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Practice Groups Printable Version

 

Corporate, Commercial & Business Transactions

Hamel-Smith serves a large number of the leading local, regional and international companies that do business in Trinidad & Tobago. Our focus is on helping our clients to achieve their business objectives, by providing practical advice and effective solutions. We are proud of the key role that we play in helping new enterprises to grow and international companies to enter the Trinidad market. We have experience in advising on a wide range of commercial issues and in negotiating, structuring, and documenting all types of business transactions.

 

Our Corporate, Commercial & Business Transactions practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in our other Practice Groups who provide their specialized input on the cross-disciplinary issues that can arise in commercial transactions. In particular, where appropriate, we draw on the experience of Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to mitigate our clients’ legal and commercial risks, our Intellectual Property Practice Group to protect and maximise the value of our clients’ IP assets and on our Tax Practice Group to help structure transactions which are tax efficient.

 

Energy, Oil & Gas

Hamel-Smith’s Energy Practice Group is headed by a partner with more than twenty-five years experience in the Oil & Gas industry. We are proud to serve a large number of the leading companies engaged in upstream or downstream activities in Trinidad. We provide practical advice and solutions on core energy issues, including local petroleum, environment and tax laws and regulations, as well as on supporting corporate, commercial and tax matters.

 

Our Energy practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in our other Practice Groups. In particular, where appropriate, we draw on the experience of Hamel-Smith’s Tax Practice Group to provide tax efficient and practical solutions and on our Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to develop solutions which mitigate our clients’ legal and commercial risks.

 

Banking & Finance

Hamel-Smith’s Banking & Finance Practice Group is dedicated to meeting the needs of financial institutions and significant commercial borrowers. We negotiate, structure, and document all types of financing transactions, including project finance, securitisation and debt restructuring. Having been engaged in almost all of the major energy-based projects in Trinidad, Hamel-Smith has extensive experience in large project financings from both the lender and borrower perspective and we regularly work with leading international law firms to successfully close significant cross-border financing transactions.

 

Our Banking & Finance practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in our other Practice Groups who provide their specialized input on the cross-disciplinary issues that can arise in financing transactions. In particular, where appropriate, we draw on the experience of Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to help develop and implement strategies which mitigate our clients’ legal and commercial risks and on our Tax Practice Group to structure transactions which are tax efficient.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions

Hamel-Smith has significant experience in handling acquisitions and mergers, including those with a cross-border element. We have acted for acquirers as well as targets, including in regulated sectors as energy and telecommunications. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the legal and regulatory framework in Trinidad and Tobago and of the acquisition and merger structures and techniques that work most effectively and efficiently within this framework. We have also been able to add value by strategic tax structuring to achieve stamp duty efficiencies, and by advising on the structuring of share sale and joint venture agreements to procure compliance with restrictions against assignment of key contracts such as exploration and production licenses.

 

Our Mergers & Acquisitions practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s other Practice Groups who provide their specialized input on the many cross-disciplinary issues that arise in M&A transactions.

 

Tax

Hamel-Smith’s Tax Practice Group is headed by Trinidad & Tobago’s leading tax specialist. We focus on providing tax efficient and practical solutions to local, regional and international companies and advise on all aspects of Trinidad direct and indirect taxation including income tax, VAT and duties. We assist our clients in dealing and negotiating with the Board of Inland Revenue prior to and during any dispute process. Where resolution is not possible through negotiation, we handle tax litigation at all levels of the Trinidad judicial system from the Tax Appeal Board to the Privy Council.

 

Intellectual Property

Hamel-Smith’s Intellectual Property Practice is focused on helping local, regional and international business clients to protect and maximise the value of their IP assets. We obtain and maintain the registration of trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property. We advice and assist with licenses and assignments. We draft and review employment and consultancy contracts to ensure that issues such as ownership of intellectual property rights and confidentiality are covered. Drawing on the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group, we handle intellectual property disputes, including litigation, at all levels of the Trinidad judicial system.

 

By providing our clients with single-point access to our established network of Caribbean Attorneys, Hamel-Smith also offers a complete and coordinated service for the registration and maintenance of trademarks and patents in the other Caribbean jurisdictions.

 

Telecoms, IT and E-Commerce

Within the Trinidad & Tobago market Hamel-Smith has unique expertise and experience in helping companies to address the legal and regulatory issues which they face in the areas of telecommunications, e-commerce and the use of information technology. We advise both customers and suppliers in a wide range of technology transactions, including licensing, software development and systems procurement. We have been actively and heavily engaged in the on-going liberalisation of the Trinidad telecoms market, having represented the first, and to date only, new entrant in the mobile market. We have also provided advice to several companies, including financial institutions, in connection with a wide range of issues associated with conducting business in an on-line environment.

 

Through our participation in Lex Mundi, Hamel-Smith developed early awareness of the significance of the legal and regulatory issues associated with technology transactions, e-commerce, privacy and outsourcing, and our lawyers have had access to training and other resources to develop awareness and capabilities in both of these areas. A Hamel-Smith Partner served as the Chair of its Lex Mundi’s Technology Committee and is the current Vice-Chair of its E-Commerce Practice Group.

 

Our Telecoms, IT and E-Commerce Practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s other Practice Groups who provide their specialized input on the cross-disciplinary issues that can arise in these areas. In particular, where appropriate, we use the experience of our Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to mitigate our clients’ legal and commercial risks, our Intellectual Property Practice Group to protect and maximise the value of our clients’ IP assets and our Tax Practice Group to ensure tax efficiency.

 

Property & Real Estate

Hamel-Smith’s Property & Real Estate Practice is focused on helping local, regional and international companies to protect and maximise the value of their real estate assets. We negotiate, structure and document the funding, acquisition, development, leasing and disposal of commercial and residential property. We provide advice and representation in connection with all aspects of land use regulation and development approval.

 

Our Property and Real Estate practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s other Practice Groups who provide their specialized input on the cross-disciplinary issues that can arise in real estate transactions. In particular, where appropriate, we draw on the experience of Hamel-Smith’s Banking & Finance and Tax Practice Groups, as well as our Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to mitigate our clients’ legal and commercial risks.

 

Dispute & Risk Management, including Litigation

Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group comprises three Partners, one of whom is a Senior Counsel (Silk), and four Associates. It is the most-experienced and balanced team of litigation and dispute resolution professionals in any Trinidadian firm. We have the breadth and depth of experience to effectively handle even the most challenging and complex commercial disputes.

 

While many lawyers continue to resolve disputes primarily through litigation, or perhaps last-minute negotiations at the doors of the Court, we work with our clients to manage conflicts in a very different way. We strive to understand each client’s business and its objectives. We seek to get involved at an early stage of any potentially adverse situation. We collaborate with our clients to develop and implement strategies to avoid, manage and resolve their disputes in a cost-effective manner while mitigating legal and other risks. Where appropriate, we utilize negotiation and ADR to achieve our client’s objectives.

 

Where it is necessary or appropriate to litigate, we do so to win. Hamel-Smith lawyers represent our clients at every level of the Trinidad Court system. We also regularly appear before the Industrial Court.

 

Our Dispute Resolution & Risk Management Practice is complemented by the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s other Practice Groups who provide specialized input on the cross-disciplinary issues that arise in commercial disputes.

 

Employment & Industrial Relations

Hamel-Smith’s Employment & Industrial Relations Practice is focused on helping employers to manage their relationships with their employees in a strategic and effective manner. We draft and review employment related documents, including employment contracts and personnel policies and procedures. Drawing on the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group, we provide advice and representation in connection with unfair dismissal, redundancy, health and safety and trade disputes, including claims under the Industrial Relations Act and injunctions in the context of strikes or other industrial action. We also assist employers to obtain work permits for non-nationals.

 

Admiralty

Hamel-Smith’s Admiralty Practice is focused on providing practical advice and effective representation to ship-owners, P& I Clubs, insurers and mortgagees in connection with ship arrests, collisions, and other matters. To achieve our client’s objectives, we utilize negotiation and alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation. When appropriate, we also draw on the strength and expertise of the lawyers in Hamel-Smith’s Dispute & Risk Management Practice Group to handle admiralty litigation at all levels of the Trinidad judicial system.

 

 

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