With the release of the 2024 edition of Legal 500 Caribbean, Higgs & Johnson continues to be recognized as top tier in the areas of corporate law, dispute resolution and real estate. The Firm was praised for its ability to ‘leverage its experience in commercial cross-border transactions to be a go-to name in the Bahamas for a broad range of mandates’ and for offering a ‘diverse range of services.’
The Guide highlighted the firm’s capabilities and expertise in: (i) in the development of legislation relating to the financial services and casino gaming industries; investment fund and trust company regulations; and structured financing projects with regulatory and anti-money laundering mandates; (ii) cross-border litigation, banking and financial services claims, insolvency, employment disputes and arbitration with distinct teams for asset recovery work, trust litigation and tax cases; and (iii) real estate transactions, developments, financing issues and regulatory mandates and also notably active on resort and cruise ship port developments, property sales and lease work.
The Commercial practice was praised for its ‘capacity to service a mixed clientele with different needs, whether corporate or otherwise’ and was commended for ‘ensuring the client experience is superior.’ Described as a ‘great innovative team’, the Litigation team was lauded for being ‘responsive and on top of the law.’ Noted for its ‘roster of national and international clients,’ the Real Estate and Development team was described as ‘highly experienced’ and the client’s ‘first choice for simple to complex real estate transactions.’
Rankings & Recommendations
Senior Partner, Philip C. Dunkley, K.C., is a recommended attorney in the area of dispute resolution and has represented clients in their complex litigation and transactional matters for almost 50 years.
Ranked as a leading individual in dispute resolution, Co-Managing Partner, Oscar N. Johnson, Jr., K.C. provides local and global clients with strategic advice, insightful and nuanced perspectives across a wide range of challenging corporate and commercial matters. The depth of his experience, the quality of his advocacy skills, and his dedication to the interests of his clients make him highly sought-after in complex dispute resolution, admiralty, insurance and employment law matters.
A leading individual in the area of real estate, Co-Managing Partner, Sterling H. Cooke, has over 30 years of extensive legal experience and expertise and is also recommended in corporate law which includes banking, finance and M&A.
Partner and Chair of the Maritime & Aviation practice, Vivienne M. Gouthro, is ranked as a leading individual in corporate law and recommended in the area of real estate. She has over 28 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 in corporate law offering clients a wealth of experience in M&A and finance matters of all sizes, with recent experience overseeing high-value bond issuances and handling large scale structured finance transactions and restructuring work. She is also experienced in initial public offerings, private placements of offshore securities and maritime law.
Partner and Real Estate & Development Chair, Stephen J. Melvin, is recognized as a leading individual in real estate and development while also being recommended in corporate law. He is described as being ‘very attentive and technically strong’ and praised for providing ‘an exceptional level of service.’
‘Attracting effusive praise as a smart litigation lawyer with a great personality’, Partner and Chair of the Litigation practice, Tara Archer-Glasgow is ranked as a leading individual in dispute resolution with clients commending her ‘very responsive, assertive and confident approach’ and describing her as ‘punctual, concise and well organized; who very ably represents the clients’ interest.’
Described as a ‘trust and estate litigation specialist,’ Partner and Private Client Chair, N. Leroy Smith, is ranked as a leading individual in dispute resolution and possesses over 20 years of significant experience in trust and estates, complex commercial disputes and employment law.
Praised as a ‘dynamic attorney’, 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 described by clients as ‘knowledgeable, responsive and client driven.’
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 ‘a great lawyer with great judgment’, Litigation Partner and Deputy Chair of the Insolvency practice, Tara Cooper Burnside, K.C. is recommended in dispute resolution and is a seasoned practitioner in the areas of litigation, insolvency law and financial services.
Recommended in dispute resolution, Karen S. Brown, Partner and Deputy Chair of the Litigation practice, is recognized for her excellence in employment law. She also specializes in Commercial and Civil Litigation, Admiralty Law, Industrial Relations 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 who is praised by clients for having a ‘deep and impressive understanding of local labour laws’; and with his guidance clients are able to ‘avoid mistakes without compromising their policies.’
Ranked as a next generation partner in corporate law, Alexandra T. Hall is Chair of the Government & Regulatory Affairs practice and a commercial attorney who has noteworthy 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 and described as a ‘development and conveyancing expert’ with over 17 years of experience in Real Estate Development and Conveyancing Transactions, Probate and Estate Matters.
Described as a ‘strong development specialist’, Real Estate partner, Lori C. Nelson is ranked as a leading individual in Real Estate and is praised for her ‘attentiveness, exceptional level of service and quick turnaround on deals.’ She represents clients in the sale and acquisition hotels, marinas, and resort and mixed use developments and the purchase, sale and financing of residential and commercial property.
Partner and Deputy Chair of Real Estate, Ja’Ann M. Major, is a recommended attorney in the area of real estate and specializes in residential and commercial property acquisitions and sales and mortgages, immigration law, probate and estate matters, commercial law and maritime and shipping law.
Andre W. Hill, Senior Associate and Deputy Chair of the Government & Regulatory Affairs practice, is ranked as a rising star in corporate law and his practice centers on Finance, Banking and Commercial Law. He also represents clients in the shipping and aviation industries.
Deputy Chair of the Maritime & Aviation practice, Keith O. Major, Jr., is a Senior Associate in the litigation practice and ranked as a rising star in dispute resolution. He advises clients in matters relating to Aviation, Asset Recovery, Maritime and General Civil Litigation including Employment/Labour and Real Property Disputes.
Senior Litigation Associate, Rhyan Elliott, is a recommended attorney in dispute resolution and is praised by clients as ‘thorough, very responsive and one who meets deadlines.’ He practices extensively in civil and commercial litigation and arbitration with a focus on complex disputes with a cross-border element, including high-value asset recovery, insolvency and enforcement, financial services (including banking and regulation) and employment and property law.
Real Estate Associate, Renai B. Martin, is ranked as a rising star being noted as a ‘key name at the associate level.’ She is experienced in representing clients in residential and commercial property acquisitions and sales, domestic mortgages and private leases as well as advising on tax matters, obtaining regulatory approvals and assisting with all aspects of resort development.