Leading Structured Finance Lawyer Joins Akin Gump (Los Angeles)

Akin Gump announced today that Deborah Festa has joined the firm as a partner in its corporate practice, resident in Los Angeles. Ms. Festa joins the firm from Milbank, where she led that firm’s West Coast securitization and investment management practices.

Ms. Festa has an international practice, with extensive experience representing institutional investment managers and global investment firms in collateralized loan obligation (CLO) issuances and other complex finance transactions. She represents issuers, collateral managers and other market participants in securitizations, warehouse financing arrangements and follow-on refinancing and “reset” transactions in the U.S. and in Europe. In addition to advising clients on those transactions, Ms. Festa also advises clients in the direct lending and portfolio finance markets, including representing investment fund sponsors in obtaining financing for direct lending platforms and in deploying that financing to corporate borrowers in specialty finance and structured finance transactions.

“Deb’s practice sits at the nexus of two core strengths of our firm—investment management and private credit,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “Her deep experience with structured finance transactions, and particularly her CLO experience, will be tremendously beneficial to our clients. I am very pleased to welcome Deb to the firm.”

Added Dan Fisher, head of Akin Gump’s integrated special situations practice, “Deb’s exceptional skill set and market reputation in the CLO space, coupled with her broader experience in specialty finance offerings, will make her a wonderful asset to our clients and an excellent resource throughout the firm. Her practice complements our top-tier investment management, direct lending and financial restructuring practices. I’m thrilled to welcome her to the team.”

Commenting on her move to the firm, Ms. Festa stated, “Akin Gump is an ideal fit for my practice. The firm is renowned for its private credit work, both in the United States and through its team in London, and has extensive relationships across the investment management world globally. I am excited for this opportunity to broaden the firm’s offerings and put my skills, background and experience to work on behalf of the firm’s clients.”

Ms. Festa received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ms. Festa’s appointment follows the recent announcement that partner Clare Cottle, who advises on the finance aspects of cross-border and domestic financial restructurings, special situations funding and complex direct loans, will be joining the firm’s London office. (Click here to learn more.)