Transportation: Aviation: Finance - Nationwide
THE FIRM This firm is a frequent choice of counsel for high-end lender representation, and continues to court market recognition for its astute command of related capital markets work. A raft of prominent names have come to rely on its perceptive and adept counsel, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Highlights for the practice include acting as purchasing counsel for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking on the $7.3 billion acquisition of RBS Aviation Capital.
Client Service "It just seems that they are always one step ahead of my thoughts. A great team!"
KEY INDIVIDUALS Drew Fine is one of the most well-known and highly respected lawyers in the aviation finance arena, leading sources to describe him as "the dean of the industry." Those seeking a "hard worker who is always available, and an excellent lawyer," would do well to consider instructing him. He had a lead role on the aforementioned work for Sumitomo Mitsui.
The "experienced and practical" Helfried Schwarz wins plaudits for his creative commercial approach to aviation finance. His clients include JPMorgan Chase, which he recently represented in relation to the $675 million purchase of US Ex-Im Bank-supported bonds.
Elihu Robertson chairs the firm's transportation and space group. He is "strong technically, and he has lots of experience," according to sources. He recently represented the underwriters on a high-value enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) deal for Continental Airlines.
THE FIRM Sources are quick to point to this firm's prominent aviation finance practice. It counts Nordic Aviation Capital and Southwest Airlines among its key clients, while recent highlights include advising US Ex-Im Bank on export credit financing work, including the financing of six aircraft for Atlas Air.
Commercial Awareness "It has a strong international reach, which is important for any investor that does work across the globe."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dean Gerber chairs the firm's global transportation finance practice. He acted as lead partner on the US Ex-Im Bank deals. Sources agree he is "clearly a leader" in the field, adding that "he knows the issues, handles them well and is very easy to deal with."
Ronald Scheinberg is the lead aviation finance professional in the New York office. His practice includes representation of foreign bank interests in financing transactions. Sources describe him as "an excellent lawyer." He acted as lender counsel for Crédit Agricole with respect to a $340 million credit facility for AeroTurbine.
Joshua Gentner is lauded by sources as an "outstanding lawyer." He is prominent for his cross-border work for US Ex-Im Bank, and provides regular input on its export credit financing matters. His broad experience enables him to provide cogent advice on EETCs, securitizations and insolvency.
Geoffrey Kass is described as an "excellent leasing lawyer" and is noted for being "very good at complex aircraft-backed debt transactions." His clients include notable financial institutions such as Macquarie. He acted as a lead lawyer for Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS) on its $500 million portfolio acquisition of 12 leased aircraft.
New York office managing shareholder Jeffrey Veber also had a lead role on the AWAS portfolio acquisition deal. He wins plaudits for his commercial approach, with market commentators noting that "he gets the deal done."
THE FIRM This UK firm's New York office is highly active, and able to handle sophisticated cross-border aviation finance work including securitization matters. It advised Crédit Agricole in a $390 million Willis Engine securitization via senior secured notes. Other marquee clients of the practice include AerCap and BNP Paribas.
Commercial Awareness "A market leader with lots of experience and quality partners and associates."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Howitt co-heads the Americas asset finance practice. Sources concur that he is "very smart and capable" and note that he "really puts an expert view on things." He recently advised Milestone Aviation on a $355 million helicopter portfolio financing deal.
Zarrar Sehgal co-heads the practice alongside Howitt, and also chairs the transport and logistics group. He took the lead role on the Willis Engine securitization matter. Sources laud him as "an excellent aviation banker: he has strong relationships and strong capital markets skills." He also advises BNP Paribas.
Geoffrey White attracts market attention for his skill in handling matters in the Latin American domain. "His knowledge is unsurpassed, and he is bright and very hard-working," relate enthusiastic sources. His highlights include acting for AWAS as the borrower on a $120 million revolving pre-delivery payments (PDP) facility.
Emily DiStefano recently joined the team from Debevoise & Plimpton. DiStefano has a varied aviation practice including EETC and leveraged finance matters. Clients describe her as "measured, thoughtful and insightful."
THE FIRM This firm has built a respected profile for advising on high-profile matters for airlines, both foreign and domestic. The team is adept at handling all aspects of aviation finance including acquisition, financing and leasing transactions.
Sources say: "They really know the legal underpinnings that relate specifically to aircraft."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Piels is one of the firm's best-known partners for aviation finance. He attracts considerable market acclaim for his financing practice, with sources noting that he is "very strong in operating lease matters."
John Pritchard is a much sought-after aviation finance specialist. Sources have "nothing but good things to say about him," and report that he is "great at managing deals, and in negotiation he is very reasonable and extremely knowledgeable."
Those seeking a "very smart analytical lawyer" with a keen eye for detail would do well to consider retaining the services of Fred Bass, according to sources. Aircraft finance and leasing are the cornerstones of his practice.
MJ Spelliscy is a partner in the firm's structured finance practice and is known for her prowess in asset-based transactional work. "She is extremely responsive, and really good at helping us talk through our provisions and what is reasonable," report admiring sources.
Phillip Durham's recent promotion to partnership confirms his status as one of the rising stars of aviation finance. Sources praise his commercial awareness and widely tip him for a big future.
THE FIRM Domestic airline representation and bankruptcy work form the mainstays of the aviation practice at this firm. The team advised American Airlines on its high-profile Chapter 11 case, a matter that involved restructuring of financing arrangements for more than 1,000 aircraft. Other key clients include Delta Air Lines.
Sources say: "They do a quality job."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Curry heads up the firm's aviation practice. His transactional capabilities include secured lending and complex financings in connection with aircraft. He acted as the lead lawyer on the American Airlines restructuring. Sources were quick to describe him as "a high-quality, intelligent, capable and analytical lawyer."
THE FIRM This firm continues to impress, acting for some of the most important names in the aviation industry. It has advised on a number of aircraft lease restructurings and secured financings. Highlights for the practice include acting for Continental Airlines in an $892 million public offering in connection with 18 new aircraft.
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Hoyns receives special mention for his command of high-value capital markets transactions, with sources noting that he is "a very experienced practitioner in EETC work and he brings enormous history to the area." He was lead attorney on the Continental Airlines public offering.
Steven Chung enjoys a rising profile in the market. Sources say he is "an excellent lawyer who is thorough and commercial, and brings strong technical and marketing skills." His highlights include the representation of Wells Fargo Securities concerning a $320 million senior secured financing for AWAS.
Jeffrey Tenen recently joined the firm from Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Commentators describe him as "very detail-oriented but flexible enough to get deals done in a timely fashion."
THE FIRM This firm's aviation practice is recognized for its work with airlines and lessors. It acts for a number of impressive names, including Jackson Square Aviation, Boeing Capital and Emirates. Highlights include advising Apollo Aviation on a number of transactions in connection with aircraft purchase, lease, disassembly and disposal.
Sources say: "The work product of all these lawyers is outstanding."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sean Corrigan is well known for his work in the aviation finance sector. He was lead counsel for Emirates on a $587.5 million EETC transaction, concerning four A380 aircraft.
Marc Latman is a younger partner who courts praise for his skills and commitment. Sources agree that "he knows the documents and does the deals, he really understands the industry and has real passion for it." He acted for AWAS on negotiation of aircraft leasing and debt financing.
The "experienced and practical" James Tussing heads up the equipment finance group. He wins plaudits in the market for his "tremendous depth of experience" in areas including restructuring and debt and lease aviation financing. He led for Jackson Square Aviation in the negotiation of a commercial paper conduit facility.
THE FIRM This firm has a dedicated transportation finance practice, and counts both airline and banking entities on its client list. A number of blue-chip companies seek out its services, including Air Asia X, Crédit Agricole and JPMorgan Chase. The group recently advised Willis Lease Finance on a $390 million note issue.
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Bowers is known for his lender representation work, and was the lead adviser on the Willis Lease Finance matter. Sources deem him "very reasonable" to work with, and note that he is a "very knowledgeable structured finance lawyer."
Payson Coleman leads the firm's equipment finance practice. He is a skilled and effective practitioner whether advising on leases, finance or bankruptcy. His clients include equipment financiers and aircraft leasing companies.
Mark Lessard currently heads up the transportation finance practice. His broad client base sees him advising manufacturers, lenders and trustees in aviation finance matters. He recently advised Atlas Air on delivery financings for nine aircraft.
Michael Schumaecker has acted as counsel to a number of international airlines as well as to lenders and investors. He advised JPMorgan Chase as guaranteed lender on a $700 million aircraft financing for Cathay Pacific Airways. Sources describe him as "a very seasoned and experienced aviation lawyer."
THE FIRM This firm is known in the market for its lender representation. It benefits from the firm's broad international footprint, and has acted on a number of bankruptcy and workout matters with respect to the aviation industry.
Sources say: "It not only has expertise in aviation finance but also the ability to manage a large project over a number of offices with lawyers worldwide."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Smith wins plaudits as a commercially aware transactional lawyer. Sources say that he is "good to work with and very reasonable," and note that "he is extraordinarily clever at compromises that meet the needs of other parties." His client list comprises airlines such as Pegasus Airlines and Virgin Blue Airlines.
Richard Smith is an asset finance expert with an impressive profile in the aviation industry. Clients agree that he is "not only a good lawyer but can manage large multibillion-dollar projects involving a huge team."
Spanish speaker Christian Hansen practices in the Miami office. He elicits positive comments for his adroit handling of equipment leasing, aviation and workout matters. He has experience of lender and borrower representation, and has close connections with the Mexican aviation industry.
Ji Hoon Hong recently joined the team from Shearman & Sterling. Hong is a widely recognized lawyer who wins plaudits for the quality of his aviation capital markets and EETC work.
THE FIRM This three-partner aviation practice has a solid reputation for its transactional and bankruptcy work. The group recently advised Embraer in connection with the restructuring of Brazilian Export Credit Agency debt for 216 aircraft following the American Airlines bankruptcy. Other clients include Citibank.
Sources say: "A strong group of aviation professionals."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "highly commercial" Timothy Lynes attracts praise for his pragmatic deal-making capabilities. He had a lead role on the American Airlines bankruptcy work for Embraer.
Thomas Healey's broad experience has seen him act for lenders, governments and airlines. He recently advised Embraer on the restructuring of a 60-aircraft portfolio with Chautauqua Airlines.
THE FIRM This firm's dedicated aviation finance and leasing practice acts on high-level matters, such as advising eight interested parties on negotiations connected with the widely reported American Airlines bankruptcy proceedings. The team has also advised several European export credit agencies (ECA) and related lenders in relation to 14 aircraft financing transactions.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Mulitz heads up the practice. Sources laud his pragmatic style, describing him as "knowledgeable, capable and practical." He played a lead role on both the aforementioned American Airlines bankruptcy work and the ECA transactions.
Elizabeth Evans heads up the aviation finance practice at Jones Day. "Her deep knowledge of the industry has given us good market and business insight, as well as legal insight," report satisfied clients. She was lead adviser to Oak Hill Capital Management on a $236 million transaction for two new Boeing 777 aircraft.
Senior counsel Rory Kelleher of Sidley Austin LLP has a strong reputation for his aviation finance practice. He acts for a number of entities, including manufacturers, leasing companies and lenders.
Alan Brenner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is described as a "smart and capable" lawyer with "impressive negotiation skills." His highlights include advising a number of aircraft leasing creditors in relation to the American Airlines bankruptcy matter.
William Callaway practices with Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, LLP. He has built an enviable profile for his US Ex-Im Bank-related financing work. Sources delight in his "great judgment," commenting that "he is really easy to deal with, even in complicated, large structured finance deals."