MoFo bolsters real estate finance practice

Lawrence Ceriello has joined law firm Morrison Foerster (MoFo) as real estate partner, and will be responsible for representing and advising commercial lenders, investment banks, life insurers, hedge funds on real estate debt transactions .

Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) has appointed Lawrence Ceriello as real estate finance partner in a bid to bolster its team of real estate finance specialists focusing on originating loans backing commercial properties.

Ceriello was previously partner at Nixon Peabody, and joins the firm with 20 years experience in dealing with mezzanine debt transactions, workouts of distressed real estate, and equity investments, as well as the purchase, sale, restructuring and foreclosure of performing and non-performing commercial real estate loans, the firm said in a statement.

Ceriello will be responsible for representing and advising commercial lenders, investment banks, life insurers, hedge funds, and also acting for real estate credit investors, particularly those involving complex debt financing and securitisation. He will be based in New York, and will report to Mark Edelstein, chair of MoFo’s real estate finance and distressed real estate unit.

Edelstein describes the US lending market as “back up and running,” and believes the increase of liquidity in the marketplace will lead to an “uptick in CMBS origination as the recovery continues”.
The new hire comes “at an opportune time as the pace of recovery of the commercial real estate market continues to gather momentum,” explained Edelstein. 

MoFo has handled recent transactions including Union Bank in its acquisition of PB Capital Corporation’s institutional commercial real estate lending portfolio and platform valued at an excess of $3.7 billion. It was also involved in the sale of a major Irish bank’s $1.4 billion US loan portfolio to Wells Fargo in a deal consisting of 25 separate mortgage accounts.