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 the UC Berkeley School of Law, and received her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Ms. Festa is ranked as a Leading Lawyer in The Legal 500 United States’ Structured Finance: Securitization category, with client commentary describing her as a “strong advocate” and highlighting her “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 Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards in 2017 and was shortlisted in the same category in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

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 has published articles in The Review of Securities and Commodities Regulation, The Journal of Bankruptcy Law and The Banking Law Journal and in leading industry trades, including Law360 and Practical Law Company.

Ms. Festa speaks regularly at industry conferences, including the annual Opal CLO Summit, at which she recently moderated the panel “Crystal Balling The CLO Market: What Will CLO 3.0 Look Like?”, which examined market insights and expectations for 2021, and in prior years has been a frequent presenter on other panels, including those dedicated to establishment of a new CLO management platform. In 2019, she co-led sponsorship of an inaugural half-day seminar with 100 Women in Finance for finance industry professionals featuring Women in CLOs. She also has been a guest lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Law on the subject of securitization and Dodd-Frank as a response to the financial crisis.

Ms. Festa has held several leadership roles in community organizations, including as a current board member of Phoenix House California and as past president of Phi Beta Kappa Alumni in Southern California (Alpha Association).


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