Boston-based law firm Goodwin Procter LLP recently opened offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco - plucking eight partners from firms Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Cooley Godward and relocating two of its own. The firm plans to focus both offices on real estate and real estate capital markets, as well as complex litigation. Goodwin hired Lewis Feldman, formerly the Los Angeles real estate head and national public finance practice team leader for Pillsbury, to chair its new Los Angeles office. Two other real estate capital markets and public finance partners from Pillsbury will join Feldman in the L.A. office - Bruce Graham and Robert Haight - while former Pillsbury lawyer Tuan Pham will split his time between the L.A. and San Francisco offices. Paul Churchill, formerly head of Cooley's real estate practice, will now lead Goodwin's San Francisco real estate practice. Fellow Cooley attorney Mark Goldberg will join him, along with Forrest Hainline and Patrick Thompson, who both left Pillsbury.
Fitch Ratings has created a new U.S. commercial real estate CDO group to be led by Managing Director Jenny Story. "With CRE CDO issuance up over 100% in the first quarter of 2006, and the average deal size more than doubling, it is obvious that more investors are increasingly finding favor with CRE CDOs," said Jill Zelter, managing director in CDOs (see related story, p. 15). Story will report to both Zelter and CMBS Managing Director Susan Merrick. Other members of Fitch's U.S. CRE CDO group will include Senior Director Karen Trebach, who will be responsible for overseeing CRE CDO surveillance and asset manager ratings, as well as Directors Jimmy Lee and David Harrison, who will both focus on new issuance. The rating agency plans to transfer seven analysts who will be responsible for analyzing these deals, as well as seek new hires for the newly formed division.