Allen & Overy taps new partner to build U.S CLO practice

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London-based Allen & Overy has named a long-time U.S. structured finance veteran as a partner to build out a global CLO practice inside the firm’s burgeoning New York finance practice.

Lawrence Berkovich will lead efforts to develop the U.S. side of its mature European collateralized loan obligation business. The shop plans to provide a role in guiding and structuring multi-national CLO transactions for both the U.K. and U.S. market.

Berkovich was named to the post after reportedly being one of six partners to depart the New York office of another London-based law firm, Ashurst, which reportedly has ceased its work in finance in the midst of a restructuring shakeup.

In his 20-year legal career, Berkovich has worked 15 years in advising for CLOs and other structured-product clients, including leveraged loan and commercial real estate (CRE) loan warehouse facilities. Berkovich will work in New York, after serving as Charlotte, N.C.-based partner for Ashurst, according to his Linked In profile. Berkovich previously was a partner for two years at Mayer Brown.

Allen & Overy plans on targeting international clients needing what the firm calls a “one-stop shop” for marketing or investing in global CLO deals that have to meet separate and distinctive U.S. and European regulatory standards.

“Larry’s reputation as one of the leading U.S. securitization and structured finance lawyers will enhance our position as a go-to advisor for both U.S. and cross-border transactions across all sectors,” John Hwang, the head of Allen & Overy’s U.S. securitization practice, said in a press release.

Berkovich’s CLO background involves broadly syndicated, middle-market and CRE CLOs, with duties involving guidance on unrated and rated deal structuring, refinancings, and risk-retention financing. His investment bank clients have ranged from underwriters and issuers of deals to investment managers in debt and equity notes purchases.

“This is another significant step in our commitment to grow our U.S. practice,” said Tim House, Allen & Overy’s U.S. senior partner, said in the same press release.

Berkovich’s background also includes derivative products such as credit default swaps, total return swaps, interest rate swaps and currency swaps. Prior to Mayer Brown, Berkovich also worked for Dechert and Cadwalader, Wicksham & Taft.

The hire carries on Allen & Overy’s ambitious moves to expand its finance practice. In July 2016, the firm hired five partners to lead its leveraged finance area. Senior leveraged finance partner Scott M. Zemser and partners Alan Rockwell and Judah Frogel were hired from White & Case; partner Rajani Gupta was recruited from Proskauer Rose while partner Todd Koretzky joined from Milbank, Tweek, Hadley & McCloy.

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