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Akerman LLP

THREE BRICKELL CITY CENTRE, 98 SOUTHEAST SEVENTH STREET, SUITE 1100, MIAMI, FL 33131, USA
Tel:
Work +1 305 374 5600
Fax:
Fax +1 305 374 5095
Email:
Web:
www.akerman.com

United States

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 4

Akerman LLP

The ‘very diligent and very commercially focused’ Akerman LLP handles urban redevelopment, financing, land deals and construction projects while also advising on distressed real estate and loan origination. Its client base includes investors, developers, builders, lenders, retailers, owners, and corporate end users. Fort Lauderdale-based practice chair Eric Rapkin represented Rock-French Quarter - a joint venture between Rockefeller Corporation and Stiles - on the $134m sale of a multifamily residential tower in Florida. Another highlight included acting for Lennar Multifamily Communities on the $225m acquisition and redevelopment of The MET, a multifamily site in Costa Mesa, California. A further highlight included advising Host Hotels & Resorts on the $215m acquisition of the Loews Don CeSar Hotel and the Beach House Suites in St Pete Beach, Florida. Miami-based Richard Bezold, New York-based Steven Polivy and Florida-based Andrew Robins are also recommended. Mark McElree and Kacy Whitehead joined from McElree Smith in Dallas, while Iran Hopkins joined from Ervin Cohen Jessup in Los Angeles.

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United States: Labor and employment

Immigration
Immigration - ranked: tier 2

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP’s immigration team represents a wide variety of clients from the manufacturing, telecoms and energy industries with their immigration needs, but particularly those within the hospitality and restaurant sectors. Matters that the group handles include PERM planning, compliance work (including Form I-9 and E-Verify issues), naturalization issues, EB-5 investor project and family-sponsored permanent residence applications. Thomas Raleigh assists Somfy Systems with permanent residency applications of key sales and executive personnel. The client roster includes Pelliconi Florida, Qvantel USA, GoITV and ESA Renewables. Maria Casablanca, who is very adept in handling EB-matters, chairs the practice.

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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 acts on complex middle-market deals valued at between $50m and $500m; the practice’s experience includes buy-side and sell-side M&A, leveraged recapitalizations and buyouts, spin-offs and sales of divisions, control and minority investments, growth equity investments, distressed company transactions, cross-border transactions, and joint ventures. Active notable clients are Grossinger Auto Group, Ferguson Industries, H I G Capital and Warren Equity Partners. Jonathan Awner and Carl Roston are the co-corporate practice chairs. Awner is widely respected for purchases and sales of car dealerships across the US; recent examples include his advice to Grossinger Auto Group, the oldest family-operated dealership chain in Illinois, on the $86m sale of 15 dealerships to AutoCanada. Roston’s recent highlights include assisting Branford Castle Partners with its acquisition of Vitrek, a manufacturer of electrical safety test and measurement equipment; and acting for KLX, a global manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products, in multiple transactions, including the acquisition of AM Aircraft Supply from SPS Technologies. Also key to the practice are Teddy Klinghoffer, Stephen Roddenberry, Paul Quinn, who divides his time between the West Palm Beach and Chicago offices, and Kenneth Wiggins. Klinghoffer acted for Associated Grocers of Florida, a wholesale grocer that supplies South Florida, the Caribbean and other international markets, in its sale to publicly traded Supervalu, a supermarket chain; and Roddenberry, as co-counsel with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, advised the special committee of Perry Ellis International, a designer, distributor and licensor of apparel, accessories and fragrances, on a merger agreement under which a newly formed entity controlled by Perry Ellis' founder took Perry Ellis private. Notable growth in the practice included the hiring of Brazil experts Karyn Koiffman in Washington DC and New York-based Peter Eccles from Baker McKenzie LLP and Foley & Lardner LLP, respectively. Attorneys listed are based in Miami unless otherwise stated.

Leading lawyers

Carl Roston - Akerman LLP

Next Generation Partners

Kenneth Wiggins - Akerman LLP

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United States: Real estate

Construction (including construction litigation)
Construction (including construction litigation) - ranked: tier 2

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP's construction group is led by the experienced Jeffrey Gilmore, who divides his time between the firm's Tysons Corner and Washington DC offices. Especially skilled in contentious disputes, Gilmore is representing Rizzani de Eccher, the prime contractor on the $2bn construction of the Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar, in claims brought by US federal agencies and the armed forces. Gilmore also successfully obtained a favorable ruling for the Denver Federal Center in disputes arising from the design-build contract for the Recovery Tier III Data Center in Colorado. On the transactional side, Fort Lauderdale-based Stacy Bercun Bohm and Leslie Miller Tomczak advised the Faena Group on the $700m development of the Faena District in Miami Beach, which includes a $250m hotel construction as well as an $80m arts center. In addition, the duo assist Fort Capital Management as owners and developers of Surf Club and the Four Seasons Hotel in Surfside, Miami Beach. Washington DC-based Owen Shean is also assisting with this $500m project. Neisen Kasdin, who is based in Miami, is also noted.

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Land use/zoning
Land use/zoning - ranked: tier 1

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP has an impressive national practice and is particularly noted for its ‘fantastic Florida presence’ The team has recently advised on multiple urban redevelopment projects, an example of which included assisting the Faena Group with the construction loan closing, project approvals, environmental matters, and real estate acquisitions in relation to its $700m Rem Koolhaas-designed multipurpose project on Collins Avenue in Miami, led by Miami managing partner Neisen Kasdin. In addition, Kasdin acts as land use and zoning counsel to the Magic City Special Area Plan, a proposed mixed-use tech and innovation district of over 7 million square feet on 17.8 acres in Miami’s Little Haiti District. Also recommended in Miami is Spencer Crowley. In Orlando, land use and development practice chair Cecelia Bonifay advised FedEx Ground on the due diligence and acquisition of a 150-acre site in Ocala to house a ground hub. In Chicago, another of the practice’s strongholds, Jack George acted for Riverside Investment and Development in the $1bn redevelopment of Chicago’s historic Union Station.

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United States: Tax

US taxes: contentious
US taxes: contentious - ranked: tier 5

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP has particular strengths in state tax matters, working with clients on emerging issues in tax law, such as the state and local tax treatment of vehicle and equipment leases, emerging technologies, telecoms and online services and products. Tax practice chairs Peter Larsen and David Otero, both in Jacksonville, successfully represented Ally Financial in the Michigan Supreme Court in a case which clarified the availability of sales tax refunds for bad debts relating to third-party financing of purchases of motor vehicles in Michigan. David Blum in Chicago and Michael Bowen in Jacksonville are also noted. In Orlando, Stacey Prince Troutman joined as a partner from Broad & Cassel in April 2018, which went on to merge with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in August 2018.

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Latin America: International firms

City focus: Miami

Akerman LLP is widely recognised for its expertise in regulatory and OFAC matters connected to Cuba. The Latin America practice is considerably broader though with the firm building up its regional expertise in Miami and New York especially. It has a number of dual-licensed attorneys, especially Brazil admitted lawyers; this includes partner Felipe Berer who chairs the Brazil practice and has a fine record in cross-border investments between the US and Brazil; he has considerable experience in trade and anti-corruption compliance. The firm is noted for mid-market corporate and private equity transactions in Latin America, along with international arbitration and litigation engagements. While much of the practice centres on inbound investment into Latin America, the firm also advises a range of Latin American entities on their outbound investments and acquisitions. M&A in the banking and financial services sector has also been a feature of the Latin America practice, along with airport and healthcare projects, REITs, and private client and tax planning work for high net-worth individuals from the region. Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador and Peru are also jurisdictions where the firm has a fine record. Cuba born Pedro Freyre is chair of the international practice and is noted for his expertise in Cuba regulatory and trade issues; he and the team advise a number of multinationals on their Cuba interests, including clients in the hospitality and travel industries. He and the team are at the forefront of issues connected to diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, including advising on Title III of the Helms-Burton Act and its implications for multinational businesses.

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