Higgs & Johnson > NASSAU, Bahamas > Firm Profile

Higgs & Johnson
P.O. BOX N-3247

Bahamas > Corporate law (including banking, finance and M&A) Tier 1

As ‘a comprehensive, knowledge-based firm with expertise in every discipline of law‘, Higgs & Johnsonprovides high-quality and professional services‘ and fields a securities department that is ‘second to none‘. The commercial transactions department excels across corporate and banking work; on the corporate front, the team is noted for its knowledge of cross-border transactions, while the banking and finance practice handles a range of financing projects, agreements and securitisations. The firm also has a notable compliance and regulatory practice and is active in anti-money laundering work. The group is jointly led by aviation and maritime sector expert Vivienne Gouthro in Freeport, and Zarina Fitzgerald and international commercial and financing specialist Christel Sands-Feaste, both in New Providence. Firm co-managing partner Sterling Cooke, tax group head Portia Nicholson and Alexandra Hall, who is head of the government and regulatory affairs practice, also contribute to the practice, as does associate Andre Hill, who is Hall’s deputy.


‘Higgs & Johnson is a comprehensive knowledge-based firm with expertise in every discipline of law. H&J has provided high-quality and professional services on my behalf. Each interaction with staff has been both a pleasant experience and a thorough service where no stone was left unturned. That requires a deep culture of placing client needs first: you get the impression that you are their only client.’

‘Their securities department is second to none and in particular Christel Sands-Feaste is at the cutting edge.’

‘Intelligence and clarity of understanding and message.’

‘Sterling Cooke is perhaps the best in his field of property conveyance. He has a keen eye for detail and does not miss any aspect that requires attention. What I like most is that he thinks of all potential angles in order to future-proof me from potential property issues. He is relentlessly thorough, direct and professionally tactful. He’s a master at what he does and it’s a joy to watch him draw out the best in the attorneys that represent the other side of the matters where he represents me.’

Bahamas > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Fielding an ‘innovative, responsive and diverse‘ team, the litigation practice at Higgs & Johnson acts for a range of local and global clients in cross-border litigation and asset recovery work, trust claims, banking disputes, insolvencies, employment litigation and tax mandates, as well as handling alternative dispute resolution methods including arbitration proceedings. Tara Archer-Glasgow heads up the team and is praised by clients as ‘an excellent litigator‘ who is ‘willing to go the extra mile to ensure that her clients receive the best representation and legal remedies available‘. Other contributors to the practice include senior partner Philip Dunkley KC, firm co-managing partner Oscar Johnson, Jr. KC, Vann Gaitor, trust and estate claim specialist Leroy Smith, industrial relations and employment law expert Karen Brown, Audley Hanna and associate Keith Major.

Practice head(s):


‘A hands-on group, and good team players.’

‘Leroy Smith and Tara Cooper Burnside were great to work with.’

‘Higgs & Johnson has very strong lawyers that represent their various areas of practice.’

‘Tara Archer-Glasgow is an excellent litigator and professional. Communication is very important to me and she delivers on this.’

‘The Team at H&J are innovative, responsive and diverse. Based on my many interactions with the team, they are very diligent and well equipped to provide advice and counsel on multiple areas of the law.’

‘Tara Archer-Glasgow is a seasoned Attorney-At-Law and her experience shines through in her case management and subsequent advice & counsel rendered. Her commercial knowledge of the industry and sector is exceptional. She is friendly, knowledgeable and accessible. She is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that her clients receive the best representation and legal remedies available.’

Bahamas > Real estate Tier 2

With broad experience at a domestic and international level in real estate transactions, Higgs & Johnson counts a range of Bahamian and global developers on its client roster alongside financial institutions and private clients. Other key areas of strength encompass advising on resort and cruise ship port developments, conveyances, use agreements, master leases and regulatory matters. Stephen Melvin heads up the group and specialises in foreign direct investment work, while firm co-managing partner Sterling Cooke is highly regarded for his transactional and financing expertise. Vivienne Gouthro, who leads the maritime and aviation practice group, also contributes, as do Sandra Lightbourn, development expert Lori Nelson, and senior associate Ja’Ann Major.

Firm Overview:
Higgs & Johnson has more than a half-century of experience and is one of the largest full-service corporate and commercial law firms in the Bahamas. The firm’s highly qualified attorneys are among the best in their respective fields as providers of superior, results-oriented legal advice and exceptional personalised service.

Main Areas of Practice:

Higgs & Johnson is engaged in a broad spectrum of international litigation, and accustomed to working with lawyers from other jurisdictions in co-ordinating cross border litigation strategies for client success. In the past decade the group has been involved in some of the most notable international cases, acting as counsel in matters involving substantial sums of money.

Real Estate & Development:
The firm has experience in a variety of real property transactions and has acted in the sale and purchase of an oil refinery, hotels, the establishment of commercial time-share complexes and other substantial commercial properties. A steady stream of individuals in the sale and purchase of residences and private islands are served.

Securities & Investment Funds: The group offers a wide range of services in relation to investment funds, derivatives, capital markets, collective investment schemes and financial products.

Financial Services, Insurance & Regulation: The group has extensive experience in the regulatory and anti-money laundering fields and is well versed in the laws and regulations governing the financial services industry of the Bahamas, currently advising a substantial number of local and international banks, trust companies and securities firms.

Private Client & Wealth Management:
Several of the firm’s attorneys are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an international organisation of trust practitioners. The firm is accustomed to liaising and working with offshore legal advisors to ensure efficient tax structures, and is an industry leader in Asset Protection Trusts, Private Trust Companies (PTCs), Purpose Trusts, Foundations and Executive Entities.

Insolvency & Corporate Restructuring:
The firm’s comprehensive insolvency group regularly advises on matters concerning the rights of creditors, the best solutions for recovery of creditors’ debts in insolvency matters, and the powers and duties of liquidators and receivers.

Maritime & Aviation
The Bahamas is the world’s third largest shipping registry. The firm has acted in the registration and financing of much of the tonnage presently on the Bahamian Registry. This practice also covers a variety of matters involving clients’ aviation concerns including acquisition and registration of aircraft, aircraft mortgages and the use of corporate structures in multi-jurisdictional transactions to facilitate aircraft leasing and financing, consistent with Western & Middle Eastern financial institutions.

Intellectual Property:
This group focuses on the regulation of rights regarding ideas, trademarks, patents and copyrights. Attorneys are able to advise on the rights to transfer these ideas, and compensation for transaction through licensing fees.

Commercial Transactions:
The Bahamas is a premier International Financial Centres, having a real connection with many large international financing projects. The firm has substantial experience as advisers on all aspects of financing projects.

Company Formation & Management:
H&J Corporate Services Ltd. is a premier provider of corporate administrative services both to local and international clients. H&J Management Services Ltd. provide company formation and property management services. H&J Fiduciary Services Ltd. provides registered representative services for PTCs in The Bahamas. Visit www.hjcorporate.com

The firm’s clients are local and international banks, global law and accountancy firms, trust companies, investment firms, multimillion dollar touristic developments, multinational companies, and high networth individuals.

International Work:
Coupled with strong connections with leading firms in New York, London, Zurich, Geneva, Hong Kong, São Paulo and other commercial centres, Higgs & Johnson has a talented and knowledgeable team of experienced attorneys, with additional administrative, financial and technical support to deliver timely, accurate and relevant service to clients around the world.

Litigation Oscar N. Johnson, Jr.ojohnson@higgsjohnson.com242 502 5200
Tara Archer-Glasgow photoMrs Tara Archer-GlasgowTara supervises the Asset Recovery Unit and chairs the Intellectual Property group.…
Sterling Cooke photoMr Sterling CookePartner and chair of the Real Estate and Development practice group, Sterling has…
Surinder Deal photoMs Surinder DealCorporate and commercial law, banking law, securities, gaming law, real estate law;…
Zarina Fitzgerald photoMs Zarina FitzgeraldChair of the Commercial Transactions group having acted in all aspects of commercial…
Audley Hanna photoMr Audley HannaAudley specialises in various areas of Civil and Commercial Litigation, with a…
Oscar Johnson, Jr. photoMr Oscar Johnson, Jr.Global Managing Director
Portia Nicholson photoMrs Portia NicholsonPortia is a Corporate and Commercial lawyer with over 31 years’ experience.…
Christel Sands-Feaste photoMrs Christel Sands-FeasteExperience in corporate and commercial law, asset financing, resort development and operations,…