China is a significant part of the Firm’s international practice. The Firm’s China Practice Group represents U.S. companies with operations and activities in China, as well as Chinese enterprises that are listed or do business in the U.S. Our China Practice has experience in a wide range of China-related matters, and we assist these businesses with strategic growth options, such as private equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings. We have frequent and regular involvement in China-related transactions, including Reverse Mergers, Alternative Public Offerings, Private Placements, PIPEs, SPACs, IPOs, and Going Private Transactions. We also have extensive connections to the investment banks, hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital that are actively engaged in transactions related to China. We are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and we are able to prepare documentation in these languages and liaise with local PRC counsels to address related issues and concerns. Our attorneys regularly visit all regions of China.
SPACs are an alternative to the traditional IPO route of going public. They are “special purpose acquisition companies” that are designed to take companies public through a merger or acquisition. The SPAC is a newly formed shell company with no business or assets other than the funds raised during the formation and public offering process. The sponsors of the SPAC are financial and business professionals that identify a merger candidate and negotiate the terms of the acquisition agreement. After approval by the SPAC’s investors, the target merges into the SPAC and thereafter continues as a public company.
Our attorneys and clients have in-depth experience forming, financing and representing SPACs and their sponsors and underwriters. Our M&A specialists represent SPACs in the acquisition process including the drafting and filing of a proxy statement and all associated corporate and securities documentation. We also represent merger candidates and act as general corporate and securities counsel after the acquisition.
Becker is committed to providing our clients with the practical, innovative and elegant legal solutions to keep their businesses moving forward. Whether facing the unforeseen challenges of a global pandemic or making the most of a bull market, Becker always implements a multi-disciplinary approach to offer our clients a fully informed perspective on a variety of complex real estate financing and leasing issues.
As COVID-19 continues to negatively affect the world’s economic health with a particularly damaging impact on the commercial real estate industry, we believe a dedicated task force is necessary to fully support our clients facing real estate loan- and lease-related difficulties. Becker’s Commercial Lease and Loan Restructuring Task Force is comprised of attorneys from our Real Estate, Financial Services, Corporate, and Litigation practices who are well-versed in all aspects of lease and loan workouts, including:
- Loan restructuring guidance. Advising borrowers and lenders on best practices for commercial real estate loan restructuring, including forbearance agreements, waivers, and other modifications.
- Lease negotiations. Assessment of leases and guarantees, facilitating negotiations between landlords and tenants to develop mutually beneficial solutions and resultant documentation, including those relevant to the COVID pandemic.
- Lease creation. Drafting and negotiating new leases designed to address post-pandemic health and safety requirements and force majeure provisions.
- Litigation. Providing seasoned representation for all lease and loan-related litigation, including litigation concerning force majeure and business interruption provisions and foreclosure actions.
- Liability assessment. Developing strategies to minimize risks for borrowers, tenants, and guarantors.
- Bankruptcy counsel. Helping borrowers, landlords and/or tenants evaluate the impact of bankruptcy and advising clients during insolvency proceedings.
The legal and regulatory framework of the accounting profession is continuously evolving, a trend that has led to an increase in liability exposure for both accountants and accounting firms. Given this, our team provides comprehensive legal counsel to assist accounting professionals in mitigating their risk and defending those that face liability claims.
Attorneys have successfully represented accountants and accounting firms in matters including:
- Professional liability/malpractice claims
- Disciplinary and enforcement actions brought by the SEC, state licensing authorities
- Risk management
- Partnership agreements
- Matters pertaining to partners leaving their firms
- Licensing and compliance
Having multidisciplinary backgrounds in accounting and the law, our Professional Liability attorneys have the fluency to communicate technical accounting and auditing principles to judges and juries as well as translate the law to their clients. Attorneys are industry thought leaders, having held leadership positions on regulatory boards such as the Florida Board of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPA’s Auditing Standards Board.
Becker grew out of its pioneering role creating the law pertaining to the operation of common ownership housing. Many of the leading cases in the field bear the firm’s name. Our attorneys are recognized as individual leaders in the field through published works, public service, legislative activities, and industry group leadership positions. Several attorneys are members of the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). In Florida, Becker has the largest, dedicated team of Board Certified attorneys in Condominium and Planned Development Law among any firm in the state.
The attorneys in the Community Association Law Practice Group cover the entire spectrum of legal counseling of condominium, cooperative, time shares and homeowners’ associations. In addition, the practice group provides counseling to country clubs, master associations and owners’ ad hoc committees. Each attorney plays an integral part in their client’s professional team – assisting the Board and management prepare for and conduct meetings, answering questions about documents and the pertinent law, enforcing the covenants and restrictions, and drafting and negotiating contracts for the provision of services.
Each client is assigned a Community Association attorney who is primarily responsible for providing legal counsel to the officers and directors, as well as the manager, on the operation of the association. The association’s attorney also serves as a liaison between the client and other attorneys in the firm to ensure that all the association’s legal needs are being met by attorneys who practice exclusively in those specialized areas.
Among the types of services routinely provided to community association clients are the following:
- Legal counsel in the application of state and local law and court rulings and administrative decisions impacting the operation of Community Associations.
- Compliance with applicable Federal laws, such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Fair Housing laws, and the Employment Discrimination laws, as well as similar state and local statutes and ordinances.
- Interpretation, amendment, and enforcement of the governing documents — Declaration of Condominium, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, the Articles of Incorporation, the Bylaws of the Association and the rules and regulations.
- Answering day-to-day questions regarding operational, technical, regulatory, and practical issues.
- Advising on hurricane preparation, protection and counsel on recovery and rebuilding efforts.
- Assisting the Board of Directors on fiscal matters such as budgeting, levying special assessments, and establishing reserves.
- Addressing maintenance and repair issues and distinguishing between those projects which require Board approval and those which require unit owner approval.
- Drafting and reviewing contracts for the management, maintenance, repair and operation of the community.
- Assisting in planning and developing contracts for construction projects and complying with construction lien laws.
- The collection of delinquent assessments.
- Counseling owners’ ad-hoc committees in the pre-transition phase of the Community’s evolution.
- Providing legal counsel for post-transition, unit owner-controlled associations on developer issues, including the resolution of warranty, accounting and representation claims, and the establishment of on-going operational controls.
- Reviewing loan documents and structuring commercial lines of credit and/or arranging sources of financing for recreation lease purchases, capital improvements, etc.
Our team values innovation. Our development of MyCommunitySite.com, a website service for community associations and an important tool for disseminating information to members, is the perfect example of our commitment to bringing innovative products to market on behalf of our community association clients and friends. This tool is very useful to those in the community association space, as is our proprietary online voting software, BeckerBALLOT.com, which was formerly known as BPBallot.com. This e-voting software is used throughout Florida to facilitate and increase member participation in association votes.
Commitment to Communication
The firm publishes a newsletter, Community Update, containing articles on developments in Community Association law, notes on significant case decisions, helpful tips on the business aspect of Association operations, and details on changes in legislation and administrative decisions. Additionally, the firm sponsors many free educational seminars throughout the State on various topics related to the management and operation of community associations.
The Florida Condominium & HOA Law Blog
Find insightful analysis of current issues on our blog. The vast combined knowledge of the firm’s community association attorneys is shared with you to keep you and your community informed. Log on and subscribe to receive updates as they happen. Click here www.floridacondohoalawblog.com.
CALL — The Community Association Leadership Lobby
CALL is a statewide advocacy group which represents the interests of our over 4,000 community association clients. CALL provides information, education and other tools through the CALL website (www.callbp.com) and email alerts to keep its members up to date on issues and legislation that impact them and their communities. Through the Legislator Connect tool on the website, a CALL member can contact all 160 members of the Florida Legislature to convey his or her opinion on a particular bill with just the click of a button. CALL has established a strong reputation with legislators and public opinion leaders as a credible voice for the ever increasing number of Floridians living in common ownership housing. The website is accessible by each community association by using its assigned firm matter number as the password to log on to the site.
The website provides:
- the name and contact information for the community’s State Representative and State Senator;
- useful links to important information such as House and Senate websites, Becker’s disaster recovery site, and governmental agencies such as FEMA;
- categorizes the legislative bills based on subject matter and the type of common interest ownership community;
- provides press coverage from around the State concerning common interest ownership issues and much more.
Related Statutes and Administrative Codes
Our entire Morristown team is specifically tailored to meet the needs of our community association clients. From the nearly 70 years of combined experience and thought leadership of our NJ practice group leaders to our robust litigation practice and collection group, our interdisciplinary team of professionals is dedicated to delivering high touch service to our clients.
We understand that the retention of a law firm is a challenging task and that prospective clients not only value quality representation but also, availability, efficiency, responsiveness and transparency.
This is especially true in community associations where you, the members of the Board, volunteer your time and effort for the betterment of your respective communities. Thus, we have developed an interdisciplinary team that will not only meet your general counsel needs, but address transition-related issues including complex construction defect litigation, provide general litigation support, and assist you with the collection of delinquent accounts.
Our approach to the law is dynamic: our professionals are innovating in the field, by participating on state and national legislative action committees, including participation with the chief sponsor of the “Radburn Election Law” – one of the most important pieces of legislation impacting community associations in the past two decades. It is this holistic approach to servicing our clients that differentiates us from our peers.
BeckerNorth: New York & New Jersey is powered by Becker & Poliakoff, LLP, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast. Founded in 1973, our attorneys have always been pioneers, boldly breaking new ground and taking unconventional approaches to tough legal challenges. View More.
New Jersey Condo Blog View Becker’s New Jersey Condo Blog to get the latest in news, commentary and insight on NJ’s always changing world of community associations. Learn and participate in the latest about governance issues and construction litigation. View More.
Having your community’s name associated with a certain quality of lifestyle goes a long way towards promoting your real property values and keeping you competitive in the real estate marketplace. Trademarking your community’s name (and logo) can also serve two important functions: (a) you can prevent bad actors from using your community’s name and/or logo to create confusion or mischief online and in print and (b) you can license your community’s trademark to valued local businesses and entities as a means to supplement your association’s revenues.
Your community’s brand and how you are perceived in the marketplace is essential. Many developers rely upon name recognition and a stylish logo to attract attention from potential buyers – spending considerable effort and money to build a certain mystique around the community’s name and look. But, they often overlook the critical need to protect that name and logo by registering a trademark. There is no reason, however, that your board cannot take this crucial step. Registering your community’s name and logo as trademarks in Florida protects you against local businesses and neighboring communities trading on your good name. Owning your name and logo also allows the board to prevent anyone intent on setting up a shadow website or other online presence as a way to harass or harm the association.
If your community association has taken the time to thoughtfully create a memorable brand, it only makes sense to protect that investment. If you’ve never thought about the need to brand and protect your community’s name, perhaps now is the time to consider doing so. Our team will guide you through the process of registering your association’s name and logo, and can also design a logo for you in the event your association doesn’t already have one.
Becker attorneys offer a unique approach to this practice area, providing clients with access to legal know-how and experience in understanding how government impacts the child care industry. In addition, Becker has significant experience in other complimentary practice areas such as corporate, real estate, employment, and general business litigation to assist our clients.
Clients benefit from a team of experienced and highly successful attorneys with a proven track record in challenging health and safety violations. Becker understands the financial implications that a health and safety violation can have when carrying the state’s Gold Seal designation, contracting for school readiness, or voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) services. We stand ready to assist you.
As a client, you receive the following benefits:
- Consultation for any pending or anticipated violations
- Risk management tips on how to avoid violations
- Thought leadership on child care best practices
- Courses for in-service hours on health and safety standards
- Updates on pending legislation that could impact your business
- Monitoring and updates on pending rules that impact your business
- Lobbying services in Tallahassee as directed by the Child Care Practice Group Advisory Council
- Potential discounts on hourly rates when challenging health and safety violations or other legal matters that impact your business
Ellyn Bogdanoff and Mark Stempler serve as co-leaders of Becker’s Early Learning Advisory Services Practice. With over 30 years of experience in the education field, Ellyn first served as a political activist, state representative, state senator, and lobbyist, and then as the executive director, general counsel, and lead lobbyist for a statewide association of child care centers. Her experience is unparalleled and she brings a wealth of knowledge in a complex field that must navigate numerous laws and rules of various government agencies and jurisdictions.
As a seasoned litigator, Mark has an impressive track record when challenging government agencies. Not only has he won multimillion dollar awards for his large corporate clients, he has also successfully challenged numerous health and safety violations for the owners of child care centers throughout Florida.
Representing some of the nation’s largest and most respected title insurance companies, Becker is adept at efficiently and effectively resolving our client’s most complex title disputes.
Becker attorneys defend title insurance companies, their agents, and their insureds in all aspects of title claim issues including mortgage fraud, lien and mortgage priority disputes, bad faith claims, bankruptcy proceedings, and title agent due diligence. Additionally, attorneys routinely counsel clients on matters involving the interpretation of insurance policies and various other coverage issues.
Our Title Insurance Defense practice is complimented by our diverse team of real estate transactional, financial services, and litigation attorneys, as well as by the firm’s affiliated title company, Association Title Services (ATS).
Attuned to the intricacies of the financial industry and the numerous legal risks lenders face, our team is deeply experienced in structuring highly-complex transactions and defending the rights of our financial services clients in state and federal courts.
Representing some of the most respected financial institutions globally, our attorneys handle a diverse array of transactions including in such areas as secured lending, asset based lending, commercial finance, debt restructuring, sales and lease transactions, negotiable instruments, letters of credit, documents of title, and real estate secured transactions.
In addition, Becker defends clients in disputes ranging from loan workout, receivership, and lender liability actions to restructurings, mortgage insurance disputes, and regulatory enforcement actions.
Well-known as thought leaders in the financial services industry, attorneys serve in leadership positions and are frequently called upon to speak to industry trade groups and legal organizations such as the Association of Commercial Finance Attorneys, Secured Finance Network, New York Institute of Credit, Turnaround Management Association, and the Risk Management Association, among others.
- Representation of lender in an approximately $20 million asset based loan to a supplier of complex metal components and products serving the aerospace, power, and general industrial markets. Led the negotiation of a sale of several subsidiaries of the borrower and coordination of a stock purchase where the purchase price was allocated to pay down the asset based loan in part and also toward several negotiated expenses relating to the sale.
- Representation of lender in a $17 million asset based loan and $6 million industrial development bond mortgage loan to a manufacturer of food service equipment and supplies. Led negotiations involved retiring of industrial development facility, restructure of asset based loan and cross collateralization with real estate loan.
- Representation of lender in a $13 million asset based loan to a public company and leader in the beverage category. Led negotiations with multiple warehouses involving warehouse liens and intercreditor agreements with private hedge fund which had advanced $17 million in mezzanine debt.
- Representation of major commercial bank in a multimillion defaulted loan where borrower was a tenant of a large complex which itself was undergoing a restructure and where the owner/landlord needed tenant’s obligation to be resolved satisfactorily in order to induce its lender to restructure its loan.
- Representation of finance company as lender in an ongoing asset based facility, amended ten times to a construction material provider. The tenth amendment involved negotiations with a public company guarantor for its acquisition of privately-held subsidiary which had previously advanced funds to the borrower.