Ropes & Gray, the global law firm better known for servicing the private equity sector, has hired its first private equity real estate-focused lawyer in Europe as it seeks to meet the needs of its existing client base.
The firm announced today it had hired ex-Clifford Chance lawyer Iain Morpeth as a partner to work on real estate-related transactions within its existing private equity practice.
According to the announcement, Morpeth, who spent almost 23 years with Clifford Chance before joining his more recent employer Oppenheimer Investments, brings with him experience advising on “private equity real estate joint ventures, acquisitions and disposals, projects, structured finance, public-private partnerships and private finance initiatives, workout and earn-out agreements and outsourcing”.
Maurice Allen, co-managing partner of the firm’s London office, underlined how the hire was instigated in response to the needs of the firm’s client base indicating they would become more active in the real estate space over the coming three to five years. He said: “Our funds, private equity and banking clients are looking at solutions for portfolios of real estate assets and Iain’s wide-ranging and specialized talents in this area are a huge asset for us.”
Among his previous endeavors, Morpeth advised Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing on its very first investment for its $4.7 billion Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) VII Global, a joint venture with NewRiver Retail, an AIM-listed company set up by Halladale founder David Lockhart, to invest approximately $400 million on secondary UK retail properties.
He also advised London-based private banking and equity real estate firm Evans Randall acquire a £550 million (€600.9 million; $780.5 million) distressed loan from Lloyds Banking Group on Bank of America’s head office building in London’s Canary Wharf, among other transactions.
Maurice Allen, co-managing partner of the firm’s London office, underlined how the hire was instigated in response to the firm’s client base indicating it would become more active in the real estate space over the coming three to five year period.
Ropes & Gray has a huge global presence with more than 1,000 lawyers and professionals worldwide, however it has been increasing its relatively smaller presence in Europe of late. Morpeth’s hire brings the firm’s London office total, as at January 2012, to 44, including 14 partners. The number of professionals at the firm focused on private equity real estate now stands at 37 including seven partners and counsel although these are based across the firm’s US offices.