Leigh Fraser > Ropes & Gray LLP > Boston, United States > Lawyer Profile

Ropes & Gray LLP
BOSTON, MA 02199
United States

Work Department

Asset Management; Private Funds




Leigh Fraser is a partner in the asset management group and co-head of the firm’s private funds practice. Leigh has significant experience forming onshore and offshore private funds, and advising these entities and their sponsors on an ongoing basis with respect to regulatory matters and structuring new investment products.

She also advises a variety of financial institutions, including hedge funds, investment advisors, mutual funds, and endowments, on derivatives and arrangements with brokers and custodians, as well as related regulatory matters under the Dodd-Frank Act.


  • JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1996
  • AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1993; Phi Beta Kappa

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Finance > Structured finance: derivatives and structured products

The derivatives and commodes team at Ropes & Gray LLP advises mutual funds, financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, and corporations on commodes and futures transactions, as well as regulatory matters and product structuring. Its expertise also includes mandates involving swaps, options, structured notes, and exchange-traded options. Based in Boston, practice co-head Leigh Fraser specializes in derivatives and commodities, often advising buy-side clients on the negotiation of ISDA Master Agreements, repurchase agreements, and triparty agreements. Isabel Dische operates out of New York and advises global fund sponsors on structuring and compliance, while in Washington DC, Molly Moore focuses on derivatives and trading arrangements. Deborah Monson retired in January 2021.

United States > Investment fund formation and management > Alternative/hedge funds

Ropes & Gray LLP is extremely well placed to assist a growing base of sophisticated, multi-jurisdictional clients seeking to grow their product lines and strategies in both the US and the EU; the firm is able to utilise its global capabilities to advise hedge funds expanding into adjacencies, and institutional asset managers entering different areas in the funds space. Recently, the team’s position at the vanguard of the market has seen it advising on complex matters including cryptocurrency, insider trading, arrangements with insurance companies, and novel trading and operational issues. Derivatives and commodities work remains an area of particular strength, with seasoned practitioner Leigh Fraser taking the lead in this area. Fraser splits her time between the New York and Boston offices – of these two key locations, the former also fields recognized expert Laurel Fitzpatrick, fund formation and operation specialist Sarah Davidoff  and core senior practitioner Morri Weinberg, while Peter Laybourn is a recommended name at the latter. Over on the west coast, San Francisco-based Melissa Bender is the ‘stand-out partner‘.

United States > Investment fund formation and management > Private equity funds (including venture capital)

At Ropes & Gray LLP, the ‘fantastic‘ offering ‘lives and breathes asset management‘ – the firm’s immersion in the latest trends and developments ensures that it is constantly operating at the high value, maximum complexity end of the fund formation market. The attorneys’ ‘deep and broad experience throughout the industry‘ encompasses both sponsor and investor-side work equally, enabling practitioners to fluently negotiate mutually beneficial agreements. In terms of venture capital work, the firm advises on the entire growth cycle of a company, from organization and incorporation, through venture, mezzanine and late-stage funding to sophisticated financing and acquisition transactions for large, multi-national companies. The practice has a highly specialized approach to leadership, with dedicated practitioners taking charge of particular areas: Boston-based Peter Laybourn shares management of the overall private funds department with Leigh Fraser and Morri Weinberg in New York; ‘outstanding, accessible, authoritative and efficientJohn Ayer – also in Boston – leads the private equity group; and ‘walking encyclopaediaMarc Biamonte and Debra Lussier jointly oversee the institutional investors and buyout funds work from New York and Boston, respectively. In April 2021, the New York office was strengthened even further by the arrival of Bryan Hunkele from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

United States > Finance > Financial services regulation

Ropes & Gray LLP draws on its expertise in the investment fund space to provide regulatory advice to prominent investment management and private equity funds. The team is particularly active in helping these clients to ensure that their broker-dealer work complies with SEC and FINRA regulations; the practice also advises clients engaged in derivatives trading on CFTC compliance. Elsewhere, Jason Brown specializes in advising on matters involving the Investment Advisers Act. The sizeable team is jointly led by Brown, Thomas Hiller  and James Thomas in Boston; Brynn Rail, Bryan Chegwidden and Eva Carman in New York; and Joel Wattenbarger and Leigh Fraser, who work across the two offices.