Kirkland hires second London investment funds partner in as many days

Chicago giant raids Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner for real estate specialist as it eyes ‘huge uptick in activity’

Kirkland & Ellis has hired a second real estate-focused investment funds partner in London from a UK rival in as many days to tap into what it dubs ‘a huge uptick in activity within that asset class’.

Louise Cobbe is joining the Chicago giant’s London office from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), which is highly rated by Chambers and Partners for its UK-wide real estate investment fund work.

Kirkland has unveiled her move the day after announcing the hire of up-and-coming Ashurst partner Catherine Gokah, whose funds practice also focuses on real estate, as well as infrastructure and credit.

Both recruits were relatively new members of their respective former firms’ partner ranks, suggesting that Kirkland is successfully tempting away junior partners in established UK teams with the prospect of making their names in an area it is actively targeting for growth.

Gokah made partner at Ashurst in May last year while Cobbe joined BCLP’s partnership in January 2019, the first cohort to be made up following the merger between Bryan Cave and leading London real estate-focused firm Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Cobbe advises on the structuring, capital raising and ongoing operation of investment vehicles and funds, with a particular focus on real estate, including joint ventures, club deals and co-investments.

London-based investment funds partner Christopher Braunack said: “She will be an invaluable resource to our real estate fund sponsor clients at a time when we are seeing a huge uptick in activity within that asset class.”

In January the London funds team also added European secondaries market specialist partner Aleksander Bakic from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Kirkland’s European investment funds practice has more than 25 partners.

BCLP, meanwhile, has been working to bolster its real estate and finance practices, which it identified as key groups under the Project Advance strategy it unveiled in October 2020 following a review conducted with the help of management consultancy McKinsey. 

In June, it added a four-partner real estate and insolvency team in Frankfurt from DLA Piper, German growth also being a part of its strategy. 

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