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Advisory Firm Avonhurst Hires Morrison Foerster Partner

  • Innovative firm Avonhurst joined by London restructuring partner Sonya Van de Graaff

LONDON – Ground-breaking advisory firm Avonhurst today announced the hire of partner Sonya Van de Graaff from Morrison Foerster. Restructuring and insolvency expert Van de Graaff was a partner in Morrison Foerster’s London office for nearly five years, having previously been a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel and Brown Rudnick. She also worked in-house at Bear Stearns International for six years following a stint in the Project Finance team at Allen & Overy. Avonhurst will also be joined by Senior Associate Rafael Serrano, who joins from Linklaters, where he was a Managing Associate in the London office, specialising in leveraged finance and restructuring.

Launched in July 2019, Avonhurst is a political strategy and legal advisory firm dedicated to representing sophisticated capital. The seventh new partner to join the firm, Van de Graaff is the latest in a series of high-profile legal and advisory hires for the rapidly growing firm. These include former Freshfields partner Ian Frost, Linklaters’ James Wyatt, and former Milbank partner Laetitia Costa, as well as leading figures from the political, financial and legal sectors such as Lord (Gavin) Barwell, tech entrepreneur Sean West, General, the Lord (Nick) Houghton, Blackstone’s Andrew Dowler and Tina Fordham, formerly of Citigroup.

The arrival of Van de Graaf and Serrano builds on that of former Allen & Overy partner and financial restructuring specialist Carolyn Conner, who joined Avonhurst as Senior Advisor in July.

Jonathan Bloom, Chief Executive of Avonhurst, comments:
“We are delighted to welcome Sonya Van de Graaff and Rafael Serrano to the firm. Sonya brings nearly two decades’ experience of working in insolvency and restructuring, with a valuable combination of private practice and in-house experience. With a proven track record of advising funds, investors and other stakeholders in complex capital structures in domestic or cross-border restructurings, Sonya’s ability to identify and analyse distressed investment opportunities and develop innovative restructuring strategies is ideally suited to servicing the needs of our sophisticated capital clientele in the current climate. Rafael’s time at Linklaters included working on major international restructurings, and his appointment shows Avonhurst’s commitment to securing strong talent at every level – from partners and senior advisors to our more junior team.

Sonya and Rafael will be working alongside Senior Advisor Carolyn Conner, who honed her financial restructuring skills as partner at Allen & Overy, and together these new hires greatly enhance our offering in the restructuring and insolvency sphere. They are also evidence that Avonhurst is building on the stellar success of its first year with the kind of strategic, high level hiring that enables us to offer a holistic suite of advice to help our clients successfully navigate the demands of these unprecedented times.”

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Kathryn Adamson,, Mobile (+44) 0771 713 3595

Launched in July 2019 with a substantial client portfolio, Avonhurst is dedicated to meeting the changing needs of sophisticated capital by providing a bespoke offering comprising legal, legislative / political risk advisory and capital services. A group of market-leading founders and influencers from the legal world have created a revolutionary advisory business dedicated to helping funds, capital providers, corporate borrowers and issuers, and secured lenders, navigate the complexities of ever-changing markets.