Know
- Actuate Law has opened a Wynwood location at 545 Wyn, a new 300,000-square-foot retail and creative building.
- When it opens in spring 2022, the office will house a few attorneys and a portion of the company’s AI legal compliance subsidiary.
- Miami’s increasing popularity as an emerging tech incubator brought the Chicago firm to South Florida.
Seventeen-lawyer Chicago law firm Actuate Law is the latest legal tenant in Wynwood, as the Miami neighborhood continues to attract technology and finance companies—and their law firms.
Already based in Florida, partner Stacy Rodriguez and associate Lolita “Loly” Sosa will work at the Northwest 26th Street office when it opens in spring 2022. The office will also host Chicago lawyers traveling to South Florida for client work, and additional lawyers that managing partner Dara Tarkowski said the firm will likely add next year.
“For the past few years, my work has focused on the emerging tech landscape. Particularly with the expansion of the Miami tech ecosystem, I gravitated back to South Florida and Miami specifically,” Tarkowski, who grew up in South Florida, said in an interview. “With the time and investment Mayor [Francis] Suarez has put into the Miami tech ecosystem, it didn’t make sense for us not to be here.”
Actuate Law joins other boutique, entrepreneur-focused Wynwood law firms, including AXS Law and Haber Law, both of which arrived in the neighborhood within the past five years.
Miami-focused practices include the firm’s four-lawyer intellectual property team, led by partner Michael Switzer and composed of registered patent
attorneys who work with entrepreneurs, investors and technologists. Switzer chaired Akerman’s intellectual property practice group from 2014 until 2019, when he departed for Actuate Law.
Tarkowski’s team brings fintech experience, assisting similar clients with regulatory and compliance issues. Tarkowski was also a Chicago-based Akerman partner until early 2018, when she left to launch Actuate Law.
“We’re able to go on top of [Tarkowski’s] knowledge and apply our IP experience to partner with clients that use IP to meet their business objectives,” Switzer said.
Actuate Law also arrives with a tech company of its own: subsidiary Quointec. Launched in 2019, the artificial intelligence-based software automates the delivery of legal and compliance advice from complex multijurisdictional problems.
Clients include companies that already use Actuate Law’s services and those who just use Quointec, although Actuate Law attorneys are sometimes tapped to assist Quointec users on their compliance questions.
“We turned case law into code,” Tarkowski said. “Instead of picking up the phone and calling me to review internal communications, clients are able to self-serve.”
Tarkowski said a client who beta-tested the tool saved the cost of a full-time employee previously employed to conduct manual letter review and avoided at least two class-action settlements.
“It probably saved $100,000 in its first year of use,” Tarkowski said. “Which is three times what they spent on it.”
The firm chose a space in a new building, the 545 Wyn, that matched the “younger, fresher vibe” that embodies emerging technology companies.
“It’s very tech-forward, open, more industrial, and surrounded by some innovative tech companies. So that’s the company we wanted to be in,” Tarkowski said.
The firm will likely add lawyers to the Wynwood office over the next year, Tarkowski said, as it looks to find other ex-Big Law attorneys who seek an alternative to the rigid structure of their current firms.
By Dan Ro