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An Introduction to Private Debt

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on November 07, 2019

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Banking

Course Description

Private Debt has emerged as a formidable asset class. As traditional banking institutions dramatically scaled back their lending in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, non-bank entities, often called direct lenders, filled the void to supply the market with vital capital. In the years since, the Private Debt markets have seen impressive growth. New ventures, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and distressed entities have found direct lenders more accommodating, nimble, and responsive than traditional banks to sector challenges and their specific business needs. As investors search for yield, Private Debt is frequently chosen as an attractive option due to the strong returns offered by this asset class. This has resulted in continued growth of what remains a relatively new, sophisticated, and fast-evolving market.

This program will provide a general overview of Private Debt for attorneys seeking a better understanding of this important asset class. Practitioners Gabriel Yomi Dabiri, Co-Leader of Polsinelli’s Private Debt and Cross Border Finance team, and associate Emily Phillips, will describe the characteristics of the Private Debt market, discuss the reasons why Private Debt, which emerged during the Great Recession, has continued to grow even as the economy has recovered, and will assess the role that Private Debt could play during the next downturn.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify what constitutes Private Debt
  2. Appreciate the context in which this asset class came to prominence
  3. Differentiate Private Debt from other asset classes
  4. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Private Debt
  5. Forecast the future of the Private Debt market

Credit Information

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Gabriel Yomi Dabiri


Gabriel Yomi Dabiri is the Team Leader of Polsinelli’s Private Debt and Private Equity Finance practices.

Gabriel prides himself on the commercial approach that he and his team take on matters, and gets the best deal for his clients by building a good working relationship with those working across the table. Gabriel leverages his market expertise in both “buy-and-hold” private debt strategies and syndicated finance transactions to guide clients on a variety of deals, from the routine to cutting edge. Gabriel’s practice is most concentrated in the growing private debt market, where he regularly advises clients on senior, mezzanine and subordinated loans, unitranche facilities, first lien/second lien facilities, and cash flow, ABL, subscription line and real estate finance transactions. Gabriel also negotiates complex intercreditor and subordination arrangements on behalf of his clients, and has advised clients on various debt restructurings and bankruptcies, including negotiating debtor-in-possession facilities and advising clients in connection with the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis.

Gabriel is dual-qualified, admitted to practice law as an attorney in New York and as a solicitor in England and Wales, and much of his work is cross-border in nature. Both Gabriel’s clients and the deals on which he advises routinely touch jurisdictions in North America, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining Polsinelli, Gabriel worked for a Magic Circle law firm in London, Singapore and New York, advising clients on domestic and cross-border capital markets and banking and finance transactions, and for leading global law firms in Manhattan, advising premier international financial institutions and corporate borrowers on large and middle market leveraged finance deals.  

When Gabriel is not devoting his time and expertise on behalf of clients, Gabriel prioritizes being an active member of his community. Gabriel is a member of the American Heart Association’s Executive Leadership Team and served for six years on the Executive Board for the AHA’s Young Professionals. He is also a member of the Board for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, and is on the Finance Committee of the Women First International Fund, an international fund that provides micro-financing to women-led grassroots projects that advance the rights of women and girls.

Gabriel has been recognized as an Empire State Counsel® Honoree by the New York State Bar Association, as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine in each year from 2015 to 2019 for client work in Banking, Securities and Corporate Finance, and by The National Black Lawyers – Top 100 for “exemplifying superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence and performance in his areas of legal practice.” Gabriel is also a faculty member of The Black BigLaw Pipeline, a non-profit comprised of senior Black attorneys established to promote positive outcomes for Black attorneys working in large law firms.

Emily Phillips


Emily Phillips is an associate in the Capital Markets and Commercial Lending practice. Emily seeks to provide clients with the highest-quality representation. She has provided counsel to both borrowers and lenders on complex lending transactions, contract negotiation and financial transactions. She has represented a wide variety of clients and has experience working in capital markets, specifically asset backed securitizations in the field of aircraft finance and in commercial mortgage backed securities on behalf of servicers. Emily is also committed to giving back and works pro bono in immigration matters such as asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. 

Emily represents commercial banks, credit funds, issuers, borrowers and servicers on transactions related to:
  • Aircraft finance
  • Senior, mezzanine and subordinated lending
  • Acquisition finance
  • Real-estate secured loans
  • Commercial mortgage backed securities
  • Tax-exempt bonds 


Hirobumi A.

Interesting info for finance / debt specialty lawyers.

Christopher A.

Great coverage of a complex topic

Thomas D.

Brilliantly presentation by both attorneys of a very complex subject.

Maia W.

Excellent presentation. Complicated subject matter was explained in simple terms.

Diane V.

I really enjoyed this program, as a finance attorney myself mainly focused on debt I found the equity piece informative and interesting.

Vasiliki N.

Very interesting overview

Philip S.

Interesting topic.

Beth M.

Great presentation - very interesting. My practice sometimes deals with infrastructure projects funded by public debt, so the private side was intriguing.

Lawrence R. F.

interesting topic-well presented

Robert F.

Basic and fundamental course

Kathryn T.

I HATE this topic!! But the presenters were nice.

Randy B.

Good overview.

Juliana C.

Glad I watched this.

Kathryn D.

Great overview.

Charles W.

Very good presentation.

John G.

Thank you Good information

Joann H.

Excellent presentation, really well done.

Laura G.

Excellent course. Would highly recommend this course to any attorney practicing in the private debt market. Graphs and diagrams were well structured and provided information in addition to what the speakers conveyed.

Andrew C.

Excellent well paced well structured and well balanced presentation of a confusing messy subject. Light and grounded in real practice.

Robert M.

Gabriel and Emily did a really great job in presenting on the topic of private debt. Lots of good information.

Michael G.


Donna W.

Both faculty demonstrated tremendous knowledge and I found the presentation informative and interesting.

Tom M.

Very clear and professionally presented

Catherine E.

Very well paced, highly informative course on a new area (for me).

Matthew A.

Very interesting. Both presenters did very well.

Junya M.

Very useful course!

Michael L.

Extremely well done, by both presenters. This was a very illuminating intro to the subject matter. The written materials added much to the value of the course.

Sixto D.

Great course. Congratulations to both Gabriel and Emily

Steven M.

Gabe and Emily are an excellent team and each presented in an interesting, and very informative manner. FYI, my laptop shut down at about 50:00 into the program but I was able to reboot fairly quickly and I think I was able to pick up from where it shut down and view the program in its entirety. Thanks !

Darryl S.

The subject is very interesting to me, a business lawyer, as many of my clients are involved in private borrowing. The speakers did a great job with their presentations.

John T.

good presenters

Matthew M.

Excellent presentation.

John F.

Both presenters did a great job.

Clarence S.

Excellent presentation of complex area of law.

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