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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 02:39 AM EDT

Patricia Lynch opens Panama business

Panama NewsBy Adam Sichko for The Business Review (Albany) - Albany-based Patricia Lynch Associates Inc., the state’s second-largest lobbying firm, has started a new company in Panama. The company, called Lynch Sosa & Associates, marks the first time founder Patricia Lynch has taken her lobbying and media relations business outside the United States. Lynch Sosa, located in Panama City, will be considered a “sister company” to Lynch’s original business, which she started in Albany eight years ago. Revenue will be shared between Lynch’s company and its partners, the Sosa family of Panama. Juan Sosa, the former Panamanian ambassador to the U.S., and his son will both be involved in the new company. (more)

“While the so-called developing world is in a deep recession, they continue to have fairly strong growth,” said Darren Dopp, partner and spokesman at Patricia Lynch Associates. “It’s like a place that’s got the best of the Caribbean and Latin America, while also having lot of American connections. It’s a great place to do business.”

Six people will initially staff the new company, including three of Lynch’s current employees and several more from the Sosa family. Lynch plans to make more hires in the coming months, Dopp said.

The office has been in planning since at least May 2008. Lynch has already secured several clients in the area, Dopp said.

“She wouldn’t have made the investment if she didn’t feel as though there was a real core of business to tap into,” Dopp said. “It’s a combination of Panamanian folks wanting to explore New York markets, and the second part is New York and American firms wanting to have a Latin American presence.”

Panama is the southernmost country in the North American continent, and it has 3.3 million residents.

Dopp said there were few logistical problems with opening the new company, despite the 4 1/2-hour flight needed to get to Panama City.

The country is in the same time zone as New York, and while Spanish is the official language, English is a common second language.

Panama uses the U.S. dollar for all its paper currency. Labor costs, real estate prices and taxes are “significantly lower than doing business elsewhere,” Dopp said.

“It was in no way prohibitive,” he said, declining to reveal Lynch’s exact investment in starting the new company. “This just becomes another one of our offices.”

The Albany-based lobbying firm, with 34 employees, already has offices in Buffalo, White Plains and Manhattan. Lynch served as communications director and top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for most of the 1990s.

In 2007, the most recent data available, the firm earned $6.7 million in lobbyist compensation from its 152 clients, according to the state Commission on Public Integrity, which regulates the lobbying industry.

The firm has more clients than any other lobbying firm in the state. Clients last year included Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Madison Square Garden LP, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Albany Law School.

Lynch’s billing total is second only to lobbying kingpin Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, which billed $9.6 million of work in 2007.

The Wilson Elser firm, headquartered downstate, has offices in Albany and more than 15 other U.S. cities, as well as a location in London. It has six affiliate firms in Germany, Mexico and France.

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