The lawyers in our Charleston office, who have been recognized by Chambers USA, the Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News-Best Lawyers and South Carolina Super Lawyers, counsel and defend local, regional, national and multinational businesses in a wide range of practice areas, including: aviation/aviation finance, banking and finance, business litigation/commercial disputes, commercial real estate, construction, corporate governance, corporate/M&A, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy, customs/international trade, economic development/incentives, energy, environmental, immigration, insurance coverage, labor and employment, maritime, outsourcing, private equity, product liability, resort development, securities, tax, toxic tort and transportation. Our Charleston office was awarded six Tier 1 practice rankings by the 2017 U.S. News-Best Lawyers in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law, Banking and Finance Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Litigation - Banking & Finance and Real Estate Law.
Our multinational resort and hospitality practice focuses on resort, hotel, golf and real estate development and transactions in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America, along with emerging hospitality markets around the globe. Our capabilities include representing clients in structuring and documenting resort, urban and other planned and mixed-use communities; negotiating development agreements with governments and assisting governments in enacting pro-development legislation; preparing management agreements, franchise agreements and other documentation associated with the sale, acquisition, and financing of hotels, golf clubs, marinas, and other leisure projects; and representing clients in the financing, restructuring, and sale and purchase of such assets.
The labor and employment team handles all types of employment and labor disputes, including class and collective actions and multi-district litigation. The team represents local, regional, national and multinational companies in virtually every industry ranging from athletic equipment and aviation to banking, health care, manufacturing, telecommunications and textiles. The team also assists employers with reductions in force, trade secret and confidential information protection, executive training, sensitive terminations and employment agreements, and compliance with the myriad of state and federal employment laws and regulations.
Our litigation group handles all types of business and commercial disputes, including class actions and bet-the-company litigation. The team represents local, regional, national and multinational companies in virtually every industry. The team also handles environmental disputes, construction disputes, white-collar criminal defense matters, intellectual property disputes, insurance coverage disputes, antitrust disputes, securities disputes, maritime and trade-related disputes, health care disputes and appellate litigation. The team also handles government investigations and international arbitration. In addition, the team handles disputes concerning distribution and licensing agreements, and vehicle and equipment dealership disputes.
The environmental team works regularly with clients on compliance, enforcement and permitting matters, and also assists business owners and developers of projects with the acquisition, sale and redevelopment of contaminated property. The team also defends toxic tort cases and develops national defense strategies in such cases.
Our lawyers in the banking and tax group represent CMBS mortgage portfolio servicers, master servicers and borrowers in a variety of financing transactions, including defeasances, assumptions, workouts, restructurings and the origination of commercial mortgage loans. The team also has significant experience in transfers of business interests involving REMICs. Additionally, our team represents banks, investment funds and private equity firms in distressed asset stand alone and loan portfolio acquisitions, workouts and dispositions, in addition to advising on the tax aspects of such transactions.
Our corporate/M&A capabilities include: advising public and private companies on corporate governance and securities law; structuring and executing mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and licensing arrangements, including cross-border transactions; public and private debt and equity offerings; initial public offerings; assisting with recapitalizations; and experience coordinating and supervising multinational projects. Our team represents Fortune 500 companies as well as middle-market and emerging growth companies in a broad range of industries, including paper and packaging, agricultural and industrial biotechnology, manufacturing, technology, distribution, resort, hospitality and leisure, retail, transportation and logistics, health care and media. Our securities practice includes advising public companies on capital markets transactions and offerings, securities law compliance, reporting requirements and compliance with stock exchange rules. Our creditors’ rights and bankruptcy practitioners represent financial institutions and other creditors in commercial foreclosure collection, lender liability and bankruptcy proceedings.
Our maritime practitioners assist shipping and other maritime companies with maritime emergencies, such as oil and hazardous materials spills, vessel collisions and groundings, accidental injury and death and other maritime casualties. In addition, our maritime practitioners handle all forms of maritime-related litigation, and represent lenders and vessel owners with respect to ship mortgages and other maritime transactions.
Our economic development practice in Charleston has broad experience working with federal, state and local officials to identify and negotiate a full range of incentives, including well-known incentives typically available in various jurisdictions as well as exploring incentives that are not regularly offered by the jurisdiction and also is adept at discovering incentives that are not always evident. In South Carolina, K&L Gates is uniquely poised to play a role in the state’s success, particularly for South Carolina-based businesses that operate globally and foreign businesses that operate – or hope to operate – in the state. The firm can handle virtually any legal need these businesses may have, and our governmental and business contacts throughout the world make K&L Gates an ideal economic partner.
Our energy practice in the Charleston office encompasses the commercial, operational and legal landscapes of the global LNG and oil industries. Charleston lawyers advise clients on the sale, purchase and transportation of LNG, oil and other energy commodities throughout the world, including the negotiation and drafting of long-term and short-term sale and purchase agreements, LNG terminal agreements, LNG charter arrangements and trading contracts for various energy commodities. Our energy clients include oil and gas companies, energy trading companies and LNG terminal operators and developers.
Our international trade lawyers advise clients with respect to contracts for the international sale of goods, payment systems including trade letters of credit, customs compliance on inbound goods, compliance with export regulations and international carriage of goods. As the only international law firm in South Carolina, K&L Gates is well-positioned to advise and represent clients on all matters of international trade, whether they involve transactional or regulatory advice or representation in litigation or international arbitration. Our Charleston team works closely with international trade lawyers in our offices around the globe to provide our clients with trade-related advice regardless of international jurisdiction. We handle local litigation involving international trade, but can also team with our other offices to provide seamless representation before arbitration tribunals in any of the world’s major international commercial arbitration centers.
Our immigration lawyers lead businesses and individuals through the full range of temporary and permanent immigration solutions. We assist multinational companies with blanket L status, business immigration strategies, intra-company transfers, E1 and E2 registration and temporary assignments abroad. We process temporary visa petitions for hospitals, medical research organizations, academic institutions and private industry. Our lawyers advise investors, developers and regional centers on all aspects of EB5 program strategies for compliance, including complex broker-dealer issues, source of funds and regional center formation. We counsel clients on employment eligibility verification, E-Verify, IRCA, regulatory compliance, 1-9 audits and ICE worksite enforcement. Charleston lawyers assist start-up and foreign companies with the establishment of U.S. operations and recruitment of talent, working in tandem with our global labor, tax and corporate lawyers to help clients navigate the full spectrum of today’s immigration issues. Our skilled lawyers and legal assistants, utilizing sophisticated technology and systems, provide these services on a cost-effective and rapid-response basis.
Our aviation practice in Charleston is intrinsically involved with all aspects of the aviation industry and we take particular pride in our role as market leaders in structured aircraft leasing transactions. Our team’s dedicated aviation specialists work within our global platform allowing us to seamlessly handle complex multijurisdictional aircraft operations using structures that accommodate the modern demands of international aviation finance and leasing. Our diverse experience equips us to support our clients at any point in the life cycle of an aircraft. We regularly advise major international banks and leasing companies on aircraft finance matters involving air carriers in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, including financing acquisitions of commercial aircraft for operating lessors, finance lease transactions, leveraged lease transactions and cross-border operating transactions, among others.