Need to Meet: Kristine Koren, Partner, Mayer Brown

  • Private-fund-formation attorney, hybrid-vehicle expert
  • Co-author of legal treatise on PE-fund structure, operations
  • Co-chairs NYS Bar Association’s private funds group

Attorney Kristine Koren’s interest in the law was piqued by a school field trip to the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico, where she grew up. There, the Hon. Juan Pérez-Giménez told the students that, one day, they could apply to work for him.

“Years later,” Koren said, “when I had the opportunity, I did so.” She spent the year after her graduation from Cornell Law School clerking for the judge.

Now Koren is a partner in the New York office of Mayer Brown, which she joined in March after 12 years at Skadden Arps. It was an opportunity she “felt compelled to accept,” she said: “The new initiative here is focused on private equity, infrastructure and credit funds, and that’s the area that I most enjoy.”

“When I started, there was maybe one infrastructure fund a year, and now it’s considered a separate asset class. Private credit is the same way, and pretty soon I think we’ll be seeing something similar in funds that focus on blockchain investments,” a topic about which she’s had a lot of inquiry.

While Koren has worked on a range of private funds, “the part that distinguishes my practice is assisting with the more customized arrangements as well,” she said. That includes hybrid vehicles with elements of both PE and hedge fund structures.

“For me, putting together something that is brand new, completely unique and designed to meet the particular desired investment program’s goals, that’s really interesting.”

Koren gravitated toward investment management as a first-year associate at Skadden. “I was really interested from the beginning in the construction of the waterfall and the approach to alignment of interest,” she recalled. “The truth is, I was fascinated by the field, and to this day that has continued.” Fund formation and complementary areas, for instance, asset manager M&A, have remained her focus.

The most appealing aspect of the process “is helping the client, whether you’re representing the sponsor or the investor, reach a meeting of the minds,” she explained. “You want to create something solid that everyone is comfortable is setting them up for mutual success.”

Outside client time, the largest share of Koren’s work is dedicated to a legal treatise she co-authors, Private Equity Funds: Business Structure and Operations. She’s currently preparing a second version on venture capital.

Koren also co-chairs the New York State Bar Association’s private funds group, “a forum for conversation amongst people in the industry,” including clients, general counsels, investors, compliance officers and members from different government agencies. “We try to create a place where people can come together for continuing legal education and to discuss the latest trends.”

Phone: +1 212-506-2776

Kristine Koren, partner, Mayer Brown. Photo courtesy of the firm.