Deborah Festa


F +1 213.892.4700

Los Angeles

2029 Century Park East

33rd Floor

Los Angeles, CA US 90067-3019

T +1 424.386.4400

F +1 213.892.4700

F +1 212.530.5219

New York

55 Hudson Yards

New York, NY US 10001-2163

T +1 212.530.5540

F +1 212.530.5219

As a partner in Milbank’s Alternative Investments group and leader of the firm’s West Coast securitization and investment management practices, Ms. Festa has more than 16 years of experience representing institutional investment managers and global investment firms in a variety of complex transactions and advising on related franchise-level risk.

She represents issuers, collateral managers and other market participants in securitization and other structured finance transactions, with a particular emphasis on the collateralized loan obligations (CLO) asset class. She regularly structures and negotiates these transactions, including related warehouse financing arrangements and follow-on refinancing and “reset” transactions, with the dual mandate of promoting clients’ business objectives and achieving compliance with applicable evolving law and regulation in the United States and in Europe.

She also advises clients in the direct lending and portfolio finance markets, where she represents investment fund sponsors in obtaining financing for direct lending platforms and in deploying that financing to corporate borrowers.

Ms. Festa’s practice includes advising clients in the acquisition and divestiture of asset management businesses and the negotiation of subadvisory arrangements and joint ventures.

Her experience also includes advising clients on the formation of marketplace lending platforms and in investing in portfolios of such loans in both the primary and secondary markets.

Recognition & Accomplishments

Ms. Festa earned her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, and received her B.A.  summa cum laude from the University of California at Los Angeles. The Legal 500 United States quotes clients describing Ms. Festa as a “strong advocate” and recommends her in its ‘Structured Finance’ category, noting that she “has ‘good business sense and experience.’” She has also been listed as a leading lawyer by IFLR1000 for "Capital Markets: Structured Finance and Securitization” and by Who's Who Legal for "Capital Markets: Structured Finance." She was named “Best in Structured Finance (Including Securitization & Derivatives)” at the 2017 Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Awards and was shortlisted in the same category in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Ms. Festa is frequently quoted in high-profile media outlets, including Bloomberg Law, Asset Securitization Report, Debtwire, Reuters, Leveraged Finance News and International Financing Review. She is the author of many articles published in leading industry trades, including Law360, Practical Law Company, The Banking Law Journal, The Review of Securities and Commodities Regulation and the Journal of Bankruptcy Law. Ms. Festa is a frequent speaker at industry conferences including the Opal CLO Summit where she has been a repeat presenter on the panel dedicated to establishment of a new CLO management platform. She has held several leadership roles in community organizations, including as past president of Phi Beta Kappa Alumni in Southern California (Alpha Association). She also has been a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law on the subject of securitization and Dodd-Frank as a response to the financial crisis.

Additional Details
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law, J.D.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.
  • California
  • New York