Western Alliance Bank Hires Legal Industry Veterans Raj Shah and John Lopes to Grow Full-Service Banking Offering for Law Firms

December 19, 2022

NEW YORK -- Western Alliance Bank today announced that legal industry banking veterans Raj Shah and John Lopes, both with significant experience working with leading national and regional law firms, have joined the bank as senior directors. Shah and Lopes were specifically recruited for their deep knowledge of the law firm business model and the larger economic landscape affecting many firms today. They are both based in New York.

Shah and Lopes previously served as senior managing directors for Esquire Bank, where they worked closely with large and mid-sized law-firm clients and led a team responsible for loan origination and loan utilization. Throughout their careers, the pair have built a reputation for finding creative solutions for helping their clients solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. For example, Shah and Lopes:

  • Secured a multi-million-dollar debt facility for a plaintiffs’ firm to use as growth capital for expanding their case-acquisition marketing nationwide. The practice doubled the number of cases the firm was handling in less than a year.
  • Facilitated the acquisition of one regional law firm by another through providing debt financing based on the proforma financials of the combined firm. The capital allowed the new firm to improve its infrastructure and fully invest in the opportunities brought by the target firm. 
  • Provided a large, nationwide firm with debt capital to improve its infrastructure, including funding for executive-level financial and IT staff. The capital relieved a burden on the firm’s partners and allowed the firm to grow at increased velocity.  

“Law firms of all shapes and sizes, on both the plaintiff and defense side, are increasingly facing dramatic changes to their businesses, including pressure from clients to deliver legal services in novel ways,” said Francesca Castagnola, Senior Managing Director at Western Alliance Bank. “The addition of Raj and John to our team will allow us, more than ever, to help firms manage their businesses wisely, deploy capital to make strategic investments and be more forward-thinking in how they serve their clients. Their hiring supports our commitment to helping law firms and other legal businesses thrive in this changing economy.” 

The pair started working together when Shah hired Lopes as a private banker nearly 20 years ago. They moved together to Wells Fargo, where they first worked with law firms and then each used that experience to help build substantial books of business at a number of different banks. 

Shah and Lopes were attracted to Western Alliance Bank’s commitment to modernizing the banking experience for law firms, its forward-thinking approach to credit, deposit and settlement services and the opportunities provided by the bank’s deep pool of resources. 

“We have found a home in the legal community and are excited about the changes that are coming its way. The size and innovative thinking at Western Alliance Bank will provide us with so many resources to help our clients achieve their goals,” said Shah. 

“Raj and I are committed to changing the game in the law firm segment,” added Lopes. “We look forward to combining our expertise working with law firms with the bank’s experience, especially in the legal banking area, to deliver the kind of service and creative solutions that law firms require.” 

About Us

Western Alliance Bank

With more than $70 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bancorporation is one of the country’s top-performing banking companies. Its primary subsidiary, Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, offers a full spectrum of tailored commercial banking solutions and consumer products, all delivered with outstanding service by banking and mortgage experts who put customers first. Major accolades include being ranked as a top U.S. bank in 2023 by American Banker and Bank Director and receiving #1 rankings on Institutional Investor's All-America Executive Team Midcap 2023-2024 for Best CEO, Best CFO, Best Company Board of Directors and Best Investor Relations Team. Serving clients across the country wherever business happens, Western Alliance Bank operates individual, full-service banking and financial brands with offices in key markets nationwide. 

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