Australia: Yes, Believe It or Not, (Some) Lawyers Really Do Have a Role to Play in Hotel Operator Selection
By Graeme Dickson
Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

If I had a dollar for every deal I was invited to act on after the Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the selected operator has been inked I would not have any financial need to pen this newsletter.

There are various reasons why a lawyer is considered superfluous to the process of negotiating the LOU.

It is said lawyers are not competent to provide meaningful advice on the fundamental commercial terms which form the bedrock of LOU negotiations. I accept that there are many, many lawyers who don't understand what's important to protect an owner in a hotel management agreement (HMA).

That said there are a small number of lawyers, including ourselves, who specialise in the negotiation of these agreements. We see what is important and what's not once the agreement goes live and we are asked to assist when a HMA goes pear shaped – and on occasion to an extent that borders on the catastrophic.

We have a team of highly experienced lawyers in the Australian offices that have been involved in thousands of negotiations over a period in excess of 30 years.

Based on this wealth of experience, we, immodestly, consider that we can add real value to the LOU negotiations.

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Graeme Dickson has the role of counsel in the Structured Real Estate group in Sydney and is global coordinator of the Firm's leading Hotels, Resorts & Tourism Practice Group. He is recommended by The Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, Chambers Asia Pacific, Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Doyle's Guide.

Graeme acts primarily for clients in the hotels, resorts, tourism and wider property industries. He has worked extensively on structured purchases and sales of hotel and resort properties, and on managed investment fundraisings which include all forms of public trusts, timeshare schemes, tax driven investment schemes and other similar investments. He has advised on hotel and resort management contracts — including non-disturbance agreements between owners, operators and lenders — and integrated resort developments in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Maldives, the Caribbean, Singapore, the United States, People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong), Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Eastern Europe.


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