Conflict Prevention and Resolution Consultant utilizing the persuasion, negotiation and mediation skills developed over many years together with my extensive legal, business and civic experiences.

Legal and Business Experience

I retired as Capital Member from McConnell Valdes on May 31, 2011 in line with the firm’s mandatory retirement policy, thus ending 42 fruitful years of law practice and involvement on the executive and policy committees. My law practice was intense and varied in the general corporate areas of commercial contracts, real estate, government contracts, mergers and acquisitions, international trade, franchising and distribution, tax exemption, and mediation.

My greatest satisfaction as attorney for a client or as neutral mediator has been helping negotiate and document a mutually satisfactory settlement and agreement. I took my first mediation course in 1992 sponsored by our law firm as part of the Lex Mundi College of Mediators in what I believe was the first course on the subject for practicing lawyers. I have continued to take courses in the negotiation and mediation area, including courses sponsored by Harvard and Pepperdine Law Schools. Since January of 2008, I have taught a one week seminar at the University of Puerto Rico Law School on “The Effective Lawyer – Beyond Legal Expertise” emphasizing the need for lawyers to be responsive and persuasive with exercises in negotiation and mediation.

Since the early ‘80’s, I have served on the Boards of numerous family companies involved in dairy farms (Altamira, Borinquen and Elena), milk pasteurizing and ice cream plants (Caparra Dairy and Caparra Milk Products), industrial gases and products distribution (GP Industries), and commercial real estate (San Patricio Village, including San Patricio Plaza, Galería San Patricio and Santander Towers). 

Since majoring in Latin American Studies via the Spanish Department at Harvard (my senior thesis was on the Mexican writer, Carlos Fuentes), I have maintained great interest in legal and business developments internationally with Board positions from the early ‘80’s in United Way International and Caribbean Latin American Action.  From 1991 to 1995 I was a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Lex Mundi during its initial years and which today is an organization composed of over 165 independent law firms throughout the world.  In 2002-3 I served as the first Chairman of World Service Group, a global multi-disciplinary association of independent service providers.  

I have also been involved in fomenting the export of products and services from Puerto Rico.  In 1994 I helped organize the International Trade and Services Association that I presided from the beginning. From 1994 to 1996 I chaired the International Trade Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and in June of 1995 I received the Exporter of the Year Award.

Civic Experience

In the early ’70’s I joined the Board of the YMCA of San Juan whose major project was its relocation from Old San Juan to its modern facilities in Santurce. From there I went on to preside the United Way of Puerto Rico from 1984 to 1988 taking it from its rented offices to its new facilities contiguous to the YMCA.

I am presently active on the boards of Congreso de Líderes, Rotary Club of San Juan, Fundación Bechara, Fundación Histórica del Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico, the American Red Cross - Puerto Rico Chapter that I chaired from 2004 to 2007 and the Puerto Rico Chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America which I have presided since December of 2009.
I have received various awards for my civic involvement, including the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award in 1987, the United Way of Puerto Rico Rafael Fábregas award in 1993 and the United Way/Alexis de Tocqueville Society award in 2009.

Academic, Sports, Hobbies and Family Background 

I am a graduate of Phillips Andover Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Sports have always been important to me. My principal sport at Andover and Harvard was ice hockey. I now enjoy golf, jogging, bicycling, boating, horseback riding, scuba diving, skating, hiking, and snow skiing. My principal hobbies are traveling, photography/videography and classical music.

I married Eva Luz (Pinky) Picó after graduating from Harvard College in 1966 and we have four children and seven grandchildren. Our residences are in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and Quechee, Vermont.