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Akerman LLP

Work +1 305 374 5600
Fax +1 305 374 5095

United States

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 4

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP wins plaudits for its ‘business acumen and prompt attention to matters’ and the practice has expertise in a range of product types, including affordable and workforce housing, senior living and hotels and resorts. Orlando-based James McNeil leads on residential development projects and remained active on behalf of the firm’s strong housebuilder client base that includes the likes of Taylor Morrison. Another name to note is Miami-based Carol Schoffel Faber, who has a ‘very good depth of knowledge in the restructuring of commercial real estate loans’; Faber represented Colony Capital in numerous transactions involving distressed commercial real estate around the US. In Fort Lauderdale, Eric Rapkin’s strong caseload included acting for All Aboard Florida in public-private right-of-way agreements for the development of an intercity passenger rail project, and assisting Parmenter Realty Partners with various Class A office building joint ventures. The practice has particular depth in Florida, but also operates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In Los Angles, Susanne Zabloudil and Herman Enayati represented Northstar Commercial Partners in its $224m purchase of a 24-property industrial, office and retail portfolio from a California-based real estate development and management company. Miami-based Richard Bezold leads the team.

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United States: Labor and employment

Immigration - ranked: tier 2

Akerman LLP

The immigration team at mid-market powerhouse Akerman LLP acts for a diverse range of clients, receiving a steady flow of instructions from companies across the hospitality, restaurant, media, communications, banking and manufacturing sectors. It also leverages its Latin America and Caribbean practice in providing immigration services relating to those territories. Thomas Raleigh co-chairs the national group from Orlando and also covers a wide range of immigration work; his recent highlights included advising Qvantel USA on employing two H-1B employees and one Australian (E-3) to support the launch of its US affiliate business. Following the departure of Michael Benchetrit, the group is now led by Maria Casablanca, who joined the Miami office in 2016 from her own immigration firm, Casablanca & Associates.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) - ranked: tier 1

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP is ‘a great go-to firm in all respects and offers fantastic quality at excellent rates’. Miami-based Martin Burkett and Carl Roston co-chair the firm’s M&A and private equity practice, which is particularly active within healthcare, technology, retail and the restaurant business. Roston represented KLX, a global provider of aerospace and defense products, in its $210m cash acquisition of Herndon Aerospace & Defense. Chair of the national corporate practice Mary Carroll, who is ‘a great all-round lawyer’, acted for Canadian paper firm Resolute Forest Products in its $156m acquisition of Atlas Paper Holding. Other recommended attorneys include Jonathan Awner, who has ‘strong judgment’, and Teddy Klinghoffer and Stephen Roddenberry, who are hugely experienced deal lawyers. Awner regularly advises longstanding client Trivest Partners on its M&A activities; and Klinghoffer recently acted for information solutions provider IDI in its $225m acquisition of advertising technology company Fluent. Growth for the corporate practice included a number of hires: corporate law specialist Paul Quinn, who divides time between the Fort Lauderdale and Chicago offices, joined from Paul Hastings LLP, while Lorenzo Borgogni, who is focused on Italian buyers, was recruited in New York from Proskauer Rose LLP. Other notable corporate practice hires included Chicago and New York-based Mason Drake joining from Greenberg Traurig LLP, and Los Angeles-based Mark Liu arriving from Hong Kong-based Amicorp. All partners listed are based in Miami unless otherwise stated.

Leading lawyers

Carl Roston - Akerman LLP

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United States: Real estate

Construction (including construction litigation)
Construction (including construction litigation) - ranked: tier 3

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP has a broad practice covering the real estate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with recent matters including power plant, housing and transport system projects. The ten-partner team is headed by Jeffrey Gilmore in Washington DC and represents both owners and developers; however, there has been a shift in the practice towards owner representations, particularly in relation to multimillion-dollar public infrastructure and energy disputes. A standout case for the team was defending the developer of the New England biomass power generation project against claims in excess of $70m from the EPC contractor; the group secured the complete dismissal of the claims. The team also has an international client base and acted for Italian contractor Rizzani de Eccher in contractual and claims matters relating to the construction of the Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, a project valued at $2bn. Other key clients include luxury hotel group the Faena Group; Stacy Bercun Bohm in Fort Lauderdale has been the lead partner in these matters.

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Land use/zoning
Land use/zoning - ranked: tier 2

Akerman LLP

Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the Akerman LLP land use practice, which works on projects across the US but is most active in Florida, New York and California. The main focus is commercial real estate, including entertainment venues, retail space, sport stadia and residential developments. A highlight in 2016 was the team’s continued advice to Dacra Development on a large-scale luxury retail development in Miami; this highly complex and lengthy process is being led by Neisen Kasdin, also based in Miami. Other clients in 2016 included the Faena Group, numerous national homebuilders and Miami Beckham United. The team expanded with the addition of four land use partners; in Los Angeles, Ellen Berkowitz, Brady McShane and Lisa Kolieb joined from Gresham Savage, and in New York, Joshua Rinesmith joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

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