Press Release September 19, 2018

Alston & Bird Expands REITs Practice with New Partner in New York

Alston & Bird has expanded its real estate investment trust (REIT) capabilities with the addition of Michael Kessler as partner in the firm’s New York office.

“Mike is an accomplished REITs lawyer who has been at the forefront of some of the most prominent and innovative deals in this space,” said Chris Frieden, Alston & Bird partner and co-leader of the firm’s Financial Services & Products Group. “He’s played a key role in creating some of the very first mortgage REITs and is recognized nationally for his innovative expansion of the REIT sector into new asset classes, such as energy efficiency and clean energy loans.”

An experienced and versatile securities lawyer, Kessler regularly advises clients on U.S. securities laws, as well as cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and debt offerings, and corporate finance transactions. His practice includes initial public offerings, special purpose acquisition company transactions, private placements, internalization transactions, and a wide array of securities reporting and corporate governance matters.

“Mike excels at structuring innovative deals that create value,” said Rosemarie Thurston, Alston & Bird partner and leader of the firm’s REITs & Real Estate Funds Team. “His extensive practice in REIT-relevant corporate and securities laws and intimate knowledge of the REIT market further deepen our ability to meet the transactional needs of sophisticated clients doing business nationally and globally and across a range of asset classes.”

Active in the New York community, Kessler serves on the board of directors of Oliver Scholars, which prepares high-achieving African-American and Latino students from underserved New York communities for success at top independent high schools and prestigious colleges. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Cornerstone Award from the Lawyers Alliance for New York honoring outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofits.

“We continue to see increased client demand and opportunities in all areas of our New York REITs practice,” said Jamie Hutchinson, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s New York office. “Mike is a welcome addition to our team and provides much-needed capacity as we further grow our capabilities in an area that is a clear strength for us and where clients are increasingly seeking our support.”

Kessler’s arrival continues the significant growth of Alston & Bird’s New York office, which has added 13 new partners in the past year and a half, including a five-member finance team from Andrews Kurth Kenyon led by partners David Hoyt, Kenneth Rothenberg, and Russell Chiappetta. Other recent additions are white collar partner Jenny Kramer, international arbitration partner Alex Yanos, financial advisor partner Stuart Rogers, debt finance partner Paul Hespel, intellectual property partner Paul Tanck, bankruptcy and financial restructuring partners Gerard Catalanello and James Vincequerra, litigation partners Adam Kaiser and John Aerni, and investment management partner Michael Saarinen.
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