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 was named to Legal Week’s Rising Stars in Private Equity list, which represents the finest private practice lawyers under 40 advising in the UK and Europe. He was also named by Private Equity International to its Future 40, a list of private equity professionals set to shape the industry over the next decade, and by Secondaries Investor in its Young Guns of Secondaries list, which recognises the top 20 professionals working in the secondaries space aged 35 or under. The publication described Mr. Rife as “a ‘formidable counterpart’ who always ensures his client receives an optimal deal. Rife has a knack for making complex legal ideas understandable by the layman.” He is recommended by IFLR1000 (2022) and recognised as a Rising Star by Law360. Recommended for Investment Funds: Private Equity by Chambers UK (2023) and Chambers Europe (2022), sources say he is “is an extremely effective negotiator and counsel who delivers pragmatic and well-thought-through solutions to complex technical issues.” He is also said to have “a substantive and broad knowledge of the market and is consistently accessible.” In previous editions of the guide, sources have said he is “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 (2023), which lists Mr. Rife as a next generation partner for Investment Funds: Private Funds, clients note that he is “highly versatile and capable” and has “excellent experience and market knowledge.” The guide has previously described him as “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.