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They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Kris Ferranti of Shearman & Sterling

July 28, 2022, 9:01 AM

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.
I was the lead attorney on Shearman & Sterling’s representation of Olayan America on its acquisition alongside Morgan Properties in a portfolio of 48 apartment communities and 14,414 units located in 11 states including Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland. The overall consideration for this transaction was approximately $1.75 billion. The Morgan Properties and Olayan America joint venture purchased this portfolio of multifamily properties from STAR Real Estate Ventures, a joint venture between El-Ad National Properties LLC and Yellowstone Portfolio Trust. At the time, the acquisition was the largest multifamily transaction in that year.

I was the lead real estate attorney on Shearman & Sterling’s representation of Orion Mine Finance on its acquisition of 4.5 million mineral acres and 1 million fee surface acres in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado for approximately $1.33 billion. The land package originated as part of the building of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States and the assets acquired by Orion include mineral rights to the world’s largest known trona deposit. Trona is a mineral used to make soda ash, the principal ingredient in baking soda, global glass manufacturing, pollution control systems, as well as other critical chemical applications.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?
The most important lesson I learned as a first-year attorney is to build meaningful relationships with clients based on trust. It was impressed upon me early that it is best to be viewed as a partner or an extension of the client’s in-house counsel. When relationships like that are established, your clients’ successes are your successes. This lesson has informed my practice today through the universal adoption of a clients’ first approach. This approach requires exceptional lawyering skills and 24/7/365 access, immediate responsiveness, in-depth market knowledge, and a deep understanding of the client’s needs. 

How do you define success in your practice?
I define success as overcoming challenges. All the attorneys involved in any transaction’s collective goal is to execute on our clients’ vision. Of course, there will be differences and intense negotiations of those differences related to specific terms, but the clients came together for a reason. They had a vision, an end goal in mind, and the attorneys’ main job is to make that vision a reality. For example, how do you implement a deal that satisfies one party’s long-term investment strategy with the other party’s short-term strategy, optimizing cost efficiencies for one party while not increasing costs for the other parties? Our clients come to us to resolve these sorts of barriers to execution and provide a path forward. Overcoming these challenges and bringing a deal together is how I define success. 

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
So far, making partner after seven years as an associate has been my proudest professional moment as a lawyer. I was the first in my family to graduate from a four-year college. The support I receive from my family has been instrumental to my success. My wife, Alison, has been incredibly supportive since the beginning of my career at Shearman. I cannot imagine having accomplished anything without her and my family by my side. Being elected to the partnership at Shearman & Sterling was a very proud moment for the Ferranti family.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?
John Knight, general counsel of Olayan America, the American division of The Olayan Group, a privately-owned investment firm, has been my greatest mentor in the law. I have had the pleasure of knowing John for the past eight years. John is a leader that leads by example. He is an excellent lawyer. John is also commercial, understands the big picture, and quickly grasps any situation. He underscored for me that as lawyers, we must always be learning and developing problem-solving skills. John taught me the importance of nurturing relationships, valuing connections, and the lawyer’s role as a trusted adviser.

Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the “Encanto” soundtrack and “Trolls Wanna Have Good Times” from the “Trolls 2" soundtrack.

I have three young daughters, ages 6, 4, and 1, so my music options are limited to popular kids’ songs and family-friendly movie soundtracks.

Kris Ferranti is the real estate practice group leader at his firm, representing clients that include sovereign wealth funds, investment funds, and developers. For pro bono work, he represents U.S. military veterans in their service-oriented injury claims and appeals to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at lhelem@bloombergindustry.com; Kibkabe Araya in Washington at karaya@bloombergindustry.com