Kirkland & Ellis plants permanent flag in French GP-led market

The firm's European investment funds group has hired a partner with GP-led fund restructuring experience to its Paris office, the unit's hire in France.

International law firm Kirkland & Ellis is planting a permanent flag in the French market, hiring its first Paris-based member to the fund investments team in the form of a seasoned alternatives lawyer with experience in, among other things, GP-led secondaries.

The firm has hired Raphaël Bloch as a partner in the Paris office. Bloch joined from the Paris office of international firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, where he had been an associate for nearly five years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“Raphaël is a rare talent,” said London-based partner Christopher Braunack. “Over the years he has built a stellar reputation in the French funds market among the fund sponsor and market intermediary communities. He was the standout choice for us to spearhead the expansion of our European investment funds practice into France.”

Bloch has advised sponsors on fund formation and operation across private equity, credit, real assets and secondaries, including GP-led restructurings and other liquidity solution transactions. He has deep experience specific to dynamics in the French market as well, the statement noted.

The firm hired secondaries expert Társis Gonçalves away from Paul Hastings in June, where he, along with a team of others, had gone from Hogan Lovells the year prior. K&E also hired Mark Boyagi as a partner in its New York office, by way of Debevoise & Plimpton.

Kirkland & Ellis advised on 135 transactions in 2020 representing more than $57 billion of transaction value, the second most of any firm, according to Secondaries Investor‘s most recent survey of law firms in secondaries. The firm completed 49 GP-led deals aggregating $31 billion – over 80 percent of its transactions by volume – including 11 single-asset deals, 18 preferred equity transactions and roughly 15 NAV loans. The vast majority of its transactions were in private equity.

Overall, the team has more than 190 attorneys working on secondaries transactions globally, including more than 80 partners.