(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell, Paul Hastings partners Conor Downey and Jennie Dorsaint, awards judge Sandie Okoro
Finalists: CMS, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Wikborg Rein and Osler, Hogan Lovells (highly commended), PwC Legal, Stephenson Harwood, Sullivan & Cromwell
Paul Hastings took the honours in this category for its work advising Morgan Stanley on a Chapter 11-exempt £250m repo financing facility for a European commercial real estate debt fund.
In its award submission, the firm said this was the first time a New York law-governed repo transaction, exempt from US Chapter 11 proceedings, had been used to finance European law-governed loans.
The Paul Hastings team, led by London real estate finance partner Conor Downey, developed the structure, drafted the documents and successfully adapted and translated existing US repo documentation and technology into English and European law.
The firm has since worked with local counsel in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany on financings of loans secured on real estate in these jurisdictions under the repo, and is also working on repo financings for startup loan funds – a development that points to better times ahead for the post-crunch real estate finance markets in Europe.
“I liked the adaptation of US law into English and European law,” said one judge. “It was very innovative and it is now being replicated with other clients and insurance companies.”