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USA Guide

Banking & Finance — Florida


Greenberg Traurig, PA - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for First-class offering for public and private entities across an extensive range of regulatory, transactional and public finance matters. Bolstered by the breadth of its expertise in structured finance and derivatives matters, with additional capabilities in tax-related issues. Regularly handles transactions with a cross-border Latin American component, with recent matters featuring a number of Mexican lenders and borrowers.

Strengths Sources say: "They have all of the expertise needed in-house, and do not hesitate to call in someone with specialized expertise if the situation requires, such as tax matters. They work together very well and are exceedingly thorough."

Work highlights Acted for the City of Coral Springs, Florida in connection with two issuances of special obligation bonds, with an aggregate value of $22.23 million. The transactions were to finance the construction of a new City Hall and a parking garage structure.

Acted for Elementia as borrower of a $200 million unsecured syndicated credit facility, administered by Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior.

Notable practitioners

Warren Bloom cochairs the firm's national public finance group. He is particularly noted for his representation of creditor-side clients in bond issuances, including trustees and the initial purchasers of bonds. Sources say that he is "a very capable and knowledgeable guy" in the public finance space.

Albert del Castillo is a leading public finance attorney who concentrates his practice on bond issuances in Florida and Puerto Rico. He regularly acts as bond counsel in connection with major municipal project financings. A client attests: "Albert is exceptionally knowledgeable and can work through all manner of challenging issues with professionalism and grace. He handles city managers – as well as elected officials – perfectly and can explain complicated financing matters in a way that non-finance people can understand."

Emilio Alvarez-Farré offers a highly respected lending practice, acting for both lenders and borrowers in connection with high-value syndicated financings and acquisition financings. He handles such matters as part of a broader corporate finance practice that also encompasses securities offerings and M&A work, and regularly handles deals with a Latin American element.

Carl Fornaris offers a broad banking and finance practice covering a range of regulatory and transactional matters. His areas of strength include Dodd Frank compliance and regulatory enforcement defense in connection with actions brought by agencies such as the SEC and the Federal Reserve. He also acts for both lenders and borrowers in sophisticated lending transactions, including acquisition financings. Sources consider him to be "a very good lawyer who is knowledgeable about both US and non-US institutions and their regulations."

Robert Gang is a hugely experienced figure in the public finance space. He regularly acts as bond counsel to municipalities, school districts and utility systems, among other clients. He also acts as underwriter's counsel and disclosure counsel.

Jéan Wilson is based in the firm's Orlando office and is its leading light for public finance transactions in the central part of the state. She regularly acts as bond counsel, disclosure counsel and underwriter's counsel in connection with the financing of housing, transportation and industrial developments, among other matters. Sources attest to her "deep expertise" in such matters, and note that she "manages expectations well."

About the Team (content provided by Greenberg Traurig, PA)

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Holland & Knight LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for  Highly proficient banking and finance group, with an impressively deep bench of transactional and regulatory attorneys. Highly sought after by domestic and international financial institutions to advise on a range of complex issues, with noted expertise in the Latin American market. Also has a well-known real estate finance group, with a proven track record in many high-value deals in Florida. Draws on its formidable litigation practice to advise on investigations and enforcement by an array of regulatory agencies and in commercial disputes.

Strengths  Clients report: "The team is very knowledgeable, and applies that knowledge to make practical and informed decisions to get the deal done."

A source adds: "They are a very important part of our team. Our confidence level with them is at the highest level."

Work highlights  Retained by energy developer Stoneway Capital on its $500 million senior secured notes offering, to finance the development, construction and operation of four power generating plants in Argentina.

Represented JPMorgan Chase and a group of 14 lenders on a $200 million syndicated senior unsecured loan to Promigas and Gases del Pacífico.

Notable practitioners

Industry stalwart Edward Vogel is considered a leading authority on tax-exempt bond financing and wider corporate financing issues, drawing from a wealth of experience in the sector. Clients say: "He is a total expert in the tax exempt area; he knows it from top to bottom and has excellent communication skills."

Practice cochair José Sirven has a sterling reputation for his banking practice, with interviewees labeling him "an excellent commercial finance lawyer." He advises a range of leading financial institutions on corporate finance and M&A matters, with particular strengths in transactions in the Latin American market.

Charles Stutts is an experienced and highly accomplished securities and banking law expert, whose standing in the market is considerably enhanced by his prior in-house roles in the Florida Comptroller's Office and the Department of Banking and Finance. He focuses on advising financial institutions and financial advisers on regulatory compliance.

Barbara Yadley offers a wealth of expertise in commercial lending matters, with notable strengths in real estate finance. One client reports: "She can really break things down into layman's terms, allowing us to make a commercial decision. She has experience with the majority of a financial instruments and covenants that are in place, so she works very efficiently."

Joe Dewey offers particular expertise in emerging technology, with considerable experience in blockchain and distributed ledger technology matters. His clients include a broad spectrum of financial institutions, insurance providers and investment funds.

Clients call upon Andres Fernandez for his extensive regulatory expertise and his wealth of experience advising financial institutions on compliance with anti-money laundering statutes and the Bank Secrecy Act. He offers particular strengths advising Latin American clients.

About the Team (content provided by Holland & Knight LLP)

  • Largest Florida ranked firm by number of banking & finance lawyers (50) and breadth and complexity of services
  • Represent domestic and foreign financial institutions, businesses and individuals in very large financial transactions, regulatory issues and disputes
  • Regulatory, transactional, financial investigations, litigation and public finance practices throughout Florida
  • Significant Latin American focus
  • Culturally diverse, foreign-licensed and multilingual attorneys

  • Finance Transactions

    Advise banks and financial institutions on complex lending transactions and on M&A transactions in the financial services sector

    Bank Regulatory

    Regulatory and compliance capabilities include AML, BSA, and OFAC, as well as regulatory and transactional expertise for domestic and international financial institutions and non-financial entities

    Public Finance

    Bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, issuer’s counsel and in other/multiple roles as counsel on public finance law and municipal finance transactions

    Real Estate Finance

    Land development, commercial and major residential (condominium) construction lending, permanent financing on income-producing property, and purchase/sale of loan portfolios

    Financial Investigations, Disputes and Litigation

    Defend clients in any type of investigation and litigation, including those initiated by or involving the SEC, the Department of Justice, antitrust, RICO, consumer fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and regulatory compliance

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Shutts & Bowen LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Remains a leader in the market and maintains an exemplary reputation for regulatory, international advisory and large-scale transactional issues as part of a broad skill set in complex banking and finance matters. Renowned for its representation of a wide range of financial service providers, credit unions and broker-dealers, often in complex M&A transactions and FINRA enforcement actions.

Strengths One appreciative client describes the team as "knowledgeable, responsive and attentive to our products, services and particular needs."

Work highlights Acted for a US lender in connection with the structuring and documentation of $300 million and $519 million project financing facilities for Latin American government-related companies.

Acted for a major US money center bank in connection with a significant FINRA enforcement action concerning a broker-dealer subsidiary's anti-money laundering program.

Notable practitioners

Bowman Brown chairs the firm's financial services practice group. He enjoys an outstanding reputation in the regulatory space and has been particularly active of late in guiding foreign and domestic financial institution clients through the regulatory aspects of M&A transactions. Among other matters, he recently acted for Bank Hapoalim in the sale of its US-based Latin American private banking business to Safra National Bank. Sources name him "an excellent attorney" who is "very well connected with regulators across the board."

Bryan Wells enjoys a fine reputation for his work with banks, broker dealers, investment advisers and other financial services firms in connection with the full range of regulatory matters, including banking M&A and enforcement matters. A client attests: "He is a pleasure to work with, he's always on top of things and he's very understanding of our needs. He's always willing to go the extra mile for us."

Rod Jones is a respected regulatory attorney who previously served as a bank regulator for the State of Florida. He advises US and foreign financial services companies in connection with state and federal regulatory matters, including banking M&A. He is particularly recommended by market observers for his work with community banks, but is also noted for his representation of insurance companies, mortgage lenders and broker-dealers.

Geoffrey Randall is particularly recognized for his work with community banks in connection with the full range of regulatory compliance and corporate governance matters, including M&A and branch acquisitions. Commentators report that he is "a very good lawyer who is very knowledgeable about federal law, and about Florida law too."

Kim Prior maintains a well-respected banking and finance practice with a regulatory focus, and is noted as a rising star in the market.

About the Team (content provided by Shutts & Bowen LLP)

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White & Case LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its premier commercial lending practice and significant experience in both domestic and international leveraged financings. Routinely engaged on large-scale cross-border transactions, with particular expertise in Latin American markets. Draws on the firm's global resources to add significant value for clients in large-scale transactions. Impressive sector expertise covers retail, energy and power, among others.

Strengths "The team is highly capable and has a strong understanding of current terms and conditions in the market," says a client.

Sources describe the team as "technically extremely strong, responsive and solutions-oriented."

Work highlights Advised SunTrust on a $310 million term loan B and $30 million revolving credit facility to Mediware.

Represented KeyBank in a $125 million senior secured first lien credit facility to Belnick.

Notable practitioners

Carlos Viana is a key partner in the firm's Miami office who is regularly called upon by clients to handle acquisitions and structured finance matters. He often handles cross-border issues, and is adept at advising on matters involving entities in Central and South American nations.

Sources say Eric Klar is "an efficient and effective negotiator" who is "deeply knowledgeable about the legal and technical aspects" of lending transactions. He works with a number of leading financial institutions on matters such as revolving credit and term loan facilities.

About the Team (content provided by White & Case LLP)

To learn more about our practice, please visit: whitecase.com/law

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Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 2

第二等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Distinguished practice with a wide range of banking and finance capabilities, particularly in regulatory and transactional matters. Notably well versed in complex cross-border M&A and lending transactions in Latin American markets. Acts for many leading financial institutions, including both foreign and domestic institutions, and assists them across virtually all their matters.

Notable practitioners

Alcides Avila regularly works with domestic and foreign clients in regulatory, lending and M&A matters. His expertise also spans compliance and enforcement actions.

Patricia Hernandez is "a compliance specialist" who counsels a range of banks and financial services companies. She is also adept at handling regulatory issues, as well as transactional matters such as M&A.

About the Team (content provided by Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri LLP)

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Akerman LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Well-established practice representing borrowers, lenders, issuers and underwriters in a range of public finance, regulatory and transactional issues. Extensive experience in securitization, lease finance and derivatives transactions. Demonstrates significant cross-border expertise in a range of financing and investment matters, particularly for financial institutions based in Latin America.

Strengths Clients say: "They're great people to work with. They're very practical, very efficient and have strong business sense."

One source adds: "The team as a whole is an extension of our team and they work tirelessly to meet deadlines."

Work highlights Served as borrower's counsel to The GEO Group in its $1.7 billion refinancing to fund corporate acquisitions and further expansion.

Notable practitioners

William Arnhols has a wide-ranging banking and finance practice which features strengths acting for borrowers, lenders and issuers in debt offerings and loan transactions. One client reports: "He understands both the market and what is important to me as the client, so he is able to quickly get to the right solution."

About the Team (content provided by Akerman LLP)

Akerman represents corporate entities and financial institutions in connection with capital debt markets, large and mid-cap corporate lending, private and public securitization, lease finance, project finance, debt fund management and trading, as well as derivatives transactions.

The firm serves as borrower's counsel with respect to numerous secured and unsecured revolving credit and term loan facilities for domestic and foreign corporations, and their subsidiaries in various industries.

Service Offerings

  • Revolving Credit Agreements
  • Term Loan Agreements
  • Bridge Loans
  • Senior & Subordinated Credit Facilities
  • Acquisition Financings
  • Asset Based Loans
  • Leveraged Buyouts
  • Letters of Credit
  • Lease Financings
  • Sale & Leaseback Transactions
  • Joint Ventures & Project Financings

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Bilzin Sumberg - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for  Miami office well known for its representation of both borrowers and lenders in commercial and business financing transactions, including asset-based financing, restructurings and workouts. Experienced in handling mezzanine lending and real estate finance. Has an expanding international finance practice and is active for clients across a variety of industries ranging from real estate and infrastructure to technology.

Strengths Sources say: "The team does reliable work. They look below the surface to provide substantive advice that is helpful and informed."

Sources note that "the lawyers are extremely smart, knowledgeable about their sector and very commercial."

Work highlights Advised GMéxico Transportes on corporate and financing issues in connection to its $2 billion purchase of East Florida Railway.

Represented Palm Bay Academy, as borrower, in a $15 million bond financing for its elementary and middle schools located in Palm Bay, Florida.

Notable practitioners

Robert Siegel leads the practice and advises on matters such as real estate finance, securitizations, debt restructurings and loan workouts. Sources highlight his "ability to handle complex financial agreements and communicate business issues within the agreement."

About the Team (content provided by Bilzin Sumberg)

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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Widely recognized for the strength of its expertise in domestic and cross-border transactions and investments, particularly those with Latin American elements. Frequently represents institutional lenders and development financiers across a range of project financing matters. Has been particularly active in the transportation and infrastructure sectors and has advised on significant projects including airports, transit systems, highways and bridges.

Strengths Clients say: "They are very professional and go the extra mile."

"They are very well organized and provide the information on time and undertake high-quality work," says a source.

Work highlights Advised Promerica Financial on obtaining a syndicated credit facility for its acquisition of certain Guatemalan subsidiaries of Citibank.

Represented National Financial Holdings, as borrower, in connection to a revolving line of credit from CoVenture.

Notable practitioners

Fernando Alonso is highly experienced in domestic and cross-border financing work. Sources say that he "knows how to quickly deal with issues and resolve any client requests."

About the Team (content provided by Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP)

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Squire Patton Boggs - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Highly regarded group of banking and finance experts, noted in particular for its considerable expertise in public finance issues. Represents a range of clients in the education, healthcare and real estate sectors on complex project and development financings. Benefits from its ability to draw on the firm's national public finance team.

Notable practitioners

Luis Reiter is an experienced practitioner who often handles public and private finance matters, often on behalf of underwriters and borrowers. His expertise covers projects in the aviation, infrastructure and utilities sectors.

Alexandra MacLennan is "a very talented" lawyer who is noted for her work in the healthcare sector. She regularly serves as bond, underwriters' and disclosure counsel.

About the Team (content provided by Squire Patton Boggs)

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Broad and Cassel LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 4

第四等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Experienced group of dedicated banking and finance practitioners advising clients on a range of institutional lending, public finance and debt restructuring matters. Highly proficient in structuring finance for complex commercial and industrial projects. Acts for a broad variety of clients including local governments, mortgage lenders, underwriters and state agencies. Notable expertise in real estate and construction financing.

Strengths One client comments: "The entire team we worked with was exceptionally knowledgeable, professional and extremely efficient."

Sources say: "The team is very efficient and deals with clients and opposing counsel professionally and courteously."

Work highlights Counseled Beacon College on the refinancing of its existing indebtedness and the financing for a new student residence facility.

Advised SunTrust on the refinancing of a 14-property real estate portfolio, which involved restructuring existing debt and providing working capital to the borrower.

Notable practitioners

Joseph Stanton is noted for expertise in public financing. He frequently advises government agencies on the financing of infrastructure projects, and is also experienced with representing clients in the education sector. Clients appreciate his knowledge of their business and further describe him as "extremely efficient and professional."

Arvin Jaffe receives praise for his "outstanding work product" and "impressive attention to detail." He has a wealth of experience in real estate financing, and predominantly acts on behalf of lenders. Clients say: "The depth and breadth of his legal knowledge, across all kinds of projects and assets, is impressive."

About the Team (content provided by Broad and Cassel LLP)

Broad and Cassel has two practice groups in this area: Banking and Institutional Lending and Public Finance and Capital Projects.

Our banking attorneys focus on:
•    Restructuring of corporate debt
•    Negotiation of loan sales
•    Litigating foreclosure actions
•    Resolving special asset-related issues
•    Financing of large commercial real estate projects
•    Review of regulatory requirements
•    Mergers and acquisitions
•    Capital raising for financial institutions and holding companies

Our public finance attorneys are best known for serving clients in various roles and on a variety of issues, including:
•    Bond counsel
•    Underwriters' counsel
•    Bank counsel
•    Disclosure counsel
•    Trustee counsel
•    Tax-exempt issues on behalf of the private sector
•    Creation of Public-Private Partnerships (P3)
•    Infrastructure and transportation projects

Clients include:
•    Local governments
•    State agencies – focus on transportation and utilities
•    Special districts
•    Underwriters
•    Private borrowers
•    Trustees
•    Mortgage lenders
•    Traditional banks
•    Mortgage brokers
•    Finance companies

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Foley & Lardner LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 4

第四等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Possesses significant strength in public finance and transactional matters, acting for a range of organizations as issuer's, borrower's and lender's counsel. Bolsters its offering with complementary strength in tax-exempt financing. Regularly handles high-value finance transactions for household-name clients.

Work highlights Acted as Bond Counsel in connection with the issuance of $107.6 million of bonds by the St. Johns County Industrial Development Authority, on behalf of Flagler Hospital.

Acted as Bond Counsel to The Heights Community Development District in Tampa in connection with its issuance of Special Assessment and Revenue Bonds, Series 2017 (Committed Tax Increment and Special Assessments).

Notable practitioners

Chauncey Lever is noted for his advice to underwriters in financing transactions, regularly advising public bodies in Florida.

Emily Magee is noted by sources for her skill in negotiating the subtleties of a transaction. She regularly advises clients on transactions in the heathcare and public finance space, deals that often involve municipal bonds.

About the Team (content provided by Foley & Lardner LLP)

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Gunster - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 4

第四等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Offers broad transactional and regulatory experience in the banking and finance arena, with significant activity on large-scale M&A. Represents a range of institutional clients on complex commercial lending transactions including broker-dealers, investment advisers and consumer finance companies. Also offers significant expertise in real estate finance and acts on both the borrowing and the lending sides.

Strengths "The Gunster team is very effective in handling our needs," says a client: "They are excellent at taking complex legal issues and boiling them down to practical solutions for our business, and they are a key to our success."

Work highlights Acted for Gateway Financial Holdings of Florida, and its subsidiary banks, in their merger with CenterState Banks of Florida, valued at $156 million.

Represented Stonegate Bank in connection with its proposed $41 million acquisition of Regent Bancorp and its wholly owned subsidiary, Regent Bank.

Notable practitioners

Gregory Bader regularly handles major M&A and joint venture transactions for banking institutions, also advising these clients on significant financings.

Michael Mitrione regularly handles the financing elements of transactions, with a number of investment funds as clients. His areas of practice include venture capital and private equity.

About the Team (content provided by Gunster)

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Locke Lord LLP - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 4

第四等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Routinely acts as bond, underwriter's and disclosure counsel across the full spectrum of venture capital and public financing matters. Held in particularly high regard for the depth of its expertise in the issuance of municipal, tax-exempt and industrial bonds to finance large development projects. The Florida team is further complemented by the firm's nationwide public finance offering.

Strengths Clients call Locke Lord "a high-quality, high-powered firm," with "responsive, professional and knowledgeable" attorneys.

Work highlights Acted as Co-Disclosure Counsel to Broward County, Florida in connection with the refunding of its Florida Professional Sports Facilities Tax and Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2006A.

Advised the Town of Palm Beach, Florida, on the bond issues of its $49.5 million debt refunding.

Notable practitioners

Stephanie Massey and Michael Schulman are key contacts for the firm's Florida-based banking and finance practice.

About the Team (content provided by Locke Lord LLP)

Locke Lord’s Public Finance Practice Group, comprised of over 30 attorneys and other professionals specializing exclusively in public finance matters, is a nationally recognized public finance practice. Locke Lord’s reputation as a leading bond counsel firm has grown from over a century of involvement in the law of public borrowing and the federal tax aspects of public debt obligations. Overall, in 2017 the Firm served as counsel on 298 issues with an aggregate principal amount of $12.8 billion.


Our public finance experience includes many years of relevant experience in preparing legal, tax and disclosure documentation for governmental issuers, and in advising governmental, corporate and non-profit clients on all aspects of federal tax and securities laws. During the past six years alone, the Firm has participated (as either bond counsel, underwriters’ counsel, disclosure counsel or special tax counsel) on over 4,000 issues of taxable and tax-exempt bonds and notes with aggregate principal amounts totalling over $83 billion, covering a wide array of industries and projects including, but not limited to: single family and multifamily housing, government purpose authority financings, highway and turnpike financings, water and sewer distribution facilities, convention centers and arenas, public power, resource recovery facilities, mass transit systems, and higher education, health care and other not-for-profit organization financings.

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Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 4

第四等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for  Utilizes considerable strengths in commercial and asset-based financing transactions to advise a broad client base which ranges from local independent thrifts to major global investment banks. Noted for its experience in representing borrower and lender clients in acquisition financings and secured and unsecured credit transactions.

Strengths  Sources praise the department's "fantastic group of attorneys: Client-centric with excellent responsiveness."

"It's a terrific team," says a client, noting that the attorneys are "responsive and always thoughtful in their work product. I have complete confidence in their work and guidance."

Notable practitioners

Stuart Ames is described by sources as "a very knowledgeable finance lawyer, and easy to work with." He handles a broad range of lending transactions and is noted for his "terrific experience, insight and advice on all corporate and financing matters."

About the Team (content provided by Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.)

Stearns Weaver Miller’s Banking & Financial Institutions Industry Group represents federal and state commercial banks, savings banks and other financial institutions ranging in size from local independent banks and thrifts to large "super-regional" banks and holding companies. We represent our bank clients on a wide array of matters including commercial and asset-based financing, commercial real estate lending, mergers and acquisitions and securities and regulation issues.

We have extensive experience in many types of credit transactions, including asset-based and leveraged lending, multi-borrower and single-borrower secured and unsecured lending, cash flow lending, syndicated lending and acquisition lending. Our clients include domestic and international commercial banks, finance companies, investment banks and REITs, as well as borrowers, guarantors and other credit enhancers. We assist our clients in structuring, negotiating, documenting, closing and managing their credit transactions.

Our experience includes both domestic and cross-border transactions involving borrowers engaged in a wide variety of industries and involving a broad spectrum of collateral.

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We do not rank lawyers for this territory and specialism but we rank firms. Please, see the sub-tables for ranked lawyers.