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Give Me Shelter: The Ethics of Out-of-State Lawyering

April 01, 2015

By: Gary Kaleita, Alex Dobrev & Adam Lewis

Many Florida real estate lawyers have no doubt dealt with out-of-state clients and attorneys that are involved in buying and selling real property located in Florida. Moreover, in the contemporary legal milieu, using out-of-state real property as collateral for a loan is an increasingly common practice. As such, real property located in Florida may be used as collateral for loans that otherwise may have little connection to the state of Florida. Given that Florida is a haven for real estate investment (e.g. condominiums, timeshare and seasonal homes), out-ofstate investors routinely buy and sell Florida real property, and their out-of-state attorneys often represent them in these transactions. Of course, whether via investing or estate planning, Florida attorneys also represent clients in transactions that involve out-of-state property.

Give Me Shelter: The Ethics of Out-of-State Lawyering


Alexander

Alex Dobrev is a shareholder and chairs the firm’s Multifamily & Condominium Group. He also serves as the vice-chair of the Condominium & Planned Development Committee of the Florida Bar, as well as its legislative chair.


Since the recession, Alex has focused a substantial portion of his practice on distressed properties acquisitions, operations and dispositions. In the context of “broken” or “fractured” condominium projects in particular, he often works with lenders, bulk investors, and receivers, in order to evaluate and implement exit strategies, including possible unwinding of the condominium regime, while identifying and minimizing potential successor developer liabilities and related risks.

In addition, Alex counsels clients regarding Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSA) compliance matters, including full and partial exemptions from the Act and overall offering structure.

Adam

Adam Lewis focuses his legal practice on real estate development, commercial litigation, finance and transactions, condominiums, commercial leasing, commercial lending, and title insurance.


Specifically, Adam is responsible for contract and lease negotiation and drafting, real estate acquisitions and dispositions, negotiation and structuring of credit facilities and review of title insurance matters. He represents clients in the acquisition, financing, development and disposition of retail centers, hotels, golf courses and other resort related developments, industrial properties, office buildings, restaurants, retirement communities, shopping centers and vacant land.

Gary

With more than 30 years of experience in real estate law, including over 20 years as a Board-certified expert in the field, Gary Kaleita has acquired the ability to navigate the complexities of sophisticated real estate deals with relative ease.


Gary has a wide variety of experience in real estate development, finance and transactions, condominiums, property owners’ associations, commercial leasing, commercial lending, and title insurance.

Gary enjoys a reputation for anticipating and avoiding problems, rather than merely reacting to them. He has years of experience handling purchases, sales and financings of commercial and residential projects, including office, industrial, retail, multi-family, single-family, condominium, resort, hotel and golf course properties. Gary has prepared and negotiated contracts for sale and purchase, performed due diligence investigations, and handled all aspects of closings, including issuance of title insurance and legal opinions. He has also performed tax free exchanges (both forward and reverse) under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, and has handled closings for housing revenue bond financing transactions with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and various local housing finance authorities.

In the area of real estate development, Gary has assisted developers in obtaining land use approvals, plat approvals and permits for various developments from a number of jurisdictions in Central Florida, including planned developments (PD’s) and Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s). He has drafted and negotiated complex land use documents, including development agreements, cost-sharing agreements, declarations of covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements. He also has experience in mall and shopping center developments, including outparcels, and has assisted developers with the selection, formation and operation of business entities, including commercial and residential property owners associations. He has extensive experience with the formation and operation of both commercial and residential condominiums as well.

In addition, Gary has established somewhat of a boutique practice by acting as local counsel to help out-of-state lenders, investors and law firms navigate the complexities of Florida real estate law. He is frequently engaged by large national and international law firms needing assistance on a variety of issues for their clients doing business in Florida. Gary regularly provides advice on Florida law and custom pertaining to purchase and sale contracts as well as loan documents, addresses local due diligence issues, answers questions involving titles, surveys and title insurance, and provides Florida legal opinions.

Not just another real estate lawyer, before pursuing his career in law Gary served as a U.S. Naval officer on active duty for 4 years in the Mediterranean Sea, first with a patrol gunboat squadron in Italy and then at a communications station in Greece. During this period he traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. He believes his military experience is the source of the practical approach he has developed to problem solving.

Gary also took the initiative, after a homeowner in his own neighborhood was mauled by a Florida black bear in 2013, of researching what his homeowners’ association could do to limit the likelihood of future attacks. In the process, he became an expert in the subject of “bear-wise” communities and drafted a policy that his own homeowners’ association adopted, thereby becoming the first residential community to be officially recognized as bear-wise by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). He has since written and spoken extensively on this subject, serves on the FWC’s Central Bear Management Unit Stakeholder Group, and has become a resource for FWC to educate other communities on the importance of bear-wise practices in areas of Florida containing black bear habitat.

Gary focuses on finding pragmatic solutions to complex problems, recognizing that clients want sensible and realistic advice in a timely manner so they can go about their business.

Chambers USA (2015)* reports that Gary has substantial experience acting as lender’s counsel and is acclaimed by market sources as an “extremely responsive, very practical and reasonable” practitioner.


*We make no guarantees or promises that the reader will realize the same or similar results

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