Morrison & Foerster Hires New Tax Partner To Further Expand Its Reit And Fund Formation Practices

Jay Blaivas joins the firm’s New York office from The Blackstone Group

Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce that Jay Blaivas has joined the firm as a tax partner in its New York office.  Mr. Blaivas has over 20 years of experience and will become a member of the firm’s Federal Tax Group, providing key support to the firm’s REIT, Fund Formation, Real Estate, and Private Equity practices.

Mr. Blaivas comes to Morrison & Foerster after spending the last six years at The Blackstone Group.  While at Blackstone, Mr. Blaivas oversaw all tax-related aspects of the Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (BREDS) business, including its draw-down funds, hedge funds and non-traded regulated investment companies, which has originated and acquired over $30 billion in loans since inception.  Mr. Blaivas also managed all tax-related aspects of Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust (NYSE: BXMT), which has approximately $11 billion of real estate debt assets under management.

Prior to Blackstone, Mr. Blaivas spent 14 years as a tax attorney with New York-based law firms and as a managing director at a Big 4 accounting firm, during which time he primarily represented REITs in all aspects of highly sophisticated transactional tax matters.

“Jay brings a rare combination of both cutting-edge technical expertise and practical insight to our firm’s transactional tax practice,” said David Strong, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Federal Tax Group and co-chair of the firm’s Tax Department.  “Jay has been at the forefront of industry-shaping tax developments in the REIT and fund formation areas for over 20 years, and he will enable us to serve our clients in ways that will create identifiable value and set us apart from our competitors.  During his tenure at Blackstone, Jay was asked to make difficult legal and business decisions on a day-to-day basis.  As a result, Jay is uniquely suited to create pragmatic, real-world solutions for our clients, and we expect him to have an immediate and measurable impact.”

David Slotkin, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s REIT Group, added: “Jay’s deep technical background and extensive experience at a market leader like Blackstone further strengthen our nationally recognized REIT practice.  Jay’s addition to our team will add a depth of knowledge and reinforce our reputation for practical, creative problem solving, and we expect that he will be in high demand with our REIT clients.”

Mr. Blaivas’ specific areas of technical and practical experience span a broad range of real estate and other tax matters, including: (i) all aspects of the formation, operation, and continuing compliance of mortgage REITs, equity REITs, and UpREITs; (ii) efficiently structuring real estate equity and debt funds for U.S., non-U.S., tax-exempt, and foreign sovereign investors; (iii) structuring funds in a tax-efficient manner, including with respect to real estate acquisitions and dispositions, debt originations and acquisitions, and mortgage securitizations; and (iv) partnership and joint venture transactions, agreements, allocations, and related tax issues (such as built-in gain, basis step-up/down, disguised sale, and negative basis issues).

Mr. Blaivas received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and his B.A. from Queens College.

“Morrison & Foerster has a strong reputation in transactional tax matters, including REITs and real estate, and the firm provides me with the ideal platform to advise a wide range of clients,” said Mr. Blaivas.  “I also look forward to re-entering private practice and applying my many years of in-house experience to help solve complex and difficult legal issues for the firm’s clients.”

Mr. Blaivas is just the latest partner to join Morrison & Foerster in 2018. Other top talent that has come to the firm this year includes New York-based Litigation partner Michael Birnbaum, London-based Corporate partner Dan Coppel, Palo Alto-based M&A partner Khoa Do, Washington, D.C.-based Financial Services partner Susan Gault-Brown, Tokyo-based Corporate partner Jesse Gillespie, and London-based Finance partner Caroline Jury.