Cesar L. Alvarez

Cesar L. Alvarez is Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He joined Greenberg Traurig in 1973 as the firm’s 13th lawyer and practiced securities, corporate and international law for more than 25 years. In 1996, he was appointed President and CEO of Greenberg Traurig. At the time of his appointment as President and CEO, Greenberg Traurig had 325 attorneys in eight U.S. offices. The firm has grown exponentially under his leadership. At present, Greenberg Traurig is an international law firm with approximately 1,800 lawyers in 32 offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia. The firm was ranked 8th on The American Lawyer’s 2008 AmLaw 100, based on the total number of lawyers and ranked number 1 based on the number of lawyers in the United States.

Alvarez has been recognized nationally and in his community for his professional, business and charitable leadership. As the only Hispanic head of an AmLaw 100 Top 20 firm, Alvarez uniquely understands both the critical need to diversify the legal profession and the challenges that businesses face in attempting to foster a new generation of minority leaders. Rather than forming a committee of the firm’s top attorneys to talk about diversity, Alvarez challenged each attorney at Greenberg Traurig to personally find a qualified minority candidate to bring to the firm. Alvarez’s personal, hands-on approach to overcoming diversity hurdles within the profession has produced results. Greenberg Traurig was ranked first for the number of minority and Hispanic American partners and second for the number of African American partners on The Minority Law Journal’s 2008 Diversity Scorecard. In 2008, Alvarez received the Spirit of Excellence Award, which was established by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal community, and most recently, he was recognized as one of “The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal in May 2008 and The Florida Bar presented Alvarez with the President's Award of Merit for his steadfast dedication to diversity. Alvarez was also the recipient of the “CEO of the Year” Award given to him by the MultiCultural Law Magazine in 2006.  Alvarez is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy institution in the USA.

Alvarez believes that education provided him with the tools he has used to succeed in the business world. He credits a U.S. government loan that he used to put himself through college and law school with helping to launch his own career. In order to help others achieve their American dream through education, Alvarez has accepted leadership positions with numerous educational institutions. His current and recent positions include: Trustee, University of Florida Levin College of Law; Chair, Florida International University College of Law, Advisory Board; Trustee, Miami-Dade College, 2005-2007; Board of Directors, Florida International University Foundation, 1998-2008; and Trustee, Manhattanville College, New York, 2002-2007.

Alvarez’s involvement in education is part of a broader commitment to community causes on his part. A key aim of his work has been to help establish a culture of giving in the legal and business communities. While Alvarez believes that giving back is an obligation that comes with the privilege of practicing law and running a successful business, he also believes that businesses benefit by enriching the communities they serve. Alvarez is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for Equal Justice Works, an organization that seeks to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to public service. Greenberg Traurig is the largest funder in the country of fellowships for the organization and makes it possible for more than 60 Fellows to work for the public interest for such organizations as the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, The Center for Battered Women Legal Services in New York, and the Legal Aid Society of Chicago. Alvarez’s other community positions include:  Trustee, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Member, The Florida Council of 100; Member, Advisory Council, United Way of Miami-Dade; Chairman, Board of Directors, United Way of Miami-Dade, 2003-2005; Campaign Chair, United Way of Miami-Dade, 2001-2002; Participant, Guardian Ad Litem Program, Miami-Dade County; Member, Board of Directors, Holocaust Documentation & Education Center, Inc., 2004-2007; and Trustee, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Recently he received the "Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy" presented by the United Way of Miami-Dade Tocqueville Society.  Additionally, Alvarez has been recognized as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal in 1997, 2000 and 2006 (the last 3 editions) and one of the top most powerful Hispanics by The Black Book of Poder in 2008. He was also named as one of "The 25 Best Latinos in Business" in Hispanic Magazine's Power Issue in 2008. Alvarez was a recipient of the New American Award in 2003, from the Archdiocese of Miami, Inc. and the Silver Medallion for Service to Humanity Award, presented by the National Conference for Community and Justice the same year. He is a former Chair of Mesa Redonda, a leading South Florida Hispanic Business Group and a member of the Miami Business Forum (Non Group) as well as a Trustee of the Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Alvarez serves as Chairman of  the Board of Directors for Mednax, Inc. (NYSE); Co-Leading Director for Watsco, Inc. (NYSE); and Director of Fairholme Funds, Inc. Alvarez earned his bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees at the University of Florida.