The Legal 500

Akerman LLP

420 SOUTH ORANGE AVENUE, ORLANDO, FL 32801, USA
Tel:
Work +1 407 423 4000
Fax:
Fax +1 407 843 6610
Email:
Web:
www.akerman.com

United States

Recommendations


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’.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • China Drug Registration Regulation - Public consultation on amendment closes - March 2014

    In February 2014, the China Food and Drug Administration (“CFDA”) invited second-round comments from the public regarding proposed amendments to the China Drug Registration Regulations (“DRR”). One of the proposed amendments touches upon patent protection for drugs in China.
  • Revised NDRC Measures for Approval and Filing of Outbound Investment Projects - April 2014

    The National Development and Reform Commission ( NDRC ) released a new set of Management Measures for Approval and Filing of Outbound Investment Projects ( 境外投资项目核准和备案管理办法) ( New Measures ) on 8 April 2014. The New Measures take effect on 8 May 2014 and will replace the Interim Management Measures for Approval of Outbound Investment Projects ( 境外投资项目核准暂行管理办法) ( Original Measures ) which have been in force since 9 October 2004.
  • Insurance Update - CIRC Issues Insurance M&A Measures: What are the impacts and applications?

    On 21 March 2014, CIRC issued the Administrative Measures on the Acquisition and Merger of Insurance Companies (the Insurance M&A Measures ) which will take effect from 1 June 2014. The Insurance M&A Measures apply to M&A activities whereby an insurance company is the target for a merger or acquisition. The target insurance company could be either a domestic or a foreign invested insurer. However, the Insurance M&A Measures will not apply to any equity investment by insurance companies in non-insurance companies in China or in overseas insurance companies.
  • China issues new rules to regulate medical devices - May 2014

    The Regulations on Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices (in Chinese《医疗器械监督管理条例》, State Council Order No. 650) (the Medical Device Regulations) were amended by China's State Council on 31 March 2014 and will come into effect on 1 June 2014. This is the first amendment in more than a decade since the Medical Device Regulations were first promulgated in 2000, even though the amendment was initiated eight years ago in 2006. The 2014 amendment unveils reforms on the regulatory regime for medical devices market in China from various aspects.
  • Walking a fine line in China:Distinguishing between legitimate commercial deals and commercial bribe

    China in the 21st century exemplifies an atmosphere of great opportunity and intense competition. Against this backdrop, it has become increasingly common for businesses to adopt a variety of practices in order to make their products and services competitive. Such practices may include paying middle-men to promote sales and giving incentives to buyers directly. However, whilst revenue spikes are undoubtedly welcome, businesses should bear in mind the potential backlash arising out of these commercial arrangements. The risk that such arrangements may not comply with anti-bribery and corruption laws and therefore cause business significant damage in the long term should not be underestimated.
  • Rise of the private healthcare sector - July 2014

    As of 2013, China had 9,800 private hospitals, representing almost half of the total number of hospitals in the country 1 . However, private hospitals still severely lag behind their public peers due to low utilisation, talent shortages and incomplete social insurance coverage. As part of China's ongoing healthcare reform initiatives, the Chinese government has set a goal to increase the share of patients treated by private hospitals to 20% by the end of 2015 2 .
  • Banking regulation in China: Proposed deposit insurance system - December 2014

    On 30 November 2014, the State Council of China released a draft Deposit Insurance Regulation (the Draft), to establish a deposit insurance system in order to "protect interests of depositors, prevent and mitigate financial risks and maintain a stabilised financial system". The public are invited to submit comments on the Draft by 30 December 2014.
  • Tackling bribery: China toughens criminal law - December 2014

    Following earlier reforms of the PRC's anti-corruption rules (for further information, please see our previous briefings published in January 2013 and March 2011 ), the National People's Congress (NPC) has recently published a proposed amendment to the PRC Criminal Law in draft form for public comments (the Draft). The Draft expands the reach of official bribery offences, gives more autonomy to judges to inflict severe punishments, and generally increases the level and type of punishments that can be imposed on individuals who commit bribery offences. It further demonstrates the government's determination to tackle corruption in China.
  • China banking restrictions relaxed: New rules further open banking sector to foreign investors

    The State Council of China recently released amendments to the Foreign Bank Administrative Regulations of China (the Amendments) with effect from 1 January 2015.
  • Walking a Tightrope in Singapore - July 2014

    The world has no borders and distance is negligible for the technologically savvy criminal. Individuals with illicit funds to launder or terrorist activities to finance can, with the latest technology, transfer high volumes of money around the globe almost instantaneously and seek to conceal the origin or the destination of the funds.