Senior Associate - Real Estate Finance

  • Ashurst
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Jan 22, 2018
Full time Property Finance

Job Description

About Ashurst

Ashurst is a leading global law firm with a history spanning almost 200 years, and clear strategy for our future growth. Our in-depth understanding of our clients and commitment to providing exceptional standards of service have seen us become a trusted adviser to local and global corporates, financial institutions and governments in all areas of commercial law. To find out more please visit here.

In order to comply with regulatory and client requirements, Ashurst will undertake appropriate vetting of staff. When applicants accept a job offer, Ashurst, alongside a specialist provider, will undertake professional verification and background checks.  These checks are only undertaken with consent, and in accordance with our legal and regulatory obligations.

Team overview:

Ashurst's real estate finance practice is recognised by its clients to be one of the most innovative and solution orientated legal practices in the City today. The team sits within the wider banking and finance practices and there is a large amount of cross fertilisation.

As the challenges to our clients have increased over the last few years we have stayed true to our core offering of legal technical excellence wrapped in commercial awareness. This has enabled Ashurst to continue to fulfil the role of being a trusted advisor to our clients and strengthened our close relationships.

Practice Area

Ashurst's real estate finance team is a leader in the UK and across Europe, reflected by the fact that we are ranked number one in Legal 500 and number two in Chambers UK. Our focus is on innovative and complex transactions where our technical and market knowledge and experience can be combined in ways which enable us to find flexible solutions for and maximise the value we bring to our clients.

The wider banking practice includes a significant presence in the areas of leveraged and acquisition finance bank advisory work/strategic projects, debt trading/portfolio sales, financial institutions (including lending to funds), financial restructurings, infrastructure finance, high yield bonds and investment grade/corporate lending as well as real estate finance.

Job overview:

We are currently looking for a mid to senior level real estate finance lawyer to join our team in the London office. They should be senior associate or at least approaching this level.

You can expect to have exposure to a wide range of high quality banking transactions but with a focus on real estate finance.

Main tasks and qualities

You would typically act on all elements of a financing from term sheet stage, through to closing and post-closing.  Your specific areas of responsibility would be to draft and review term sheets, draft and negotiate facility agreements and intercreditor agreements, draft and negotiate security documents and supervise overseas counsel to draft and negotiate local law security documents, take full responsibility for managing more junior associates in respect of conditions precedent and ensuring a smooth process to transaction close.

You would also be expected to manage projects that have been assigned to you (including drafting and negotiating supplemental finance documents such as waiver letters, accession agreements and more complex amendments and restatements) and to liaise closely with colleagues, clients, counterparties and other advisers.  You would be working as part of a committed and friendly team that enjoys its work and considers itself a leader in its field of practice.  All members of the team have frequent client contact and must be willing to travel.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Drafting of legal documents and agreements;
  • Reviewing acquisition and equity documents;
  • Contributing to department know-how;
  • Advising clients and preparing formal legal opinions;
  • Negotiating with counterparts;
  • Matter completion and post-closing work (including security perfection);
  • Providing structured supervision and on-the-job training to juniors.

In addition to strong technical skills, you should be able to demonstrate an enthusiasm for business development and strong interpersonal skills as there will be significant client contact, in both the work and business development context.

Essential skills and experience:

We are keen to see a track record of repeat work for clients as well as skills in building relationships and ambitions to build, or continue to build, a personal profile in the real estate finance market.

  • Qualified mid to senior level lawyer with significant post-qualification experience in real estate finance at a major law firm
  • Experience of real estate finance (development, acquisition, refinancing and restructuring)
  • Exposure to real estate, construction and planning law
  • Experience of drafting, reviewing and negotiating legal documents and agreements in a private practice environment
  • An adaptable person who is a fast learner, with experience operating in multiple jurisdictions.
  • A team-player who can work effectively with colleagues at all levels
  • Client facing experience and the ability to understand and respond effectively to client needs
  • A commercial approach
  • Attention to detail

Recent Deals

  • Acting for a club of five banks (Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and Santander with Crédit Agricole, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Hypothekenbank in respect of a £425m loan to Value Retail for the refinancing of Bicester Village in Oxfordshire
  • Acting for AIMCo in relation to the financing of the £350m acquisition and high profile development of Phase 1, BBC Television Centre into a mixed used property including residential, commercial, television studios, offices, leisure and retail
  • Acting for Oxford Properties and Brockton Capital on the £230m development financing of The Post Building, New Oxford Street, London
  • Acting for Oaktree and Sabal in connection with the refinancing of the "Gaudi" Portfolio of loan assets, secured over Spanish and Portuguese real estate assets and originally purchased from FMS for c. €410m
  • Acting for private equity fund Kildare Partners on its €190,000,000 bridge and subsequent €422,672,016 term refinancing arrangements with Nomura to fund the acquisition of GE Capital Real Estate's German commercial real estate business



Financial institutions:

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Nomura, Credit Suisse, Aviva, M&G Investments, Barings and AIMCo.

Private Equity houses:

Apollo, Blackstone, Oaktree, Davidson Kempner, King Street, EQT, Kildare, Cheyne Capital and Cerberus


Berkeley Homes, Oxford Properties, Samsung and PATRIZIA.

Career advancement:

An established Associate Career Path Framework is in place clearly defining expectations and outlining opportunities for promotion.

Secondment opportunities:

Opportunities often arise for associates to spend time on secondment in house with key clients of the firm. From time to time, secondment opportunities also come up within other Ashurst offices in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.


Partner Profiles:


Sarah Watkinson

Sarah Watkinson is a real estate finance partner in the finance department in London. She specialises in real estate investment, development and structured finance. Prior to joining Ashurst, Sarah worked for Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and Cadwalader.

Sarah has considerable expertise acting for major US, UK and European banks, originating syndicated and securitisable senior and mezzanine debt secured over portfolios of UK and European property. She also represents equity investors, corporates, funds and developers, raising debt financing in the UK and Europe and is experienced in joint venture, fund and limited partnership structures, tax saving schemes, "Opco/Propco" take-outs, development funding and all types of property investment transactions.

More recently, she has been involved in the restructuring of UK and European loans either for existing borrowers and banks or for potential purchasers.

Sarah Watkinson acts for a range of developers, equity investors and corporates. She is highly regarded among her peers and clients say that "she's very commercial and good under pressure." Chambers UK 2017

Ruth Harris

Ruth is a partner in the Banking group at Ashurst LLP, London office and has a keen interest in real estate investment, development and structured finance across a wide range of asset classes including: offices, retail, residential, leisure, and industrial properties. Ruth has considerable expertise acting for both banks and equity investors, corporates and funds, on originations and alternative syndication strategies, including multi-layered intercreditor arrangements. She has experience  in advising fixed charge receivers and lenders in relation to work out strategies, restructuring and enforcement processes, and also advising owners of and investors in distressed real estate debt and assets.

Ruth Harris is widely respected in her field and is described as "brilliant" by commentators. She has an impressive structured lending and development finance practice and often advises major banks, investors and hotel groups. One source states: "She is excellent at combining commercial nous with technical knowledge, and finds the time to be thoughtful as well as cheerful!" Chambers UK 2017

Jessica Jenner

Jessica is a partner in the banking group specialising in all aspects of real estate finance.  Jessica has experience in acting for banks, borrowers and private equity investors on property investment transactions, fund and limited partnership structures, development finance and real estate restructurings.

Jessica has considerable expertise acting for major UK and European banks including The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, originating syndicated debt over secured portfolios of UK and European property.  Jessica also acts for borrowers and equity investors including Oxford Properties Group, GE, Treasury Holdings, The Berkeley Group and Mitsui.

Jessica Jenner is often called upon to assist property funds and alternative lenders. Her practice also sees her advising major banks and acting for sponsors on financing arrangements. Chambers UK 2017