McDermott boosts London real estate practice with double Fried Frank hire

Arrival of Darren Rogers and Devina Rana will establish ‘more visible and cohesive offering in London and across Europe’
Photo montage of Darren Rogers and Devina Rana

Darren Rogers and Devina Rana

McDermott Will & Emery has hired a partner and a counsel from Fried Frank in London as it builds out further real estate capability. 

Moving across to the Chicago-based firm are Fried Frank’s former head of European real estate, Darren Rogers, and colleague Devina Rana, who was a counsel at Fried Frank but is joining as a partner.

Welcoming the new arrivals, Harris Siskind, McDermott’s global head of transactions, said: “Growing our real estate practice in London has been a long-standing goal for us.” 

Rogers joined Fried Frank in 2017 from Ashurst, a year after he exited the London office of King & Wood Mallesons having made partner at legacy firm SJ Berwin in 2010.

He has a successful track record advising a broad range of clients on a full spectrum of real estate transactions, with a focus on equity-related investment matters.

His achievements include high-value real estate capital market transactions, major London leasing joint ventures, and mixed-use development projects. His clients include real estate firms, investment managers, and international real estate sovereign wealth and private equity investors. 

Rana has a background in advising institutional investors, developers, retail tenants and large corporate landlords on complex real estate matters in the corporate and commercial real estate sectors. 

She has extensive experience in handling high-value investment transactions for UK, US and global clients, as well as real estate finance representing lenders and borrowers. She leaves Fried Frank after nearly seven years, having spent a decade at Ashurst beforehand. 

The arrival of Rogers and Rana is a significant step in enhancing McDermott’s global real estate practice, noted Jens Ortmanns, global head of real estate, who has just stood down as German managing partner to focus on the firm’s real estate practice. He said the duo would establish “a more visible and cohesive offering in London and across Europe”.

Praising his new firm’s “entrepreneurial drive and emphasis on expansion in London”, Rogers said McDermott’s global property sector team would offer him the opportunity “to establish a strong and sustainable real estate practice” both in London and internationally. 

Aymen Mahmoud, McDermott’s London office managing partner, said: “These appointments are yet another example of our cross-border growth strategy and reflect what our clients are asking for.”

According to data supplied by Pirical, McDermott’s London office is its largest international base, its partner count having grown by 39% to 31 in the last three years to the end of May.

Recent additions to the London team include that of veteran private equity dealmaker Graham White, who joined as the office’s senior partner in March, and private equity partner Fatema Orjela, who joined from Sidley Austin in April

Also destined for the firm are leveraged finance duo Christopher Kandel and John Burge, who GLP understands are moving across from Morrison & Foerster

Fried Frank’s London office, meanwhile, has also been in growth mode, according to Pirical, its partner count having increased by 43% to 30 over the last three years to the end of May.

Recent lateral hires include those of private equity trio Christian Iwasko, Michelle Tong and Priya Rupal, who joined from Goodwin in March. In January, Cameron Mitcham joined the firm as a finance partner from Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, following Chris Barron, who joined from Dickson Minto in 2023. 

Three Fried Frank London partners were elected in February 2024: Aseet Dalvi, in capital markets, and Nathan McKinnon and Zac Mellor-Clark, both in asset management.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]