Firm / Organisation

M. Hamel-Smith & Co.

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Managing Partner: Nicole Ferreira-Aaron
Department Head: Jonathan Walker
Number of partners: 14
Number of other lawyers: 5
Languages: English, Spanish, French

Firm Overview:
Established in 1909, Hamel-Smith is widely-recognised as a pioneer in Trinidad and Tobago’s business community and legal profession. As a member of Lex Mundi, Hamel-Smith works with member firms and other global law firms to provide innovative legal solutions to some of the world’s largest corporations in dispute resolution, as well as cross-border and domestic transactions. Hamel-Smith clients’ commercial objectives are paramount to the firm; it focuses on fashioning practical, business-oriented legal solutions to achieve them. Sensitive to clients needs for cost-certainty, the firm is prepared to agree fixed fees in advance, provide estimates for agreed phases of work or agree other flexible fee arrangements.

The firm’s transactional team has extensive experience representing clients in a variety of commercial transactions including business structuring, incorporation and on-going compliance, acquisitions, tax disputes, project structuring and financing, intellectual property, employment, capital markets and securities structuring and compliance. These corporate/commercial transactional clients operate in various industry sectors including upstream oil and gas, petrochemicals, banking, securities, aviation, manufacturing and distribution, among others. It also has significant dispute resolution expertise in, and understanding of, complex commercial matters; particularly in finance, corporate and shareholder disputes, and employment. The firm’s dispute and risk management team is known for taking practical approaches to matters, avoiding overly ‘legalistic’ ones and boasts a cadre of strategic thinkers who work closely with clients to develop and implement strategies to avoid, manage and resolve disputes cost-effectively, including using negotiation and ADR where appropriate to avoid protracted and costly litigation. The firm’s annual Doing Business in Trinidad and Tobago Guide, which is available on the firm’s website, has been hailed as the go-to resource for both local and foreign investors who carry on business in Trinidad and Tobago or with clients in country. The firm also has a highly valued labour and employment law practice and offers a coordinated intellectual property service for the regional registration and maintenance of trademarks and patents.

Main Areas of Practice:

Aviation:
1 partner, 1 associate
The firm advises on the regulatory framework for the ownership, registration and operation of aircraft in Trinidad and Tobago and assists lessors and secured parties in perfecting their security interests in aircraft operated in the country.
Contact: Nicole Ferreira-Aaron
Email: [email protected]

Banking & Finance (including Project Financing):
5 partners, 1 associate
The firm negotiates, structures and documents all types of financial transactions, and has extensive experience in large project financings from both the lender and borrower perspectives. Hamel-Smith has in-depth expertise in complex project financing in the country’s vital petrochemical sector, having participated in each such transaction concluded in Trinidad over the past 40 years. The firm is distinguished for its ability to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of in-house legal experts to advise on business structuring, land acquisition, construction, licensing and permission, environmental compliance, gas, electricity and water supply, off-take contracts, finance structuring, security creation and perfection and risk management.
Contacts: Glenn Hamel-Smith; Timothy Hamel-Smith; Luke Hamel-Smith; Melissa Inglefield
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Capital Markets & Securities:
5 partners, 1 associate
The firm has advised local and foreign arrangers in relation to capital market transactions throughout the Caribbean. The firm also advises on the registration of securities, mutual funds, IPOs and other collective investment schemes in the local market. Hamel-Smith’s keen understanding of the banking and securities laws and regulations and strong working relationship with the Central Bank and the SEC is invaluable.
Contacts: Glenn Hamel-Smith; Melissa Inglefield
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]

Mergers & Acquisitions:
5 partners, 1 associate
The firm has advised on numerous cross-border and local mergers and acquisitions, including public takeovers. Hamel-Smith adds value by identifying commercial advantages within the local legal framework and procuring compliance with restrictions against assignment of key contracts. The firm also advises on regulatory compliance and employment and industrial relations issues.
Contact: Nicole Ferreira-Aaron
Email: [email protected]

Property & Real Estate:
2 partners, 1 consultant
The firm negotiates, structures and documents the funding, acquisition, development, leasing and disposal of commercial and residential property; providing advice in connection with all aspects of land use, regulation and development approval.
Contacts: Melissa Inglefield; Candice Jones-Simmons
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]

Commercial & Business Transactions:
1 partner, 1 associate
The firm advises on the structuring and incorporation of businesses and their on-going compliance with company law. It also assists clients on key commercial and employment contracts, and partners with clients through the life of their businesses. Hamel-Smith helps clients achieve their business objectives through practical advice and effective solutions.
Contact: Debra Thompson
Email: [email protected]

Dispute & Risk Management (including Litigation):
6 partners, 2 associates
This practice group, which includes a senior counsel, is the most experienced and balanced team of litigation professionals in any local firm. Hamel-Smith collaborates with clients to implement strategies to avoid, manage and resolve disputes cost-effectively while mitigating risks. Where appropriate, the firm uses negotiation and ADR, and when it is necessary to litigate, the firm does so to succeed.
Contacts: Christopher Hamel-Smith; Jonathan Walker; Debra Thompson; Gregory Pantin; Catherine Ramnarine; Cherie Gopie
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Employment & Industrial Relations:
2 partners
Hamel-Smith helps employers strategically manage employee relationships and obtain work permits for non-nationals. The firm provides advice and representation in unfair dismissal, redundancy, health and safety, and trade disputes.
Contacts: Catherine Ramnarine; Gregory Pantin
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]

Energy, Oil & Gas:
3 partners, 1 associate
This practice group is headed by a partner with more than 30 years’ industry experience. Hamel-Smith provides solutions on core energy issues, including petroleum, environmental and commercial matters. The firm’s command of the legal and regulatory framework governing upstream and downstream operations as well as long standing relationships with key players in the industry and with key governmental agencies such as the Ministry of Energy and the National Gas Company are key advantages.
Contacts: Grantley Wiltshire; Jonathan Walker; Gregory Pantin
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Intellectual Property:
1 partner
The firm assists clients in the protection of intellectual property rights and brand protection. It provides IP portfolio management services, advises on licence and assignment agreements and handles opposition proceedings matters. It provides representation in infringement matters, anti-counterfeiting, passing off and intellectual property litigation. Hamel-Smith offers a coordinated service for the registration, maintenance and protection of trademarks and patents throughout the Caribbean region.
Contact: Fanta Punch
Email: [email protected]

Tax Litigation:
2 partners, 1 associate
Hamel-Smith negotiates with the Board of Inland Revenue and handles tax litigation at all levels of the judicial system.
Contacts: Jonathan Walker; Gregory Pantin
Emails: [email protected]; [email protected]