Kirkland & Ellis hires investment funds partner from Ashurst in London

Chicago giant adds to burgeoning European team to target infrastructure and real estate funds work

Kirkland & Ellis has hired funds expert Catherine Gokah from Ashurst to bolster its market-leading European investment funds group.

Gokah joins as a partner in the firm’s London office, where her practice will focus on advising fund sponsors on fundraising activities across a range of alternative asset classes, including infrastructure, real estate and credit, as well as co-investment programmes and liquidity solutions transactions.

She is the second funds partner to join Kirkland in London this year, following its hire in January of European secondaries market specialist Aleksander Bakic from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Christopher Braunack, a London-based investment funds partner, said: “[Gokah] will bring significant additional senior resource to our European and global fundraising practice, in particular as it relates to both infrastructure and real estate funds, at a time when those asset classes are becoming more attractive to institutional investors in light of prevailing macro-economic conditions.”

Gokah arrives after more than four years at Ashurst, having joined in early 2018 and becoming a partner in May last year. She started her career in private practice at Simmons & Simmons before moving to Covington & Burling, having also worked in-house at large international banks.

Highlight deals while at Ashurst included being part of the team led by Nick Goddard that advised on last August's interim closing of the Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners Fund, a sustainability-led fund.

Kirkland’s European investment funds practice has more than 25 partners and advises some of the region’s largest investment fund sponsors.

An Ashurst spokesperson said: "We thank Catherine for the contribution she has made to our highly regarded London investment funds practice and we wish her well for this next stage in her career.

"Our global investment funds team will continue its very strong growth of recent years to meet robust client demand."

Other US firms have been seeking to step up their European coverage in recent weeks. Earlier this month, top 50 US firm Milbank hired a team of equity capital markets lawyers from Clifford Chance in Frankfurt to bolster its German capital markets practice. The team is led by partner Philipp Klöckner, alongside special counsel Nico Feuerstein and associate Mira Zimmermann.

Also this month, Latham & Watkins hired real estate partner Carsten Loll from Linklaters to strengthen its German real estate practice. Loll will split his time between the firm’s Frankfurt and Munich offices.

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