Clifford Chance Expands Leading Structured Finance Practice

Monday, December 1, 2014 - 14:36

Clifford Chance has recruited a team of five lawyers from Bingham McCutchen – led by partners Robert J. Gross and William Cejudo — to its Washington, D.C., office. The move brings additional expertise to the firm's U.S. structured finance and real estate finance practices while also expanding the capabilities of its office in the U.S. capital.

The new arrivals bring to 69 the numbers of Clifford Chance partners in the United States, with Robert Gross joining the Corporate practice and William Cejudo expanding the Tax, Pensions and Employment team. At their previous firm, the pair maintained one of the country's most active practices in the U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities market.

Added Americas Corporate Practice Area Leader David Brinton: "We believe that unfolding developments in the U.S. residential housing market are generating significant investment opportunities for the firm's clients. In the aftermath of the U.S. financial crisis, the residential securitization and finance industry has undergone major changes. There are few lawyers like Bob and Will who are on the cutting edge of that market. They have established themselves as among the top lawyers in the country working in this space, and their experience and knowledge will provide tremendous benefit to our clients."

Mr. Gross advises investment banks, hedge funds, issuers, sellers, purchasers, investors, servicers and monoline insurers on a wide array of structured and asset-based financings, including publicly registered and privately placed securitizations and re-securitizations, asset auctions, dispositions and warehouse financing, loan origination and acquisition platforms, distressed debt funds and joint venture vehicles, mortgage servicing right transactions and servicer advance facilities, and mergers and acquisitions of mortgage related assets and businesses. He also has experience in cross-border securitizations and emerging markets (such as Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, and Argentina) and in securitizing UK and Australian mortgage loans.

Mr. Cejudo's practice focuses primarily on the tax aspects of structured finance transactions, including distressed asset funds, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securitizations, asset-backed securitizations, debt re-packaging, catastrophe bonds, credit-default swaps and synthetic securitizations, and the taxation of investment vehicles including REMICs, REITs and offshore funds. He previously worked in the Financial Institutions and Products Division of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, where he focused on tax-exempt and taxable financings and other financial products.

Mr. Gross and Mr. Cejudo will be joined at Clifford Chance by three key individuals from Bingham McCutchen:

  • Counsel Robert Patrick Hagan has extensive experience in documenting public and private securitization transactions, including performing and nonperforming residential mortgage loans of varying credit quality, small-balance commercial mortgage loans, SBA guaranteed loan pool certificates, FHA insured mortgage loans, excess yield, automobile loans, dealer floorplan receivables, credit card receivables, the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans and resecuritizations of asset-backed securities (including net interest margin transactions).
  • Counsel Leah K. Willmore handles securitizations across a broad range of asset classes, including residential mortgage loans (prime, Alt-A, subprime, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit), auto loans and leases, commercial mortgage loans, student loans and resecuritizations of financial assets. She also negotiates and documents mortgage warehouse and gestation facilities and whole loan mortgage sale and servicing agreements, and has represented borrowers in a variety of facilities for nonperforming and re-performing mortgage loans.
  • Associate John J. Lust concentrates his practice in the areas of structured finance and securitization. He advises clients in a variety of public and private transactions, including both mortgage-backed and asset-backed receivables, as well as the purchase and sale of whole loan mortgages.