Firm Profile > Akerman LLP > Washington DC, United States

Akerman LLP
United States

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

Akerman LLP is noted for the breadth of its middle-market M&A practice, where it handles a huge variety of buy- and sell-side M&A, leveraged recapitalizations and buyouts, distressed company transactions, cross-border acquisitions and investment deals, and joint ventures. Other areas of focus include foreign and domestic IPOs, secondary offerings and matters involving the use of SPACs. Among the team's clients are private equity firms, family offices, and other strategic investors, private and public companies, management teams, emerging companies and entrepreneurs. Jointly headed by Jonathan Awner and Carl Roston, the team is handling M&A and reorganizations, including pre- and post-merger restructuring work, for a number of well-known national and regional trading companies; however, the team has had particularly strong showings in the private investment space. Private equity and venture capital specialist Kenneth Wiggins is also recommended. Otavio Carneiro joined as partner in the Miami office from the Brazilian firm Veirano Advogados, strengthening the firm’s Brazilian inbound and outbound transactional expertise. Named attorneys are based in Miami.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

AE Industrial Partners, L.P.

Associated Grocers of Florida

AutoNation, Inc.

Branford Castle Partners, LP

Carrols Restaurant Group

Costa Farms

Consolidated Edison

Ferguson Industries, Inc.

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.

L3Harris Technologies

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.

Management of FastMatch, Inc.

Café X Communication

Juniper Communities

HC2 Holdings, Inc.

New Era Technology, Inc.

Resolute Forrest Products


RumbleOn, Inc.

XPO Logistics, Inc.

Real estate > Land use/zoning Tier 1

Akerman LLP fields a standout national real estate team that is consistently at the forefront of large-scale development projects in major markets across the US. With a particular focus in Florida, Chicago and New York, the practice group had developed a reputation for involvement in transformational projects. The land use and development group is under the joint leadership of Eric Rapkin in Fort Lauderdale and Cecelia Bonifay in Orlando. In addition to experience of more traditional commercial real estate projects, Bonifay is also rated for her expertise in urban planning and sustainable development in Florida and across the country. Another contact in the firm's Florida network is Neisen Kasdin in Florida; Kasdin is particularly well known for large multi-use projects and urban revitalization. Jack George is a name to note in the Chicago office, and Joshua Rinesmith is a contact for projects in New York City. Stephen Tilbrook, who has more than 25 years of experience in the field of land use and real estate development throughout Florida, recently joined the Fort Lauderdale office from Gray Robinson PA.

Practice head(s):


‘The team members complement each other very well. They work in an efficient and cohesive manner.’

‘The team fields knowledge of discipline, opposing counsel familiarity and diversity of specialities.’

Key clients

Ocean Terrace Holdings

Hilco Development Partners

Dacra Development

Arker Companies

Faena Group

Monarch Industries

MCD Miami

Lakeshore East

Swire Properties

Riverside Development & Investment

Labor and employment > Immigration Tier 2

Highlighted for its 'excellent customer service', Akerman LLP has a strong immigration practice in Florida, where it represents clients in the areas of communications, education, energy and healthcare. Miami-based practice head Maria Casablanca has over two decades of experience in business immigration matters and has particular expertise representing high-net-worth clients from Latin America. In Orlando, former co-chair Thomas Raleigh advises corporates on business entry matters, including business immigration planning and compliance. Also recommended in Miami is Denise Gavica Perez, who is especially experienced in the healthcare sector, where she advises hospitals and staffing agencies on a full range of immigration matters. The team also handles pro-bono political asylum cases.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Ms. Denise Gavica Perez, Partner at Akerman: Over the years, I have used Ms. Gavica Perez at various companies that I have been associated with as it related to our immigration issues. She is the go-to person as it relates to these matters. Always accessible at any given time and day.’

‘The team has the knowledge, compassion, understand the business, excellent customer service, and a timely follow-up.

Key clients

Pelliconi Florida

ESA Renewables


Connectics USA


Real estate > Construction (including construction litigation) Tier 2

The 'knowledge-base and diversity of counsel' on offer at Akerman LLP benefits a range of construction projects, land use issues and complex disputes which form its construction caseload. Department chair Jeffrey Gilmore operates from both the Washington DC and Virginia offices, with his practice focused mostly on innovative project delivery systems including EPC contracts, design-build and public-private partnerships. In addition, Gilmore leads on litigation cases. Washington DC-based Stephen Hurlbut also has significant claims experience for Cauldwell Wingate Company LLC, after government-induced delays during infrastructure upgrades to Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse. The team acts for design professionals and clients in the hospitality sector; being involved with plot acquisitions, zoning and service agreements through to final site handover. In Fort Lauderdale, managing partner Stacy Bercun Bohm and Leslie Miller Tomczak joined forces to represent 555 River Partners LLC as developer of the $200m River House, a mixed-use facility on the Miami Riverfront.

Practice head(s):


Knowledge-base and diversity of counsel.

Key clients

Rizzani de Eccher

Kar Properties

Twining Properties

CECO Concrete Construction

Cauldwell Wingate Company

Engineered Systems Alliance

The Faena Group

Dacra Development

The Finvarb Group

Fort Capital Management

Real estate > Real estate Tier 4

Akerman LLP is rated by clients for its work in complex financing deals, large-scale construction projects and urban redevelopment. Jointly headed by Eric Rapkin in Florida, Lawrence Eiben in Chicago and Allison Nelson in the Denver office, the group also has experience of portfolio transactions and distressed asset deals, land use and environmental issues, and disputes. A number of new arrivals from Duval & Stachenfeld LLP and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP have expanded the team, significantly strengthening its commercial leasing and investment offering. Former Duval & Strachenfeld partner Alan Cohen now chairs the real estate finance practice.


They have an excellent knowledge base.’

Key clients

TruAmerica Multifamily


Magellan Development

University of Miami

Seritage Properties

University of Miami

Parmenter Realty Partners

Brener International Group

CBRE Global Investors

Sovereign Bank

Tax > US taxes: contentious Tier 5

Akerman LLP has a strong nationwide footprint, handling audits and tax litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Headed by Peter Larsen, 'an extremely capable and effective leader', the practice group has a track record in trial and appellate litigation, and has enjoyed some of its most notable recent successes at state supreme courts. Deputy practice chair David Blum is a contact in the Chicago office, while Michael Bowen heads the state and local tax practice from Jacksonville. Mary Samsa (also in Chicago) joined the team in January 2019 from McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


The team is ready to help at a moments notice. They jump right in to assess the problem and suggest a solution.

Peter Larsen is an extremely capable, and effective practice leader. He is very approachable and will handle any size task. He is the go-to expert on automotive leasing matters.

Michael Bowen is a zealous advocate who is friendly and easy to work with.’

Key clients


Expedia Group

Ford Motor Company

The Seminole Tribe of Florida

Nissan Motor Company

Toyota Motor Corporation

Ally Financial (formerly GMAC)

Capital One Financial Corporation

DriveTime Automotive Group

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