MIAMI-To meet the needs of the growing number of clients grappling with the slowdown in the real estate market, locally based law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP has launched a complex loan-workout practice group. The group will advise clients on loan workouts and modifications, restructurings, bankruptcy alternatives, reorganization, capital infusion and strategic and development alternatives for real estate in all stages of distress.

The group will be led by Lee Mackson, a partner in the firm’s Miami office. Mackson tells that the firm anticipates most activity stemming from the slowdown in the residential market, where oversupply of product is leading to loan defaults, bankruptcies and other problems. Some developers are experiencing problems because buyers walked away from deposits on high-end residential investments. “The developers have the deposits but they don’t have enough to pay off loans,” Mackson says. “We’re seeing the tip of the iceberg with this situation, but we anticipate that it will get worse.”

Shutts & Bowen has offices in six Florida locations as well as in London and Amsterdam. Other members of the new group will include partners Don Wasil, Peter Levitt and Bob Fracasso in Miami; Peter Shapiro in Fort Lauderdale; Art Menor in West Palm Beach; Rob Soriano in Tampa and Andrew Brumby and Michael Gore in Orlando.

“The collapse of the subprime mortgage market is creating a ripple effect on other sectors of the US economy,” Mackson says. “Foreclosure rates and mortgage-fraud claims are rising and excess liquidity in the capital markets has been keeping the borderline companies afloat. As these stresses mount, we anticipate that companies in a wide range of industries will be seeking our advice on restructuring loans, reorganizing business ventures and addressing complex contract disputes.”

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