International Real Estate and Finance
Wood & Lee represents investors, developers, owners, and operators on construction and real estate projects. We structure, negotiate and document purchases, sales, ventures and financings across the full spectrum of real estate products. Our lawyers’ experience ranges from urban office high-rise and mixed-use condominium projects to industrial and R&D developments. This includes residential projects, destination resort hotels, luxury time-share facilities and peer-to-peer property rental companies. These transactions vary from relatively simple single-asset deals to some of the most complex capital formation, real estate portfolio, and real estate mergers and acquisitions transactions in the industry.
We address the structural challenges of capital investment in contemporary real estate deals that demand far more than conventional asset transaction experience. We counsel clients through:
- the complexities of development joint ventures
- real estate operating companies,
- pooled investment funds,
- private placements and public offerings,
- ground lease financing,
- incentive-based strategic alliances,
- mortgage loans,
- mezzanine debt,
- hybrid debt-equity transactions,
- securitised assets,
- energy project finance
- and virtually every other variation on the theme of real estate investment
Our lawyers have particular experience dealing with the special challenges of the hospitality industry. Wood & Lee is also capable of dealing with investment activities of pension trusts and other public or private tax-exempt entities, as well as investment funds with offshore and tax-exempt investors and real estate investment trusts.
Acquisitions and Dispositions
Our lawyers have extensive experience in the management of large-scale and issue-intensive construction and real estate transactions globally. It also involves high-volume portfolio programs of acquisition or sale, single-transaction portfolio or operating company deals, and single-asset, structurally complex deals.
We handle ventures and operating company investments for all types of clients and deals. Scaling from large, single-asset projects to resort development properties, multi-property portfolios, energy projects, and residential land development deals. Our lawyers have wide-ranging expertise with the business, tax, and legal subtleties of “promote” or “incentive” structures in both single-asset and portfolio ventures. We also understand the importance of effective exit vehicles and the interplay between equity rights and management responsibilities.
Real Estate Financing
A core component of our practice is real estate finance broadly defined to embrace traditional real estate-secured commercial lending and mortgage-backed public debt financings. It also includes all manner of subordinated or mezzanine debt, letter of credit-supported and other credit-enhanced bond financings, major project financings, and a wide variety of contingent interest/equity “kicker” financings.
Hotels & Resorts
We represent companies in the hospitality industry, including operators, owners, investors, and lenders. Our balanced practice allows us to bring a unique perspective to the issues confronting each of the various actors in the industry. Our lawyers have documented the development and operation of the full range of project types – from high-rise urban hotels to luxury resort properties to serviced residential properties (both traditional “whole” ownership and fractional ownership) to peer-to-peer property rental companies. We address, where applicable, the complex issues of access to management of recreational facilities. Critically, it is not only the legal landscape that we understand but also the norms and customs of the industry and the state of the ever-evolving market.
Real Estate Fund Formation
Our fund formation work covers a wide range of industries but with Wood & Lee, our lawyers have particular experience in forming real estate funds. Funds are not one-size-fits-all. They have their respective conventions and sensitivities which must reflect the character of the underlying investments and the expectations of both fund sponsors and real estate investors. Our real estate, securities, tax, and employee retirement income lawyers work together to bring value to the fund structuring process and to address the legal and business issues facing sponsors and investors.
We represent clients in retail, office, and mixed-use leasing matters. We also handle both “stand-alone” transactions and in connection with large-scale leasing programs across the country.
Sale and Acquisition of Secured Loan Portfolio Transactions
We work with financial institutions and institutional investors in purchases and sales of secured loan portfolios and participating interests in portfolios. Loan-pool transactions now play a major role in the capital formation and deployment activities of many of our institutional clients, as these are important contributors to the efficiency of the real estate market generally. Our experienced lawyers can deal with the conventions and expectations of buyers and sellers, and the organisational challenges of these transactions.
Distressed Real Estate
We handle all manner and aspects of workouts—from space leases to secured loans, management contracts, and partnership relationships in distress. Our lawyers have particular experience in the representation of institutional clients in their acquisition, management, and liquidation of portfolios of distressed real property-secured loans.
International Condominiums, Stratas, HOAs and Co-ops
Wood & Lee lawyers represent developers, owners’ corporations, stratas, co-operatives and co-ownerships. Our lawyers provide advice concerning the following:
- Developers – bringing projects to market, assisting with the registration process, facilitating post-registration and turnover, and handle occupancy and final closings.
- Owners’ corporations, stratas, co-operatives, and co-ownerships regarding
- Participation in board meetings and owners meetings;
- Drafting of by-laws, rules, amendments to declarations, shared facilities agreements, alteration agreements, and other documentation;
- Advice on employment and labour matters, human rights matters, insurance claims, repairs, and maintenance;
- Collection of arrears of common expenses, liens, power of sale, tenant attornment, and rent; and
- Condominium litigation, mediation, and arbitration services for enforcement matters, construction deficiencies, and other declarant-related issues.
Wood & Lee’s Wood & Lee’s retail team defends its clients in all aspects of litigation and offers practical advice for how retailers can comply with the law while also meeting their business objectives. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the legal and business concerns affecting retailers. Additionally, we work with our clients’ management, marketing teams, finance teams and IT departments to develop tailored, creative solutions that do not interfere with business goals.
Our retail team constantly monitors issues that affect retailers. As a result, we are often the first to learn of significant developments in retail law and regularly notify our clients of such developments. We reach out to our clients and help them respond proactively so that they can protect themselves from emerging risks. Our lawyers regularly advise on retail-related issues.
Wood & Lee’s retail team regularly defend and advise retailers with:
- Business and commercial litigation
- Advertising compliance
- Cybersecurity and privacy
- Intellectual property
- Labour and employment
- Creditors’ rights
Additionally, our retail clients often ask us to:
- Review their practices for collecting customers’ information at the POS (point-of-sale) to make sure they are not vulnerable to privacy suits
- Evaluate their pricing practices to assess the risk of deceptive pricing litigation
- Assess whether they are categorising their employees appropriately to avoid costly wage and hour class actions.
Maritime, Aviation and Logistics
We represent vessel and aircraft, yacht, ship and logistics company owners, operators, charterers, Non Vessel Owning Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and their insurers. This covers all types of casualty work, including crew, collisions, groundings, charter party disputes, salvage and cargo claims. Furthermore, we also assist clients with vessel and aircraft finance, stowaways, employment actions, marine insurance issues, customs work, drafting of bills of lading and charter parties, and a variety of transactional work. Our lawyers have obtained security for clients through arrest and attachment of vessels, aircraft, cargo, bunkers, and funds.
Lawyers of Wood & Lee have extensive experience on:
- drafting charter parties and bills of lading for vessel and aircraft interests
- representing craft and engine manufacturers in design defect lawsuits
- defending claims for damage to various types of cargo, including food-grade cargoes and industrial equipment
- obtaining recovery for the total loss of a yacht
- representing vessel interests in a claim for damage caused by an allision of a vessel
- representing vessel interests in a claim for damage caused by surge from a passing vessell
- obtaining garnishments on behalf of a vessel owner for failure to pay freight
- providing 24/7 emergency response and investigation of marine casualties, including collisions and allisions, groundings, stowaways, vessel arrests, cargo damage and seizures, government detentions, and hull and machinery incidents
Supply Chain: Export Controls and Economic Sanctions
Import Regulation and Supply Chain Management
Wood & Lee helps companies conduct outbound and inbound trade and investment while effectively managing risk. This includes regulatory compliance and enforcement risks related to exports, imports, technology transfers and supply chain security. Our interdisciplinary teams provide legal services to companies that are subject to export and import laws.
Import Regulation and Supply Chain Management
Our lawyers provide the following integrated and multi-jurisdictional services to meet the needs of global companies.
Global Customs Compliance and Planning: Wood & Lee help companies design and implement global customs compliance programs. It is specifically tailored to the organisational needs of the companies and in light of the countries they are operating. In addition to strategic advisory services, we provide customs compliance training and draft customs compliance manuals to meet client needs.
Supply Chain Management and Optimisation: Our lawyers help clients improve oversight and controls over their international sourcing decisions, as well as their logistics and supply chain organisation. Drawing on our expertise in cost management strategies, customs regulations, and trade agreements, our lawyers have helped companies save millions of dollars. We achieve this by changing sourcing patterns, reducing customs duty exposure, and eliminating freight and other service provider costs.
Supply Chain Security and Risk Management: We help in effectively integrating supply chain security management into their overall business operations and participate in security programs. We also advise companies on supply chain security legislative and regulatory developments.
Import Compliance – Counselling, Auditing and Dispute Resolution: We advise clients on the full range of customs compliance matters, including merchandise classification, valuation, country of origin marking, and drawback and other duty savings opportunities. Our lawyers also counsel on customs issues that involve other governmental agencies, such as product safety issues, environmental issues, food issues, communications regulations issues, trade commission issues, trade representative issues, agricultural issues, commerce issues, energy and transportation issues. We represent clients in customs audits – including focused assessments and importer self-assessment programs – and in complex prior disclosures, penalty proceedings and litigation. We can interface directly with local customs officials on issues ranging from intellectual property rights seizures to negotiations over penalty matters.
Export Controls and Economic Sanctions
Wood & Lee help companies conduct outbound trade and investment while effectively managing regulatory compliance risks under export controls, defence trade controls, economic sanctions, and anti-boycott laws.
We counsel clients on a broad range of compliance, licensing, and enforcement issues arising under laws governing exports, reexports technology transfers, and related transactions. These regulatory frameworks include: exports and reexport controls that apply to commodities, software, hardware, and technology; defence trade controls that apply to exports, reexports, and temporary imports of defence articles and related technical data and defence services; trade embargoes and economic sanctions; and foreign boycott-related restrictions and reporting requirements outlined in anti-boycott laws.
Transaction-Specific Risk Assessment: We help companies assess compliance risks and determine regulatory requirements triggered by specific transactions and business relationships, including compliance with the applicable government licensing, reporting, export documentation, and record-keeping requirements.
Licensing: We assist companies in obtaining government licenses and other approvals such as licenses for exports/reexports of commodities, software, and technology, and technology transfers to foreign nationals (“deemed exports”); technical reviews for encryption products; approvals for exports/reexports and temporary imports of defence articles, technical data, and provision of defence services, including technical assistance and manufacturing agreements; licenses for commercial sales of certain medicines and medical devices to countries subject to trade embargoes.
Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions: Building on our broad compliance expertise, our lawyers routinely perform regulatory due diligence in the context of proposed mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and various types of cross-border strategic relationships. We help clients identify liability risks related to pre-acquisition transactions, devise contractual and other strategies to address such risks, and target specific compliance risks to ensure that future business operations fully comply with the applicable regulatory requirements. We also assist clients in identifying potential export controls issues and negotiating related security agreements.
Compliance Programs and Training: With growing emphasis on self-regulation and compliance expectations trended upwards, we help clients ensure that their internal controls effectively safeguard against violations and stay up to date. Capitalising on our lawyers’ expertise spanning all relevant regulatory frameworks, we assist clients in designing and implementing comprehensive internal compliance programs and assessing the efficacy of their existing internal controls. In doing so, we assist clients in drafting compliance manuals and codes of conduct and provide internal training to ensure compliance with the relevant regulatory requirements.
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