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Baker McKenzie shines in multi-jurisdictional aviation financing transactions, utilising its broad office network. The Hong Kong team is led by Andrew Lockhart and Allen Ng; in Shanghai, Harvey Lau is a key name. With longstanding expertise in the market, the team enjoys strong relationships with major airlines across the continent, and also has experience advising leasing companies and banks.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP substantially boosted its aviation finance capabilities by acquiring respected boutique William KK Ho & Co. in July 2016. William Ho and Jackson Chow joined Nigel Ward in Hong Kong, making up part of an integrated global team that works closely with colleagues in Singapore and Beijing. Justin Sun left for Holman Fenwick Willan. On the ship finance side, the team acts for large lenders and leasing companies; key clients include Export-Import Bank of China and ICBC Financial Leasing.

Paul Greenwell is a key name at Clifford Chance, with broad experience in Japan and China-related aviation financing and leasing; in 2016, he advised NWS Holdings and Chow Tai Fook on a joint venture with leasing company Aviation Capital Group. Alastair MacAulay is the name to note on the shipping side.

Clyde & Co LLP is noted for its ‘commercial approach and expertise across the key shipping jurisdictions’. Practice head Conor Warde recently advised a Korea-based client on the financing of five containerships in a transaction that involved English, Hong Kong, US and Marshall Islands law. Clients also include Minsheng Financial Leasing, ICBC Financial Leasing and GE Capital.

Holman Fenwick Willan has a noted shipping practice in Hong Kong and the region. The multilingual Patrick Cheung is a key name, as is Henry Fung, who splits his time between the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. With regards to aviation finance, the firm boosted its practice in 2016 with the hire of Justin Sun from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

First-rate law firmInce & Co saw significant growth in 2015 and 2016 with the arrival of Balbir Bindra, whose expertise takes in multi-jurisdictional asset, project and structured finance deals, and counsel Yeon Jin Seong, who is well versed in Korea-related transactions. The firm retains strong relationships with major Asian banks, which turn to it in high-value shipping finance transactions. High praise is levelled at David Beaves and Gary Wong.

With a focus on complex and high-value work, Mayer Brown JSM excels in both ship finance and aviation finance. Recent highlights in the former saw Maggie Cheung and Bill Amos represent Chiyu Banking Corporation during the mortgage enforcement over a cargo ship and a subsequent High Court case relating to the sale proceeds of the vessel, which involved claims brought on behalf of 80 former crewmembers. Richard Stock’s aviation finance team includes the trilingual Ashley Wong, who is regularly instructed by PRC-based clients, and consultant Stuart Miller, who is ‘technically sound and commercial in his approach’.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, the highly regarded Jonathan Silver is ‘very engaged and very effective in all aspects of ship finance transactions involving Hong Kong and China’. He recently advised Standard Chartered on a $245m loan for the construction of six bulk carriers. Davide Barzilai has a broad banking and finance practice and is also recommended.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP established its Hong Kong presence in May 2016, opening an office and hiring well-respected aviation finance expert Paul Jebely, along with his team of associates. With significant experience advising both lenders and airlines, the team counts Investec Bank, AerCap and Nok Air among its clients.

Reed Smith Richards Butler is a well-known name in shipping finance globally; its Hong Kong practice had another strong year, continuing to be instructed by its broad client base of shipowners, leasing companies and financial institutions. For key client CIMC Group, a cross-office team recently advised on its joint venture with German-based Jüngerhans Maritime Services and the $220m purchase and lease financing of container vessels. Peter Lee and Chris Tang are the key contacts.

The ‘consistently reliable’ team at Stephenson Harwood is highlighted for its ‘24/7 service’ and ‘wealth of industry knowledge and experience’. In 2015 and 2016, the practice continued to receive instructions from its well-established client base, and picked up a number of new clients including major leasing companies and financial institutions. Aviation finance expert Simon Wong is ‘good at solving problems so that the parties can reach an agreement easily’. Hongkai Zhou oversees the shipping finance group, which includes the ‘detailed, always contactable and responsiveStephanie Wong and recently promoted partner Roy Chan.

The ‘highly efficient and proactive team’ at Watson Farley & Williams is led by Madeline Leong, a ‘leader in her field’. It also includes Christoforos Bisbikos, who is qualified in Greece and England and Wales, and a large pool of associates. Leong recently advised ICBC Leasing on the financing for the construction and acquisition of a floating liquefaction natural gas (FLNG) unit.

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