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A&O turns the tables on Latham with structured finance partner Oddy’s hire

Reversing the flow of partners from the Magic Circle to US firms, Allen & Overy has made a rare lateral hire in London and recruited structured finance lawyer Lucy Oddy from Latham & Watkins.

Oddy will join A&O’s real estate finance group at a time when the City’s property market has rallied to create buoyant demand for finance and a resurgence in property capital markets work. Oddy leaves the world’s largest law firm after just 18 months, having joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) as the US firm went on a hiring spree in the City

A structured finance specialist, Oddy advises on a broad range of structured finance and securitisation transactions, with a particular focus on the real estate sector, including both Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) and Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities.

Christian Lambie, a structured finance partner at A&O, said: ‘Structured real estate finance is an area of focus for us, and the CMBS market in particular is showing promising levels of activity with European issuance this year to date at €2.8bn and up on last year’s volumes, according to data from Thomson Reuters. What’s more, rising interest rates will mean that market participants require more structured solutions to achieve their business objectives. Lucy brings expertise to our team which will help us meet client demand in this area.’

Her arrival at Latham last year, along with that of funds partner Nick Benson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges and private equity partner Kem Ihenacho from Clifford Chance (CC), came as part of a push into the European leveraged buyout (LBO) and banking markets. All three were CC alumni, with the Magic Circle firm’s private equity chief, David Walker, having joined in early 2013 charged with replicating the firm’s success in the New York LBO space.

Starting her career at CC in 1999, Oddy spent over a decade at the firm’s London headquarters before moving to BLP to make partner in 2010. Already well known for her work on the UK government’s asset protection scheme for Lloyds Bank in the aftermath of the financial crisis, during her four-year stint at the mid-tier firm Oddy advised on a broad range of structured finance and capital market deals.

She exited BLP for Latham in April last year, following a spate of departures from the mid-tier firm’s banking group, with real estate finance duo Andrew Flemming and Jo Solomon departing the very same week.

Arthur Dyson, a real estate finance partner at A&O, added: ‘This is an important time for the market, given the huge increase in secured real estate lending in recent years and it presents real opportunities. Lucy brings invaluable skills to our group that will significantly enhance our offering to both financial institution and sponsor clients who are involved in structured property financing.’

Oddy is the second major partner in Latham’s London office to depart this year, with its former European vice chair of tax Daniel Friel leaving to join King & Spalding in March.

Revenue at Latham’s City office surged by 20% to £163m in 2014, with the firm now turning its growth agenda towards Germany, having taken CC’s German banking chief Alexandra Hagelüken, co-head of private equity Oliver Felsenstein and partner Burc Hesse since the start of the year.

For more on how law firms are positioning ahead of an expected uptick in securitisation work see: The Finance View: Bigger, simpler, cheaper? How to position the modern securitisation counsel