MIAMI — Wifredo A. Ferrer, the former U.S. attorney for the
Southern District of Florida, has joined Holland & Knight as a
partner at its Miami office.
Ferrer, who served as the district’s top law-enforcement
official for seven years, will lead the firm’s global-compliance
and investigations team. The team concentrates on corporate
compliance and government investigations in the firm’s white-collar
defense practice, according to a news
release issued by the firm.
“This is a way for me to use what I learned at the department of
the justice to help corporations and individuals with complex
litigation and compliance matters,” Ferrer told the Florida
Record. “It was a logical way to use what I learned.”
According to the news
release, Ferrer had approximately 500 lawyers and professional
staff at the U.S. Attorney's office, which was third-largest in the
nation. The longest-serving U.S. attorney in the Southern District
since the 1970s, Ferrer successfully prosecuted financial crimes
including health-care fraud, complex investment and security fraud,
identity theft, and Ponzi schemes, according to the news release. He
also fought public corruption, environmental crimes, and drug and
However, his greatest career accomplishment may not be what one
“In a broad sense, the greatest accomplishment of my career, no
doubt, has been serving and protecting the same community that
welcomed my family when they immigrated from Cuba,” he said. “We
didn’t have much. My parents told me and my brother that with work
and education, we could reach our dreams.”
During his tenure,
the U.S. attorney’s office secured full restitution for the
defrauded investors of Scott Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme
and participated in the extradition and prosecution of international
drug traffickers such as Joaquin Guzman Loera ("El Chapo")
and Guy Philippe.
Other achievements included the creation of the Violence Reduction
Partnership. It used
“a community-based, holistic approach” to reduce violence through
enforcement, prevention, and the successful reentry of returning
citizens into South Florida neighborhoods.
In his new position, Ferrer will focus on international and
domestic investigations for corporate clients and use the firm's
Latin America practice to assist regional clients. Also, he will
advise companies on compliance with federal and state laws.
Ferrer was drawn to Holland & Knight because the firm’s
mission is in line with his own.
“Their commitment to excellent service to clients and service to
the community is what makes Holland & Knight special,” Ferrer
said. “I share those values.”
Ferrer became interested in the law during his junior year in
college. He graduated first in his class from the University of
Miami, and earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania
Law School. While there, he was editor of the Law
Review and president of his class.
Learning and working in law were ways for him to do what is
parents always wished.
“The last words my father told me when he died in 1995, he told
me and my brother ‘to do good,’” Ferrer said.