John Ayer has more than 30 years of experience advising fund sponsors on a wide range of matters related to fundraising, fund transactions, governance, organizational structure and internal operations. A partner in Ropes & Gray’s asset management practice, he co-heads the firm’s private equity industry group and previously led the private investment funds group.

John’s involvement in Ropes & Gray’s renowned private funds practice since the very early days of the private equity and alternatives industry in the 1980s gives him a nearly unrivalled depth and breadth of perspective on the industry, its evolution and its players. He has worked with sponsors throughout their lifecycles—from newly formed firms raising a first-time fund to long-established, multi-asset class managers. In addition to traditional fundraising engagements, leading sponsors look to John for ongoing senior counseling advice on some of their most critical commercial and legal matters and for leadership in the development and execution of new products and transactions, including long-dated funds and complex GP-led secondary transactions.

Widely recognized by clients and peers as one of the industry’s leading funds practitioners, John is highly valued for his “clear, authoritative advice from a wealth of experience” and “tremendous market knowledge,” as well as his ability to “be incredibly thoughtful” about what is most important to clients. John is regularly quoted in the press about industry trends, including, most recently, challenges facing private funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Alta Park Capital
  • Atairos Group
  • Bain Capital
  • CCMP Capital Advisors
  • Cove Hill Partners
  • Crosspoint Capital
  • Dragoneer Investment Group
  • Equality Asset Management
  • Exeter Capital
  • Golden Gate Capital
  • Neuberger Berman Alternatives
  • Sands Capital
  • Strategic Value Partners
  • Thomas H. Lee Partners

Areas of Practice