O’Melveny hires senior Shearman real estate finance partner in New York

Shearman has lost two US partners this week as it gears up for landmark Allen & Overy merger vote

Malcolm Montgomery Image courtesy of O'Melveny & Myers

O’Melveny & Myers has become the latest firm to hire a partner out of Shearman & Sterling as Shearman gears up for a landmark merger with UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O). 

Malcolm Montgomery, who previously served as Shearman’s global head of real estate, is joining O’Melveny in New York, with news of his departure coming two days after Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton announced the hire of Washington DC-based antitrust partner Ryan Shores.

Shearman has lost a raft of partners from its international network in recent months against the background of  discontinued merger talks with Hogan Lovells and its subsequent deal to merge with A&O. The latest departures, however, are notable for having taken place from within Shearman’s domestic network.

Montgomery is rejoining O’Melveny’s partnership after 22 years at Shearman, where he spent five years as global head of real estate from 2017 and most recently served as co-head of the REIT group and co-head of the hospitality, leisure and gaming group. 

Montgomery’s practice spans domestic and cross-border investment and finance, and leveraged lending and bank finance for REITs and other real estate companies. He advises on workouts and restructurings of construction, permanent and mezzanine loans and credit facilities, and handles financings involving assets and currencies in multiple countries. At Shearman he worked with clients including Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Banamex and Shorenstein Properties.

“Malcolm is a terrific lawyer and perennially rated as one of the nation’s best real estate finance practitioners,” said O’Melveny chair Bradley J. Butwin. “Our clients will benefit immediately from his deep experience, and his lender-side real estate finance skills will integrate perfectly with our major bank relationships. We are delighted to welcome Malcolm back home to O’Melveny.”

Montgomery is the fourth lateral real estate partner to have joined O’Melveny since 2020, including the hire of Peter Breckheimer in Los Angeles last July from Glaser Weil. 

“This is a homecoming for me in every sense, and I couldn’t be more excited to rejoin the firm where I began my career 35 years ago,” said Montgomery. “O’Melveny has a world-class platform and an industry-leading reputation for providing top-notch client service. I’m thrilled to help expand the firm’s real estate team.”

The symmetry behind the move extends to the fact that O’Melveny was itself in protracted merger talks with A&O, which were ultimately called off in 2019. This did not dampen the UK firm’s appetite for a US deal with a partner vote to confirm its merger agreement with Shearman expected at some point in the summer.

Meanwhile, Akin announced today that it has hired A&O counsel Sam Guthrie, who is joining the firm’s Washington DC office as a tax partner with a focus on projects and energy transition matters. His departure comes hard on the heels of that of fellow DC transition tax expert Sam Kamyans, who joined Kirkland last month

Market reaction to the A&O Shearman deal has been largely positive, however commentators have predicted that some departures from both firms ahead of the tie-up are inevitable given factors such as overlapping practices and conflicts.

A Shearman & Sterling spokesperson said of Montgomery’s departure: “Our real estate team has a long and distinguished history of supporting clients in achieving their strategic goals, partnering with private and institutional investors, developers, owners, lenders and underwriters in real estate financings, leasings, acquisitions and sales. We have a strong track record advising on landmark transactions for premier national and international real estate investors, as well as developers and financial institutions. We thank Malcolm for the contribution he has made to the firm and wish him all the best for the future.”

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