Christopher L. Bennett
Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
Vice Chair, Hospitality & Gaming
Chris Bennett on Helping International Clients
Chris Bennett, a member of Eckert Seamans' Hospitality Group and Washington, D.C., office, discusses why some European companies are surprised to discover the complexity of doing business in the USA, which requires compliance at the federal, state, and local levels.WATCH VIDEO
Chris Bennett is a general corporate attorney with a significant focus on the hospitality and gaming industries.
Chris has assisted U.S. and non-U.S. public and private companies do business globally; including expansion of those companies overseas and into the U.S. Chris’ legal support has included real estate investment, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, contract negotiations and general corporate structuring and operational matters. Chris has also assisted small and medium sized U.S. companies on corporate and operational legal matters, and mergers and acquisitions.
Within the hospitality industry, Chris represents global and U.S.-focused hospitality brands, management companies, and hotel and resort owners and developers with real estate acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, management agreements, franchise agreements, licensing agreements, lender agreements, financing matters, leases, transactional due diligence, hotel-level contracts, and operational legal matters.
Chris has completed transactions in more than 30 countries throughout 6 continents.
Prior to joining the firm, Chris served a 16-year tenure at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., then manager of more than 450 hotels across North America, Europe, and Asia. Chris was chief administrative officer and general counsel of Interstate, overseeing all legal, human resources, international and public relations affairs of the global hotel management company including:
- Three public company mergers;
- More than 10 private mergers and acquisitions;
- $2 billion in public and private debt and equity issuances; senior credit facilities, subordinated term debt, securitized financings, and mortgage loans;
- A New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) IPO, a successful challenge to a NYSE delisting process, and a take-private transaction off the NYSE;
- More than $1.5 billion of hotel real estate acquisitions;
- More than 30 U.S. and foreign joint ventures;
- Corporate compliance including FCPA and UK Bribery Act;
- Corporate governance and ethics;
- More than 800 hotel management agreements and franchise agreements; and
- All human resources efforts for its 33,000 global associates.
Chris is also a certified public accountant.
- Virginia Bar Association
- Georgetown Law Hotel and Lodging Legal Summit Board
- Virginia Tech Feiertag Hospitality and Tourism Management Board
- Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption
News and Insights
- “Should Your Lawyer Do More Than Law,” Forefront Magazine, January/February 2014.
- “Options for a Legal Career in the Hotel and Lodging Legal Industry”, moderating the panel at the Georgetown Law Hotel & Lodging Legal Summit, October 2019.
- “How to Form a Hotel Management Company,” presented at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, April 2016.
- Georgetown Law Conference – General Counsel’s Panel – November 2014