Higgs & Johnson > NASSAU, Bahamas > Firm Profile

Higgs & Johnson
P.O. BOX N-3247

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

Higgs & Johnson leverages its experience in commercial cross-border transactions to be a go-to name in the Bahamas for a broad range of mandates, with particular knowledge of the finance sector; the group has been notably involved in the development of legislation relating to the financial services and casino gaming industries and has advised on investment fund and trust company regulations. Financing projects also make up a sizeable proportion of the team’s workload along with regulatory and anti-money laundering mandates. Zarina Fitzgerald heads up the commercial transactions group and has recently handled structured finance transactions, M&A and restructuring work, while Freeport office managing partner Vivienne Gouthro leads the maritime and aviation practice. Christel Sands-Feaste leads the financial services and securities, investment funds and fintech groups and is praised as ‘a dynamic attorney‘. Tax practice leader Portia Nicholson and head of the government and regulatory affairs group Alexandra Hall are also active in the practice. Andre Hill was promoted to senior associate in early 2023.

Practice head(s):

Zarina Fitzgerald; Vivienne Gouthro; Christel Sands-Feaste

Other key lawyers:

Portia Nicholson; Alexandra Hall; Andre Hill; Sterling Cooke; Stephen Melvin; Lori Nelson


‘The firm offers a diverse range of services and has the capacity to service a mixed clientele with different needs, whether corporate or otherwise. The team works together to ensure that the client experience is superior.’

‘Christel Sands-Feaste is a dynamic attorney. Knowledgeable, responsive and client driven.’

Bahamas > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Higgs & Johnson’s ‘great, innovative team’ is consistently active in the jurisdiction’s largest cases, acting for a variety of local and international clients at all court levels up to the Supreme Court. The practice is particularly well regarded for its expertise in cross-border litigation, banking and financial services claims, and insolvency and employment disputes; it also fields distinct teams for asset recovery work, trust litigation and tax cases, and is increasingly active in arbitration proceedings. Tara Archer-Glasgow leads the department and attracts effusive praise from clients, who single her out as ‘a smart litigation lawyer, who is punctual, concise and well organised, with a great personality’. Further key names in the practice include team deputy chair Karen Brown, who excels in employment law; senior partner Philip Dunkley KC and firm co-managing partner Oscar Johnson, Jr. KC; ‘great lawyer with great judgementTara Cooper Burnside KC, who was appointed King’s Counsel in 2023; and Leroy Smith, who specialises in trust and estate litigation. Keith Major and Rhyan Elliott are the key names at senior associate level.

Practice head(s):

Tara Archer-Glasgow


‘A great, innovative team – on top of the law.’

‘Tara Burnside KC – great lawyer and great judgment.’

‘There are two members with whom I interact most often – Tara Archer-Glasgow and Audley Hanna. Tara has very ably represented our interests, she is very responsive, and is very assertive and confident in her approach. Audley’s deep understanding of local labour laws is impressive and as such he has been able to guide us to avoid mistakes and avoid litigation without compromising our policies.’

‘Tara Archer-Glasgow: smart litigation lawyer, who is punctual, concise and well organised, with a great personality.’

‘The responsiveness we have received is bar none.’

‘Rhyan Elliott is thorough, very responsive and meets deadlines – that combination is a rare find within the legal fraternity and is a factor that places him and Higgs & Johnson at the forefront of the list of Bahamian Legal Service Providers utilised by my company.’

‘They are responsive and they care!!!!’

Bahamas > Real estate Tier 1

The real estate and development group at Higgs & Johnson acts for a roster of national and international clients including developers, financial institutions and private clients on real estate transactions, developments, financing issues and regulatory mandates. The team has been notably active on resort and cruise ship port developments, property sales and lease work. Stephen Melvin leads the practice alongside newly promoted partner Ja’Ann Major. Other key names include firm co-managing partner Sterling Cooke, who handles transactional work, maritime and aviation practice head and Freeport office managing partner Vivienne Gouthro, development and conveyancing expert Sandra Lightbourn, and development specialist Lori Nelson. Renai Martin is the key name at associate level.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Melvin; Ja’Ann Major


‘We’ve been working with Higgs & Johnson for many years on various real estate backed transactions. The team is highly experienced and always a pleasure to deal with. The partners turnaround deals efficiently and accordingly, allowing us to provide our clients with superior service. From simple to complex real estate transactions, Higgs is our first choice.’

‘Stephen Melvin and Lori Nelson are two partners we work with most and they provide an exceptional level of service. Very attentive to our requests and always turn around deals quickly.’

‘The firm’s response time is excellent and the partners are technically strong. We are working primarily with Stephen Melvin who has been excellent. Another partner Lori Nelson works with our clients and she too has been strong.’

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.

Department Name Email Telephone
Litigation Oscar N. Johnson, Jr. ojohnson@higgsjohnson.com 242 502 5200
Photo Name Position Profile
Tara Archer-Glasgow photo Mrs Tara Archer-Glasgow Tara supervises the Asset Recovery Unit and chairs the Intellectual Property group.…
Sterling Cooke photo Mr Sterling Cooke Partner and chair of the Real Estate and Development practice group, Sterling has…
Surinder Deal photo Ms Surinder Deal Corporate and commercial law, banking law, securities, gaming law, real estate law;…
Zarina Fitzgerald photo Ms Zarina Fitzgerald Chair of the Commercial Transactions group having acted in all aspects of commercial…
Audley Hanna photo Mr Audley Hanna Audley specialises in various areas of Civil and Commercial Litigation, with a…
Oscar Johnson, Jr. photo Mr Oscar Johnson, Jr. Global Managing Director
Portia Nicholson photo Mrs Portia Nicholson Portia is a Corporate and Commercial lawyer with over 31 years’ experience.…
Christel Sands-Feaste photo Mrs Christel Sands-Feaste Experience in corporate and commercial law, asset financing, resort development and operations,…