The Legal 500

Akerman LLP

Work +1 407 423 4000
Fax +1 407 843 6610

United States


United States: Labor and employment

Within Immigration, Akerman Senterfitt is a third tier firm,

At Akerman Senterfitt, ‘the overall level of service is outstanding, with knowledgeable, experienced staff providing good commercially focused advice’. It is ‘an excellent law firm in all aspects’. The firm’s immigration, planning and compliance specialists have represented multinational corporations and foreign clients in US inbound investment, including the relocation of operations to the US. The firm has also assisted businesses and individuals on strategic immigration matters and visa needs that range from the relocation of executives to US operations from abroad; to working with high-net-worth foreign national entrepreneurs and investors in the planning, managing, and filing of specialized petitions in the EB-5 immigrant investor category; and advising seasonal resorts on hiring temporary workers in the H-2B category. The firm has also advised on the coordination of I-9 audits to recommend improvements to hiring and work-authorized compliance procedures. Specifically the firm assisted Somfy Systems in an L-1 petition amendment and permanent residency application and advised Pelliconi Florida in a business owner E-2 visa application. Other clients include Airbus America, Rieker Shoe Corporation, Coulisse, Diamond Creek Country Club and The Westchester Country Club. The firm now represents 30 country clubs ands resorts nationwide. Co-chair of the group Thomas Raleigh, who ‘provides us with good advice in a timely manner, exhibits a firm grasp of our issues and presents our options clearly and concisely’, is recommended. So too is co-chair Michael Benchetrit, who has been promoted to shareholder. ‘I would absolutely recommend him, and by extension the firm’.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m), tier 4

Akerman Senterfitt is ‘responsive, efficient, and provides the highest quality work’. The firm has a national M&A practice that has a focus on middle-market transactions, handling complex private equity and M&A work on both the buy and sell-side, its team serving clients across the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, from offices in New York, Florida, and Washington DC. The firm acts in transactions across a range of industries, with a particular focus on the financial services, healthcare, restaurant, and automotive sectors. Recent highlights include acting for The Comvest Group in the acquisition of Tekelec, a telecommunications company, the deal valued at $780m; representing AutoNation, the largest vehicle retailer in the US, in the pending acquisition of six stores in Texas, which - with $575m in sales per year - marked the largest acquisition of US dealerships in a decade; advising Swisher Hygiene, a NASDAQ and TSX-listed company that provides hygiene and sanitation solutions to customers throughout North America and internationally, in its $123.5m sale of the voting securities of Choice Environmental Services, its waste collection and recycling subsidiary; acting for Inversiones Productivas of Guatemala, the country’s leading Coca-Cola bottler for more than 60 years, in the sale of the company’s bottling business to The Coca-Cola Company; and advising First Citizens Bank - Bank of Butterfield (Barbados) in its acquisition from Bank of NT Butterfield (Bermuda) of Bank of Butterfield (Barbados), including all of Butterfield’s operations in Barbados. Miami-based Martin Burkett and Carl Roston co-chair the M&A mergers and private equity practice. Also in Miami, Mary Carroll is the chair of the national corporate practice group, and Jonathan Awner is ‘extremely competent, creative and responsive; he is one of the top corporate and M&A attorneys around, and is a pleasure to deal with’.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, Akerman Senterfitt is a third tier firm,

The eight-partner construction practice at Akerman Senterfitt operates from offices across the US and prides itself on being able to serve clients throughout the project lifecycle. Jeffrey Gilmore in Tyson’s Corner office, Virginia, heads the practice and recently obtained a favorable decision for client AGRA Industries in an arbitration hearing featuring a complex array of counterclaims and disputed claim amounts relating to the termination of an EPC contract. In Washington DC, Stephen Hurlbut is advising longstanding client Architect of the Capitol on the $200m development of the US Capitol’s visitor center. This involves pursuing $15m in design deficiency claims against the project’s architect and its subconsultants. Miami-based Stacy Bercun Bohm is assisting developer Resorts World Miami in drafting and negotiating LEED and design contracts for a $3bn mixed use mega-development encompassing hospitality facilities, residential and commercial space, and a mega-yacht harbor. Robert Smith acted for Peabody Energy in various disputes relating to the engineering, procurement and construction of a $3bn coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois.

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Within Land use/zoning, Akerman Senterfitt is a second tier firm,

Akerman Senterfitt advises on a range of cutting-edge development projects in Florida and New York. It is currently representing All Aboard Florida Station in obtaining regulatory approvals for the development of an inter-city train station and mixed-use development in Miami; this project will lead to the creation of Florida’s first private statewide rail service. It is also acting for clients seeking approvals on projects such as the Brickell Citicentre or Miami Design District, as well as in acquiring the capital financing and incentives package for the Yonkers Rising project. Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the practice and is ‘excellent’.

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Within Real estate, tier 4

Akerman Senterfitt has a sizeable real estate practice, with 57 partners led by Richard Bezold and including Manuel Fernandez, Susanne Zabloudil and Neisen Kasdin. Fernandez acted for JPMorgan Chase regarding the $250m sale by its Pension Trust Fund of the Potomac Yards office complex in Virginia. The team also advised key client Swire Properties on leasing and developing matters relating to the $1.05bn Brickell Citicentre mixed-use project in Miami; and Barclays Capital Real Estate in a 475,000 sq ft industrial lease to an international promotional products company. Hilton Worldwide and Parmenter Realty Partners are also clients. Andrew Robins joined the firm from Proskauer Rose LLP, along with Mark Levine (from Herrick, Feinstein LLP), Michelle Oms and Alberto Delgado.

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