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- United States: Labor and employment > Immigration
- United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m)
United States: Labor and employment
Within Immigration, Akerman LLP is a third tier firm,
Akerman LLP is praised for its ability to provide ‘the support and resources of a large law firm but the attention to detail of a small firm, resulting in the best of both worlds’. It is also noted for its ‘impressively reasonable fee structure’. The group offers expertise in all aspects of business immigration. It recently advised Interchange Group on the establishment of its operations at Orlando International Airport. Other clients include Cable & Wireless Communications, Spirit Airlines, and, reflecting the firm’s growing resorts practice, The Everglades Club and Diamond Creek. Orlando-based Thomas Raleigh, who is ‘very professional and explains all steps clearly’, and Miami-based Michael Benchetrit co-chair the immigration, planning and compliance practice. The firm welcomed Scott Bettridge who was formerly the Coral Gables office managing partner at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy; his ‘knowledge of immigration law is outstanding’ and he is ‘professional, informed, experienced and a nice guy’, with one client remarking that they ‘strongly urge anyone with immigration law needs to contact him’.
United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m), tier 4
Akerman LLP has a ‘top-notch M&A practice, not just the best in South Florida, but also competitive on a national level. The hourly rates are very cost effective, without any diminution in the quality of the legal service provided’. The group stands out for its experience in middle-market M&A work, particularly in the healthcare, financial services, technology, retail, and restaurant industries. It acted for OPKO Health on the acquisitions of Cytochroma and PROLOR Biotech, providing the company with a pipeline of important therapeutic and unique diagnostic products in various stages of development; advised Red Zone Capital Management on its sale of the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain to Friendly’s and also its sale of dick clark productions to Guggenheim Partners; and acted for XPO Logistics, one of the fastest-growing providers of transportation logistics services in North America, on its acquisition of 3PD Holdings. The practice also acted for AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, on several recent transactions which add $825m to the company’s annual revenues. Miami-based Mary Carroll chairs the national corporate practice group; Carl Roston and Martin Burkett co-chair the M&A and private equity practice; and Jonathan Awner and Teddy Klinghoffer are also highly rated. Roston and Klinghoffer are ‘hardworking attorneys, with many years of practical experience and strong business acumen’. Names in New York include local corporate practice group head Wayne Wald; Carlos Méndez-Peñate, who co-chairs the Latin America and Caribbean practice; and Kenneth Alberstadt. Michael Kelley in Washington DC joined from EMP Global; Orlando-based of counsel Melissa Koch joined from Brambles; and of counsel Rod Manning in Fort Lauderdale joined from White & Case LLP. Kelley has significant experience in M&A, joint ventures, and privatizations, and the structuring of investments, divestments, and financing transactions in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia; Koch advises public and private companies, start-ups, investment banks and private equity funds, with a focus on the supply chain, industrial services and technology industries; and Manning focuses on foreign investment in the US. Robert Zinn and Marc Druckman left for Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s Miami office.
United States: Real estate and construction
Within Construction, Akerman LLP is a third tier firm,
Miami-headquartered Akerman LLP’s construction practice is headed by Jeffrey Gilmore out of the Virginia office, and forms part of its real estate group. The highest concentration of construction competence can be found in the Florida, Virginia and Washington DC locations, though the firm fields expertise in most of its offices. It handles construction defect claims for developers, investors and manufacturers both domestically and internationally, and the Florida office is heavily involved in industrial projects in Latin and South America. It also represents private and public owners, public authorities, non-profit companies, lenders, designers, insurance carriers and surety companies. A recent increase in inbound international investments, chiefly in Florida in relation to hospitality and multi-family projects, resulted in an uptick in transactional matters and front-end work such as contract negotiations and reviews. Other areas of expertise include conventional and renewable energy, infrastructure, healthcare, luxury residential buildings and EPC delivery methods. Miami-based Stacy Bercun Bohm is acting for the City of Orlando on the $200m renovation of the Citrus Bowl stadium, and is acting for Miami Children’s Hospital on the construction of a $200m bed tower. In another highlight, Robert Smith is acting as a member of the international dispute adjudication board in a $3.2bn dispute arising from the Panama Canal Authority’s design/build contract for a set of locks. Kim Ashby in Orlando is highly recommended.
Within Land use/zoning, Akerman LLP is a second tier firm,
With particular experience in large-scale development projects in Florida and New York, Akerman LLP`s ‘very good’ 15-partner practice is currently advising new client Faena along with Access Industries on site plan approvals and related development matters for various projects, including the redevelopment of the Saxony hotel in Miami Beach. Led by New York-based Michael Bailkin, the department is also advising Street-Works Development LLC on the $1.3bn redevelopment of the entire downtown area of the City of Quincy in Massachusetts. Cecelia Bonifay heads the practice from Orlando.
Within Real estate, tier 4
Akerman LLP’s ‘professional’ 69-partner team is led by Richard Bezold, ‘a very highly skilled attorney with a wealth of experience’. The group focuses predominantly on high-profile development projects and complex financing transactions. Recent work led by Eric Rapkin includes advising Parmenter Realty Partners on the acquisition of the Rocky Point office buildings as well as Island Center and Waterford Plaza, in Tampa, Florida; the team also advised it on the sale of the Gwinnett Commerce Center for $20.5m and the sale of 1000 Parkwood Circle for $28m in Atlanta. It has been retained as US counsel by an affiliate of Hilton Worldwide: Andy Robins, chair of the lodging and lifestyle team is leading the firm’s advice on negotiating a $72m hotel management agreement for the operation of a 298-room full-service Hilton hotel currently under construction in Rio de Janeiro. Clients also include Samsung, Faena Group and UBS Securities. Steven Polivy, who heads the economic development practice and is managing partner of the New York office, is ‘very well connected’ and Miami-based Manuel Fernandez is ‘excellent’. Steven Bloom recently joined in New York from Bryan Cave LLP and Israel Alfonso joined in Miami from Greenberg Traurig LLP. The Orlando office was also boosted by the arrival of George Graham.
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