Firm Profile > Akerman LLP > Miami, United States

Akerman LLP
MIAMI, FL 33131
United States

M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) Tier 1

Akerman LLP is distinguished by the breadth of its middle-market work, handling buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions, leveraged recapitalizations and buyouts, spin-offs and sales of divisions and distressed company transactions. Team leads Jonathan Awner and Carl Roston are highly active across the practice; Awner's specialisms include corporate governance issues and transactions in the automotive sector, while Roston is highly recommended for his advice to investors and companies in distressed corporate situations. Other strengths for the team lie in recapitalizations and restructuring work for trading companies, and in advice for investors and entrepreneurs. The department stands out particularly for its private investment advice, including in the private equity and venture capital spaces, where Kenneth Wiggins is noted. Named attorneys are based in Miami.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Awner; Carl Roston

Other key lawyers:

Kenneth Wiggins; Teddy Klinghoffer; Stephen Roddenberry; David Birke; Paul Quinn


‘Diverse practice of high-quality professionals.’

Key clients

AE Industrial Partners, L.P.

Associated Grocers of Florida

AutoNation, Inc.

Branford Castle Partners, LP

Carrols Restaurant Group

Consolidated Edison

Ferguson Industries, Inc.

Florida Veg Investments, LLC d/b/a Mr. Greens Produce

Grant Avenue Capital, LLC

HEICO Corporation

H.I.G. Capital, LLC

KLX, Inc (Note: KLX was purchased by Boeing for US$ 4.25 billion in May 2018)

Trivest Partners, L.P.

Warren Equity Partners

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.

Comvest Partners

GPB Capital /Prime Automotive Group

JM Family Enterprises

HC2 Holdings, Inc.

New Era Technology, Inc./Sentinel Capital Partners

Resolute Forrest Products



RumbleOn, Inc.

Ubicquia LLC

XPO Logistics, Inc.

Real estate > Land use/zoning Tier 1

The land use and development practice at Akerman LLP has a strong presence in several key areas of the country, including Florida, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, acting for an impressive roster of real estate developers, landowners, investors, and lenders. The group is coordinated by a trio of lawyers: Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay chairs the firm's land use and development group and has a strong background in large-scale urban planning and development approvals, having recently advised a developer on the multimillion-dollar expansion and sale of the Wyndham WorldMark Kingstown Reef Resort in Orlando; Miami office managing partner Neisen Kasdin has extensive civic experience as a former mayor of Miami Beach; and Joshua Rinesmith in New York City recently advised on one of the first major air rights transactions to a private developer under the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA)'s NextGen 2.0 initiative. Another key figure is Jack George in Chicago, who has worked on numerous notable development projects, including zoning map amendments, planned development applications, and condemnation matters.

Practice head(s):

Cecelia Bonifay; Neisen Kasdin; Joshua Rinesmith

Other key lawyers:

Jack George; Jaclyn Scarinci


‘Neisen Kasdin and Benjamin Hedrick were indispensable.’

‘The Akerman team has unequalled experience in the art of Land use/Zoning in Chicago. They are skilled conductors of public processes and strong tacticians on political issues. They are the premier firm in Chicago in this sector.’

‘Jack George and Chris Leach are both terrific lawyers and are very organized with their processes.’

Key clients

MADDD Equities


Swire Properties

Northwood Investors

Two Roads Development

The Arker Companies

Golub & Company

Riverside Development

Lake Shore East LLP

Magellan Development Group

Labor and employment > Immigration Tier 2

Akerman LLP's immigration compliance practice focuses on corporate business immigration matters for large companies and international clients. Based in Florida, the group is overseen by Maria Casablanca in Miami and has strength representing clients operating in the communications, education, and energy spaces. New co-chair Denise Gavica Perez who also leads the firms employment group, has a specialism in the healthcare sector and has expertise in obtaining non-immigrant and immigrant visas for medical employees. She is the key name for immigration work pertaining to hospitals. On the associate level, Rachel Perez advises on the cross-border transfer of employees and employer eligibility audits. The team also handles pro-bono political asylum cases and has a thriving EB-5 immigrant investor program for investors, developers, and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):

Maria Casablanca; Denise Gavica Perez

Other key lawyers:


‘I believe that Akerman has availability and customer service orientation ’

‘Availability and creativity.’


Key clients

Connectics USA

Bassett Healthcare Network


Ciena Healthcare Management

Sofidel America Corp.

Kettering Health Network

Real estate > Construction (including construction litigation) Tier 2

Akerman LLP's construction group handles a variety of public and private construction projects across the country, from power facilities and tourist resorts to major transport infrastructure. Jeffrey Gilmore chairs the practice and is focused on innovative project delivery systems, an area in which he has notable international experience. Gilmore splits his time between offices in Virginia and Washington DC, as does Stephen Hurlbut, who recently led on two of the team's most notable highlight cases: he represented Conquistador Dorado JV in claims against the Navy for damages and additional compensation regarding an air station in Key West, and also acted for the architect of the US Capitol in a case before the General Accountability Office Contract Appeals Board. Stacy Bercun Bohm negotiates complex commercial and residential construction contracts, and also has strengths in litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Alongside Bohm in Fort Lauderdale, office managing partner Leslie Miller Tomczak acts for a range of design professionals in contracts and disputes matters.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Gilmore; Stacy Bercun Bohm


‘Great responsiveness; drafting skills; attention to detail.’

‘Great communication skills; great rapport with clients; very responsive.’

‘They are a large law firm with a small firm mentality. The two partners I deal with are always there for any questions or to provide any assistance.’

Key clients

Rizzani de Eccher

Architect of the Capitol

MSD Partners

CECO Concrete Construction

Cauldwell Wingate Company

Engineered Systems Alliance

The Faena Group

Dacra Development

MSC Cruises

Fort Capital Management

Real estate Tier 4

Akerman LLP is a major player in the projects space, acting on urban development and redevelopment schemes nationwide in addition to substantial multi-family, self-storage, industrial center, office building and shopping centre developments. In addition, the team also has an emphasis on portfolio transactions. Its offering is complemented by significant land use, environmental, construction and alternative finance expertise. In Fort Lauderdale, Eric Rapkin is active in high-stake real estate disputes throughout the US and also Latin America; he serves as department co-chair alongside Denver-based healthcare asset expert Allison Nelson, and Lawrence Eiben who runs the office, industrial and retail leasing practice from Chicago.

Practice head(s):

Eric Rapkin; Lawrence Eiben; Allison Nelson

Other key lawyers:

Sue Zabloudil; Steven Polivy; Richard Bezold


‘They are very efficient and if one attorney is busy, they all work together.’

‘They have mastered the work from home and actually can close deals remotely.’

Key clients

Lock-Up Self Storage

Windmass Capital

Codina Partners

One Real Estate Investments

Swire Properties

Bank of America

University of Miami

Sterling Project Development

Baychester Retail III LLC

Cresco Labs

Tax > US taxes: contentious Tier 4

Akerman LLP’s contentious tax practice has a strong focus on SALT controversies. In Jacksonville, Peter Larsen has noted expertise in various industry sectors ranging from emerging technologies and digital services to financial services and oil and gas; and Michael Bowen represents global corporates in significant assessment challenges at the state Supreme Court level, having recently acted for clients in the telecoms, travel, clothing and automotive sectors. Also recommended is David Blum in Chicago, who recently obtained impressive first-impression successes involving tax code interpretations in the healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Peter Larsen; David Blum; Michael Bowen

Key clients


Expedia Group

Ford Motor Company

The Seminole Tribe of Florida

Nissan Motor Company

Toyota Motor Corporation

Ally Financial

Capital One Financial Corporation

DriveTime Automotive Group

Latin America: International firms > City focus - Miami Tier 1

Akerman LLP has maintained a consistent pipeline of Latin America inbound and outbound transactional engagements, with Brazil and Chile being particular bright spots. The firm has also landed a number of engagements from Mexican entities looking to invest in the US; it largely inhabits the mid-market deal space. It has a leading Cuba practice, thanks to the presence of Pedro Freyre, the chair of the international practice; he and the team are defending clients in a series of cases under the Helms-Burton Act. Moreover, the firm has a growing presence in litigation and arbitration matters in Dominican Republic, Peru, Panama and Chile; chair of the Latin America and Caribbean practice Luis Pérez is a key name on the dispute resolution side, and Francisco Rodriguez has also played a pivotal role in boosting the firm’s reputation in Latin America-related arbitration. Otavio Carneiro is a leading name in Brazil inbound and outbound transactions, including investments in green field projects. Since publication, Pérez has been elected managing partner of the Miami office - effective January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Freyre; Luis Perez

Akerman LLP is a top 100 U.S. law firm recognized by Financial Times as one of the most forward thinking firms in the industry. Its more than 700 lawyers and business professionals collaborate with the world’s most successful enterprises and entrepreneurs to navigate change, seize opportunities, and overcome barriers to innovation and growth. Akerman is known for its results in middle market M&A and complex disputes, and for helping clients achieve their most important business objectives in the financial services, real estate, and other dynamic sectors across the United States and Latin America.

Types of work undertaken
Corporate, M&A, and capital markets: Advise public and private companies, including private equity funds, on M&A, capital markets transactions, financings, and other transactional matters, with a strong focus on the middle market.

Real estate: Recognized for substantial experience in complex transactions, development and construction projects, economic development incentives, environmental matters, public-private initiatives, and litigation.

Litigation: Trial lawyers in offices throughout the United States recognized for experience in civil, criminal, and general commercial litigation, appellate, and international arbitration matters.

Consumer financial services: Represent banks and non-bank consumer debt originators and servicers in the areas of litigation, compliance, regulatory enforcement, and repurchase and recovery litigation, with an emphasis on investigating and prosecuting origination fraud.

Bankruptcy and reorganization: Serve as counsel or receiver in large bankruptcy filings. Also represent financial institutions and mortgage holders in workouts, and other secured creditors in Chapter 11 reorganizations.

Intellectual property: Represent clients worldwide in all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and the internet.

Healthcare: Recognized for experience in regulatory, risk management, and corporate matters. Represent hospitals and health systems, health insurers and managed care organizations, physician practice groups, pharmacy-related organizations, and other industry stakeholders.

Labor and employment: Represent employers in every major sector with all aspects of labor relations and employment law compliance and litigation, workplace safety, immigration, and non-compete and trade secret issues.

Tax: Advise domestic and foreign corporations, individuals, and nonprofit institutions on international, federal, state, and local tax issues, including tax planning, audit defense, tax litigation, controversy, and legislation.

Government affairs and public policy: Bi-partisan team of lawyers and public policy advisers experienced in appropriations, transportation, hospitality, healthcare, education, Native American affairs, and local government matters.

International: Guide multinational corporations seeking to establish and expand their U.S. presence, as well as U.S. market leaders and disruptors entering new markets outside the U.S.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman and CEO Scott Meyers
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr David Birke  photo Mr David Birke David Birke serves as co-chair of Akerman’s M&A and Private Equity Practice…
Mr Kenneth Wiggins  photo Mr Kenneth Wiggins Ken Wiggins represents public and private companies, private equity funds, and individuals…