Described in the 2023 edition of Legal 500 Caribbean as ‘a comprehensive, knowledge-based firm with expertise in every discipline of law,’ Higgs & Johnson is rated as highly regarded in the areas of corporate law, dispute resolution and real estate.

The Guide highlighted the firm’s capabilities and expertise in: (i) commercial transactions including financing projects, agreements and securitisations; (ii) cross-border litigation and asset recovery work, trust claims, banking disputes, insolvencies, employment litigation and tax mandates, as well as handling alternative dispute resolution methods including arbitration proceedings; and (iii) representing international and Bahamian developers, financial insitutions and private clients on resort and cruise ship port developments, conveyances, use agreements, master leases and regulatory matters.

The Guide commended the Firm’s Commercial practice for its ‘high-quality and professional services’ with clients praising the team for having ‘a deep culture of placing client needs first.’ The Securities practice received rave reviews being noted as ‘second to none.’ Described as ‘innovative, responsive and diverse’, the Litigation team was lauded for being ‘very diligent and well equipped to provide advice and counsel on multiple areas of the law.’ Noted for its ‘broad experience at a domestic and international level in real estate transactions’, the Real Estate team was also recognized for its ‘speciality in foreign direct investment work and transactional and financing expertise.’

Rankings & Recommendations

Senior Partner, Philip C. Dunkley, KC, remains one of the most distinguished dispute resolution practitioners in the country who has represented clients in their complex litigation and transactional matters for almost 50 years.

Ranked as a ‘leading individual’, Co-Managing Partner, Oscar N. Johnson, Jr., KC has close to 40 years of experience practicing a full range of Corporate and Commercial law specializing in complex commercial and civil litigation, admiralty law, insurance and employment law.

Ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in real estate, Co-Managing Partner, Sterling H. Cooke, is praised by clients for his ‘keen eye for detail’ and described as ‘a master of what he does who is relentlessly thorough, direct and professionally tactful.’ He is also recommended in corporate law.

Seasoned litigation partner, Vann P. Gaitor, is a ‘recommended’ attorney with significant experience in the areas of commercial disputes, real property disputes, employment, banking, interlocutory applications of various kinds and civil procedural law.

Partner and Chair of the Maritime & Aviation practice, Vivienne M. Gouthro, is ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in corporate law and recommended in real estate. Described as an ‘aviation and maritime sector expert,’ she has over 27 years’ experience in international finance and real estate and development.

Zarina M. Fitzgerald, Partner and Chair of the Commercial Transactions practice, is ranked as a ‘leading individual’ and offers both international and domestic clients a wealth of experience in M&A and finance. She is experienced in large scale structured finance transactions, initial public offerings, private placements of offshore securities and maritime law.

Partner and Real Estate Chair, Stephen J. Melvin, is a seasoned real estate attorney, recognized as a ‘leading individual’ in real estate and well respected as a ‘specialist in foreign direct investment work.’ He has over the last 20 years acted on behalf of numerous high net worth private clients in respect of their real esate sales and acquisitions.

Described as an ‘excellent litigator and professional’, Partner and Chair of the Litigation practice, Tara Archer-Glasgow is ranked as a ‘leading individual’ with clients commending her ‘commercial knowledge of the industry and sector as exceptional’ and ‘willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that her clients receive the best representation and legal remedies available.‘

Ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in Dispute Resolution, Litigation Partner, N. Leroy Smith, is lauded as a ‘trust and estate claim specialist’ and described as being ‘very great to work with.’ He heads the Private Client practice with over 20 years of experience in trust and estates, complex commercial disputes and employment law.

Recognized as an ‘international commercial and financing specialist’, Christel Sands-Feaste, Chair of the Financial Services and Securities, Investment Funds & Fintech practices, is consistently ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in corporate law (including banking, finance and M&A) and was deemed to be ‘at the cutting edge in terms of securities.’

Recommended in corporate law, Portia J. Nicholson, is a commercial lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in cross-border commercial transactions including Mergers and Acquisitions, high value structured finance transactions, Initial Public Offerings and Private Placements of Securities, as well as Commercial Real Estate developments.

Praised for being ‘great to work with’, Litigation Partner and Deputy Chair of the Insolvency practice, Tara Cooper Burnside, is a ‘recommended’ attorney in dispute resolution with significant experience in the areas of litigation, insolvency law and financial services.

Karen S. Brown, Partner and Deputy Chair of the Litigation practice, is a ‘recommended’ attorney in dispute resolution and described as an ‘industrial relations and employment law expert.’ She specializes in Commercial and Civil Litigation, Admiralty Law, Industrial Relations & Employment law and Real Estate law.

Litigation Partner and Deputy Chair of the Intellectual Property practice, Audley D. Hanna, Jr., is a ‘recommended’ attorney in dispute resolution and specialises in various areas of civil and commercial litigation focusing on employment and admiralty law.

Alexandra T. Hall, Commercial Partner and Chair of the Government & Regulatory Affairs practice, is ranked as a ’next generation partner’ in corporate law and has significant experience in local tax law, legal and regulatory issues relating to resort development and operations, gaming law and Government affairs.

Real Estate Partner, Sandra J. Lightbourn, is ranked as a ‘next generation partner’ in real estate attorney with over 16 years of experience in Real Estate Development and Conveyancing Transactions, Probate and Estate Matters.

Ranked as a ‘next generation partner’ in real estate, Lori C. Nelson is a Real Estate Partner with experience representing clients in the sale and acquisition of hotels, marinas, and resort and mixed use developments and the purchase, sale and financing of residential and commercial property.

Senior Associate and Deputy Chair of Real Estate, Ja’Ann M. Major, is ‘recommended’ in the area of real estate and has experience in residential and commercial property acquisitions and sales and mortgages, immigration law, probate and estate matters, commercial law and maritime and shipping law.

Commercial Associate and Deputy Chair of the Government & Regulatory Affairs practice, Andre Hill, is ranked as a ‘rising star’ in corporate law and his practice centers on Finance, Banking and Commercial Law.

Deputy Chair of the Maritime & Aviation practice group, Keith O. Major, Jr., is ranked as a ‘rising star’ in dispute resolution and counsels clients in matters relating to Aviation, Asset Recovery, Maritime and General Civil Litigation including Employment/Labour and Property Disputes.

Download PDF

Loans & Secured Financing in The Bahamas

A quick reference guide to loans & secured financing in The Bahamas.

Banking & Finance Trends & Developments in The Bahamas

The article focuses on the trends and developments of the Banking & Finance sector in The Bahamas.