caribbean and central america
The Firm has a leading Caribbean and Central American real estate practice; indeed, members of the Firm's Real Estate Practice Group having consummated over a hundred transactions on behalf of our US and Latin America based clients.
Practice Group Leader: Thomas O’Connor
Many of our real estate attorneys have particular expertise assisting clients who are investing, owning and/or developing hospitality, retail, office, industrial and residential assets throughout Latin America, including in the following countries: Aruba, Trinidad, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Dominican Republic, as well as the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. These include, for example, billions of dollars of transactions in Puerto Rico, including some of the largest real estate transactions in Puerto Rico’s history.
We are focusing on real estate matters in the Caribbean and Central America for the simple reason that our competition is not. There are many US based firms with Latin American practices – which focus primarily on corporate transactions in emerging markets such as Brazil and Chile – but, none that we are aware of which focus exclusively on the real estate markets in the Caribbean and Central America. Doing business in these parts of the world is very difficult and tricky for several obvious reasons:
First – the business practices and levels of formality in these countries are very different from those in the U.S. and often vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This requires U.S. counsel to be very careful and thoughtful in creating and nurturing relationships with our local counterparties. Given our vast experience in these locales, we have cultivated solid relationships with the major local law firms and owners/developers and are quite good at melding the occasionally contradictory goals of getting along with people (on the one hand) yet at the same time ensuring that great care is taken in documentation (on the other hand).
Second – due to the often-small locales, even simple things like the choice of local counsel is fraught with a higher level of concern. Consider a location where the “major” law firm on the island has just seven lawyers and one of the other law firms is the governor’s law firm? We have experience in navigating these waters.
Third – a partner with particular cross-border tax expertise is essential. Fortunately Stephen Land, who heads our tax practice, is considered to be the one of the top cross-border tax lawyers in NYC.
Fourth – quite simply, given the volume of transactions we have handled in this region, we know the drill. We are generally familiar with local laws and customs, have assembled teams of local counsel and consultants, and are known and respected as experienced, but reasonable, players in those markets.