Morristown firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman PC opened an office in Puerto Rico Tuesday, to be led by the territory’s former Secretary of State Luis Rivera-Marín.
The firm’s new entity Porzio, Bromberg & Newman (PR) LLC is located at 112 Uruguay St. in the capital city of San Juan. The expansion extends the reach of the firm and its Porzio Life Sciences subsidiary, which offers services and software products that combine the law, compliance and business operations.
The firm first connected with Rivera-Marín after Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm to make landfall on the island in 85 years which in 2017 left nearly half of the territory without power for months. Due to damage to the power grid, the U.S. Department of Energy and a bi-partisan Congressional Task Force recommended that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority convert most of its power generators from diesel fuel to natural gas. But the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, presented an issue: it requires shipments between two points in the United States to occur on United States-registered vessels, built in the United States, owned by United States citizens, and manned by U.S. merchant seamen. However, of the 478 licensed natural gas carriers in the world, none are “Jones Act eligible” vessels, owned by U.S. citizens or registered in the United States.
Porzio Principals William Hughes Jr. and John Oroho represented Puerto Rico earlier this year in preparing and filing for a limited Jones Act waiver. Without the waiver, the territory cannot purchase U.S.-produced natural gas and must purchase from a foreign supplier.
“Puerto Rico has come a long way in the recovery process and is now seeing an influx of opportunities in the public and private sectors,” said Porzio Managing Partner and President of the firm’s subsidiaries Vito Gagliardi Jr. in a statement. “The recovery work is compliance intensive. Porzio’s experience in serving as a leader that provides legal and business solutions to highly-regulated industries will offer tremendous opportunities for our clients who are expanding and investing in this area.”
Approximately 80 life sciences companies are situated in Puerto Rico. Porzio Life Sciences has been serving the industry since 2003.
“We have always been ahead of the curve in offering our clients what they need, and this expansion to Puerto Rico gives us the foundation necessary to provide comprehensive commercialization, compliance, transparency, and other services to this fast-growing market,” said Executive Vice President of Porzio Life Sciences John Oroho in a statement.
Porzio Life Sciences currently serves 250 life sciences companies.
“We serve some of the world’s largest life sciences companies, small companies looking for FDA approval for their first product, and everything in between. All have the same compliance obligations, they simply vary in their scope and in the relevant jurisdictions,” Gagliardi said to NJBIZ. “We look forward to expanding our opportunities to serve those with operations in Puerto Rico, not just in terms of compliance but with their varied legal needs, taking advantage of our substantial insights into the life sciences industry.”
Rivera-Marín serves as of counsel to the law firm and general manager for Porzio Life Sciences’ Puerto Rico operations. Before entering public office as the territory’s 25th secretary of state, he litigated commercial cases and served as counsel for several local and international firms.
As secretary of state, he was the official representative of Puerto Rico in all international and consular affairs and chief economic development advisor to the governor. He served as energy, commerce and housing regulator for the island, and executive director of tourism.