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United States: Labor and employment
Akerman LLP ‘delivers excellent work and advice’ and has an ‘enormous depth of knowledge in this area’. It has maintained impressive momentum in the market following the arrival of Scott Bettridge in 2013, and continues to make headway into Latin America from the team’s base in Florida. It is increasingly instructed to advise on global mobility issues, and continues to be a leading name for seasonal visa work – it represents several country clubs in their H-2B visa applications. Other clients include Spirit Airlines, Cold Stone Creamery, the University of Miami and GolTV. It recently represented Interchange Group, as part of a cross-departmental team, in establishing and expanding its US operations; the mandate included advice on market entry and the transfer of senior executives from Europe. In addition to corporate work, the team handles compliance, EB-5 services, export controls, government affairs, US consular services and family and individual-based immigration. Co-chair Michael Benchetrit is well-known for advising high-tech start-ups on US market entry and co-chair Thomas Raleigh is praised for his ‘excellent knowledge’. The individuals mentioned are based in the firm’s Miami and Orlando offices.
Scott Bettridge - Akerman LLP
United States: M&A/corporate and commercial
M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
Akerman LLP fields a ‘seasoned, expert team that combines the experience found at larger firms with the responsiveness of a smaller, more agile firm’. The group stands out for its track record in mid-market healthcare, financial services and technology sector deals, and also handles mandates in the retail and restaurant industries. Highlights included several deals for AutoNation, including the acquisition of the Barrier Motors dealership group. The team also acted for Trivest Partners on its pending acquisition of a personal care products manufacturing business, and advised MBF Healthcare Partners on its disposal of Navarro Discount Pharmacy’s assets to CVS Caremark. National corporate group chair Mary Carroll advised B/E Aerospace on its acquisitions of LT Energy Services and Wildcat Wireline for an aggregate purchase price of $265m, and represented OPKO Health on its $480m acquisition of PROLOR Biotech. Carl Roston and Martin Burkett jointly head the M&A and private equity group from the Miami office, with Roston singled out as ‘an experienced M&A practitioner, who brings a wealth of experience and business acumen to real-world M&A situations’. Teddy Klinghoffer is noted for his ‘exceptional lawyering skills’. Jonathan Awner and Stephen Roddenberry are also highly rated.
Carl Roston - Akerman LLP
United States: Real estate and construction
Akerman LLP’s ten-partner construction team is led by Jeffrey Gilmore, and is based in Miami, but operating across the country. It handles a large amount of public sector transactional work from both federal and state agencies and also has a niche in energy sector advocacy work and hospitality and multi-family projects. While specializing mostly in contentious matters, the department also implements design-build projects for clients. The practice also handles cross-border industrial work for owners, public authorities, non-profit companies, lenders, designers, and sureties. A recent work example was representing the owner and developer of a 75MW biomass-energy plant in New Hampshire, in defense of claims over $66m.
Akerman LLP’s integrated land use and sustainable development group has longstanding experience in urban redevelopment projects in Florida and has tapped into the recent upturn in the retail, residential and industrial real estate sectors. Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the group, which has been representing Miami Beckham United in site assessment and due diligence for the development of a Major League Soccer stadium in Miami and assisted Berkowitz Development Group with obtaining site plan approval of a $430m, 1,000ft tall observation tower and entertainment center, the SkyRise Miami. Of counsel Michael Bailkin is the key contact in New York.
Akerman LLP’s ‘excellent’, ‘skilled’ lawyers advise clients on large-scale development projects in Florida and New York, as well as complex transactional matters. Eric Rapkin acted for Parmenter Realty Partners on several matters including the acquisition of The Tower at Cityplace in Dallas, as well as the $215m sale of Fifth Third Center in Charlotte. Rapkin continues to advise All Aboard Florida on the development of an intercity passenger rail project between Miami and Orlando. The team is also advising Swire Properties on the $1.05bn Brickell City Centre mixed-use development, including its leasing to Saks Fifth Avenue, a matter that is being led by Neisen Kasdin. Among other work, the department advised Samsung Electronics America on the leasing of a building in the Meat Packing district of New York and is acting for Rialto Mortgage Finance on the closing of mortgage loans originated for sale in connection with the issuances of commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS). Department head Richard Bezold is highly regarded and Steven Polivy, who heads the economic development practice and is managing partner of the New York office, is ‘fantastic’. Other recommended individuals include Andrew Robins, who chairs the firm’s lodging and lifestyle team, the ‘extremely bright’ Israel Alfonso and the ‘dedicated’ Manuel Fernandez. Recent hires include Yariv Ben-Ari from Morrison Cohen LLP, Susan Robin from Proskauer Rose LLP and Brian Tague from the defunct Tew Cardenas LLP, as well as Lisa Lim, who was previously senior counsel at Empire State Development, and Andrew Berman a former Professor of Law at New York Law School.
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Offices in West Palm Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, New York, Tysons Corner, Madison, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Salt Lake City, Washington DC, Naples, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, and Chicago