John Rife is an English-qualified partner in the Corporate Department and a member of the firm’s Funds/Investment Management Group, where he advises institutional and independent sponsors of buyout, debt, secondaries, real estate, emerging markets, infrastructure and energy funds, as well as funds of funds, on a broad range of matters, including fund formation and ongoing operational matters, co-investments, carried interest arrangements and internal reorganizations. In addition, Mr. Rife is a leader in the firm’s Private Fund Transactions Group and regularly advises sponsors and investors on secondary transactions including GP-led fund restructurings and tender offers, LP interest portfolio transactions, fundless sponsor transactions and other fund-related transactional matters.
Mr. Rife has been named to a number of rising stars lists, including Legal Week’s Rising Stars in Private Equity list, Private Equity International’s Future 40 list, Secondaries Investor’s Young Guns of Secondaries list, Law360’s Rising Stars list, and Private Funds CFO’s Legal Rising Stars list.
Recommended for Investment Funds: Private Equity by Chambers UK (2024) and Chambers Europe (2023), sources say he is “an extraordinary lawyer and, more importantly, a very trusted business partner.” He is said to have “a keen ability to provide solutions to complex problems and can work in the most commercial ways with all involved parties.” Mr. Rife is also listed in the guide’s Private Equity: Secondaries Spotlight table. In previous editions of the guide, sources have said he is “an extremely effective negotiator and counsel who delivers pragmatic and well-thought-through solutions to complex technical issues.” They note that he has “a substantive and broad knowledge of the market and is consistently accessible,” “pragmatic, thoughtful and always motivated to get the deal done. He has great technical knowledge and a real commercial mindset.” He has also been described as “incredibly dedicated and very knowledgeable in fund formation matters,” “highly committed and service-orientated,” “commercially savvy” and “highly capable and very dedicated to the interest of his client.”
In The Legal 500 UK (2024), which lists Mr. Rife as a next generation partner for Investment Funds: Private Funds, clients note that he is “a tremendous transactional secondaries lawyer” who “has really made the secondaries market in Europe his own.” The guide has previously described him as “highly versatile and capable” with “excellent experience and market knowledge,” “superb,” “a technically very able lawyer with a great pedigree of experience” and “an excellent lawyer in the private equity market, with a strong reputation and excellent commercial judgement.” According to clients, he is “smart, responsive, proactive and practical, and [someone who] doesn’t introduce unnecessary conflict into the negotiation process.”
Mr. Rife’s publications include “Side letters - Pitfalls and perils for a financing,” Global Legal Insights - Fund Finance 2023; “Private Equity International: The Wonder Years,” Private Equity International (May, 2019); “High Net Worths and Private Equity: The Opportunity Outweighs the Challenges,” Real Deals (January, 2019); “Debevoise On Material Omissions In Private Equity Secondary Transactions,” The CLS Blue Sky Blog (October, 2018); “Beware Pitfalls In Private Equity Secondary Transactions,” Law360 (October, 2018); and “Brexit: What does it mean for African private equity?,” African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (October, 2016). He is also co-author of “First-Time Fundraising Barometer,” BVCA Report (July, 2018); and “How the game is changing: Shifting terms and conditions in private equity funds,” Private Equity Technical Journal (Q4, 2012).
Mr. Rife graduated in 2004 with a B.Soc.Sc. (Hons) from the University of Manchester. He obtained his GDL in 2006 from City University and his LPC from the Inns of Court School of Law in 2007. Mr. Rife was admitted as a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales in 2009.