United Kingdom > London > Finance > Asset finance and leasing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Asset finance and leasing
- Hogan Lovells International LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Kaye Scholer LLP
- Shoosmiths LLP
David Baker -
Ince & Co
- Justin Benson - White & Case LLP
James Cameron -
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
- William Glaister - Clifford Chance LLP
- Simon Gwynne - Hogan Lovells International LLP
- Simon Hartley - Norton Rose Fulbright
- Mario Jacovides - Allen & Overy LLP
- Greg Kahn - Dentons
- Rory MacCarthy - Addleshaw Goddard LLP
- Robert Murphy - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- Mark Russell - Stephenson Harwood
- David Smith - Allen & Overy LLP
- Harry Theochari - Norton Rose Fulbright
- Nigel Thomas - Watson Farley & Williams LLP
- David Baker -
Allen & Overy LLP is ‘an undoubted leader’ for asset finance transactions covering the spectrum of transportation asset classes. Headed by the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Mario Jacovides, the team is known for its ability to advise on highly structured and innovative transactions, and recently advised UK Export Finance on the $913m financing for the purchase of four Airbus A380-800 aircraft by Emirates, in what was the world’s first ECA-supported Sukuk issuance and the largest ECA-supported capital markets offering in the aviation space. In another novel deal, the ‘very commercial’ Paul Nelson acted for Turkish Airlines on what was the first enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) issuance by a Turkish airline. On the shipping front, Kevin Young acted for the banks, including ING, on the debt portion of the long-term Japanese operating lease (JOLCO) financing of one new 14,000 TEU vessel to be operated by Seaspan. Other recommended partners include Harry Upcott, who is ‘effectively able to balance legal knowledge with a strong sense of commerciality’, David Smith, and rail expert Jonathan Bevan.
Singled out for its ‘exceptional aviation market knowledge’, Clifford Chance LLP is able to deploy multi-jurisdictional teams to act on major cross-border mandates for lenders and leasing companies. Team head William Glaister (who is ‘the market leader for aviation finance’) recently advised DVB Bank on a $667m debut securitisation through its investment fund Deucalion. Oliver Hipperson (‘an excellent asset finance generalist’) advised BNP Paribas on the K-Sure-supported financing to container shipping company CMA CGM for three container ships under construction at a Korean shipyard.
The ‘very commercial’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘an outstanding service’ that covers the full range of transportation finance matters, with clients benefiting from a ‘very well-connected offering’ between the firm’s international offices. The ‘exceptionally talented’ Duncan Batchelor heads the global aviation group, which was boosted by the arrival of Simon Chamberlain from Bird & Bird LLP in November 2015. Batchelor recently advised a syndicate of banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the establishment of a JOLCO facility for British Airways to finance six Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The ‘open-minded yet very practical’ Simon Hartley takes the lead on many of the shipping deals handled by the group, and recently advised Saga Cruises on the acquisition of a new 236-metre luxury cruise vessel. ‘Sharp and pragmatic’ finance lawyer Eleanor Martin is ‘extremely knowledgeable on offshore services transactions’. Other recommended partners include global head of transport Harry Theochari and head of rail Tom Johnson.
Aided by the firm’s increasingly expansive international network, Dentons provides ‘a real blue-chip service’ to aviation clients including operating lessors and airlines such as Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon. Co-head Paul Holland has been handling a number of Japanese tax structured financings for Emirates, while Greg Kahn – who has a focus on structured finance transactions within the aviation and shipping sectors – recently advised TUI Cruises on chartering and purchasing arrangements for several cruise vessels. Nick Chandler, William Gibson and Sarah Dyke are also recommended. Former co-head Matthew Harvey joined Gowling WLG in May 2016.
Stephenson Harwood has a ‘top-flight’ ship financing practice led by the ‘excellent’ Mark Russell. Its strong ties with leading banks in the sector (including DNB Bank and Deutsche Bank) makes it a natural choice to advise on new money transactions, as well as being well placed to act on restructuring matters aided by a ‘strong insolvency team’ that includes the ‘intelligent, articulate and shrewd’ Susan Moore. Key work on the rail front included Graeme McLellan’s advice to Rock Infrastructure and SL Capital on the development of a new and innovative financing solution for rail rolling stock, followed by the successful implementation of that structure on the £200m Moorgate procurement. Jonathan Ward and Ian Mace are also recommended for ship financing, while aviation specialist Richard Parsons regularly acts for banks and operating lessors.
‘One of the leading shipping finance firms’, Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a team of 17 ship finance partners in London, which provides ‘business-oriented and innovative advice’ to both lenders and owners. The global practice is headed by the ‘clever and pragmatic’ Lindsey Keeble, who advised Citibank as co-ordinator for a syndicate of lenders on a $357m term loan facility for Subsea 7, to fund the construction of two new oilfield service vessels. The ‘commercial and proactive’ Michael O’Donnell recently advised Nordea Bank on the upsizing of a loan facility to Exmar LPG BVBA (a joint venture between Exmar and Teekay Corporation) to include a $310m revolving credit facility and a $150m term loan facility. The ‘excellent’ Rex Rosales leads the aviation team, which includes ‘rising star’ Jahnavi Ramachandran.
Led by the ‘excellent’ Justin Benson, White & Case LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘proactive and commercial advice’ to clients in the aviation sector, including commercial banks such as Deutsche Bank, ECA providers including UK Export Finance, operating lessors such as Jackson Square Aviation, and operators such as Thomas Cook Group. The practice is also continuing to build up its shipping and rail capabilities, with Alison Weal attracting praise for her ‘astute and concise analysis of transactions’ in the shipping sector; and the ‘smart and efficient’ Louise Mor noted for her rail expertise. Adrian Beasley (who attracts praise for his ‘ability to cut through the nonsense and get to the real issues’) continues to represent CIT Group on the ECA-supported financing of over 50 Airbus aircraft on lease to various airlines.
Led by Robert Fugard, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘creative and robust’ advice to banks, lessors and operators. It covers the full range of asset classes and, working in concert with firm’s New York office, the team is well placed to advise on more complex debt transactions that are increasingly common on the aviation front. In an illustration of the convergence of the use of New York and English law, Fugard advised Norwegian Air on its private placement governed by New York law (the leasing aspects were governed by UK law) in order to facilitate the financing of six new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Fugard also advised Vietnam Airlines on its debut $580m financing of four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft provided by Export-import Bank of the United States. ‘Rolling stock expert’ Simon Gwynne focuses on rail financings and Shalini Bhuchar has been particularly active advising funds and banks on shipping transactions out of Africa.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘hardworking’ two-partner team excels at highly structured deals, often requiring US capital markets advice (where it is aided by its strong New York pedigree), for funds, lessors, alternative capital providers and banks including Aercap, Apollo, JP Morgan and Highbridge. ‘Superb’ co-head James Cameron advised Aldus Aviation and Magnetar Capital on a $540m asset backed securitisation of a portfolio of 30 aircraft owned by Aldus. The firm has also acted on some big-ticket maritime work, and recently advised the ad-hoc group of new lenders on the $1.4bn restructuring of TORM. The arrival in June 2015 of the ‘highly commercial’ Nick Swinburne from Clifford Chance LLP has further strengthened the practice.
Led by the ‘highly strategic and technical’ Russell Clifford, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s two-partner practice has a particularly strong presence in rail transactions, where it acts for clients including Beacon Rail Leasing and Bombardier. Clifford advises Angel Trains on all its leasing and procurement transactions including on the re-leasing of fleets of trains owned by Angel Trains and operated under various franchises. The ‘excellent’ Jamie Wiseman-Clarke is also recommended, and consultant Tom Budgett provides ‘confident and commercial advice’ on aviation finance transactions.
Clyde & Co LLP’s five-partner team focuses on work within the shipping sector, where its clients include banks and operators such as Norwegian Cruise Line, DVB Bank and Oceanco. Dean Norton handles mainstream ship finance transactions as well as offshore mandates; recent highlights include advising West Africa Gas as project sponsors on the financing for the importation of LNG into Ghana for regasification and onward sale to the Ghanaian government. Paul Turner is noted for his multi-faceted knowledge of ship sale ownership and John Leonida has a strong reputation in the super yacht sector.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s asset finance team frequently acts on big-ticket aviation finance mandates, and works alongside its strong capital markets and private equity practices. ‘Excellent’ team head Robert Murphy is well known in the aviation industry.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ two-partner team provides ‘highly technical and commercial advice’ to banks, airlines and lessors including DVB, Emirates and AWAS. The ‘experienced, knowledgeable and attentive’ Debra Erni advised Jackson Square Aviation on numerous purchase and leaseback transactions for multiple aircraft to Spanish airlines Air Europa and Vueling. The ‘efficient and responsive’ Graham Tyler is also recommended.
Benefiting from strong finance and sector knowledge within the shipping sector, Reed Smith LLP provides ‘commercial and highly innovative advice’ to banks such as DNB and Barclays, funds including York Capital and Oak Hill Advisors, and shipowners such as Sovcomflot. Rob Wilkins is noted for his ‘consistently impressive advice’ on new money financings and in the restructuring space; as well as his strong track record advising purchasers of distressed debt portfolios in the shipping space, Wilkins advised Hayfin as lender on a $100m refinancing of vessels owned by Genco. Team head Philip Rymer attracts praise for his ‘no-nonsense and practical advice’.
Vedder Price is able to combine the firm’s excellent reputation in the US with an increasingly visible London presence to advise an impressive roster of aviation clients including AerCap, Aircastle and GSI Engines. Key figures include Gavin Hill (who attracts praise for his ‘keen eye for detail when drafting’), and the ‘calm but authoritative’ Neil Poland, who has ‘vast experience of all varieties of aviation work’ and recently acted for China Aircraft Leasing Company on its first export credit financing.
At Addleshaw Goddard LLP, the ‘hugely experienced’ Rory MacCarthy handles financing work for a variety of airlines, manufacturers, leasing companies and banks. He continues to handle a significant amount of work for British Airways including advising it on the wet lease of two Boeing 737-700 aircraft from Danish airline Jet Time. Out of Manchester, Andrew Maskill and Rebecca Williams handle mid-ticket rail and ship leasing transactions.
Led by Paul Briggs out of London and also regularly working with lawyers in the firm’s Frankfurt, Singapore and UAE offices, Bird & Bird LLP’s practice advises airlines and lessors on the full range of aircraft and engine finance matters. Briggs acted alongside Brett Hailey on Emirates’ leasing of three B777 and seven A380 from BBAM. Other clients include Avolon, Virgin Atlantic and ICBC Leasing. Simon Chamberlain joined Norton Rose Fulbright in November 2015.
CMS is particularly strong in work sitting at the nexus of projects and shipping finance, where it can bring to bear significant cross-border prowess as well as energy-related sector strength. The ‘smart and hardworking’ Tim Elliott is praised for his ‘calm and attentive’ demeanour and is particularly strong in the shipping/offshore sector; he recently advised GasLog on the $1.3bn syndicated and ECA-supported facility for the construction and acquisition of eight LNG vessels. ‘Exceptional’ and ‘experienced’ aviation finance expert Keith Wilson provides ‘creative and robust advice’ to banks and lessors including Erste Bank and ICBC Leasing. As part of his broader corporate practice, Bill Carr regularly handles commercial transactions in the rail sector.
Led by Alan Cunningham, DLA Piper’s two-partner team acts for banks, lessors, airlines and manufacturers on commercial aviation and corporate jet transactions. ‘Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and creative’ senior associate Richard Skipper is an ‘exceptionally talented aviation finance lawyer’ and acted alongside Cunningham for Flybe on the $76m finance and leasing of five aircraft from Avation PLC. On the shipping front, the duo recently advised Investec Asset Finance on its maiden container finance deal with South Korea shipping operator Sinokor Merchant Marine.
Noted for its ‘intellectual rigour tempered with pragmatism’, Holman Fenwick Willan’s seven-partner team is led by Elinor Dautlich and acts for a range of shipping clients including DNB, Nordea Bank, ACS Shipping and Genting Hong Kong. The ‘affable and commercial’ Tony Rice handles new-money deals and refinancings for banks including HSBC Bank, which he recently advised as arranger and bookrunner on a €315m ECA-supported facility to finance Saga Cruises’ acquisition of a cruise vessel. John Forrester and Jay Tooker are also recommended for shipping matters, while ‘hardworking and commercial’ senior associate Barbara Pansadoro has a strong pedigree for aviation finance. The team was also boosted in October 2015 by the arrival of aviation and ship finance expert Stephen Marais from Ince & Co.
Ince & Co’s longstanding ship finance practice has close ties with many of the leading banks active in the sector including DNB, DVB and Nordea, making the firm a regular fixture in significant new money transactions and more recently restructurings/refinancings. Team head David Baker is acting for DNB as a creditor on the restructuring of Italian shipping company RBD Armatori. Notable hires include superyacht expert Duncan Bateson from TLT, who joined in December 2015, and aviation finance partner Will Cooper, who joined in November 2015 from the ECGD. Stephen Marais recently joined Holman Fenwick Willan.
Linklaters LLP leverages the expertise of its capital markets and core banking practices to provide an ‘exceptional level of service’ on asset finance to clients including VistaJet, UBS, Centerbridge and RBS. The ‘responsive and creative’ Olga Petrovic is well regarded in the asset finance space.
Headed by the ‘commercial and user-friendly’ Norman Fraser, REN Legal’s three-partner practice provides a ‘value-for-money service’ to aviation clients including Emirates, Deucalian Capital Aviation Funds and AerCap. Both Fraser and the ‘insightful and knowledgeable’ Christopher Jackson have particular niche expertise in aircraft engine leasing transactions.
Slaughter and May handles asset finance mandates within the aviation and shipping sectors as part of its broader finance capability. Andrew Johnson is the primary contact. British Airways is a key client.
The arrivals of Mark Moody (who is noted for his ‘sound knowledge of the aviation industry’) and Christopher Boresjo in 2016 from Simmons & Simmons has given Winston & Strawn London LLP’s London office a credible asset finance capability. Clients include BNP Paribas, Finnair and Aviation Capital Group.
The ‘experienced’ Philip Perrotta leads Kaye Scholer LLP’s practice, which provides ‘an excellent and accessible service’ to clients including VietJet Air, Veling and Jackson Square Aviation. The ‘flexible and adaptive’ Sidanth Rajagopal recently advised TruJet on the leasing of two ATR 72-500 aircraft.
At Shoosmiths LLP, the ‘highly commercial’ Chris McClure ‘has been involved in the rail sector since privatisation and therefore really knows the industry’. McClure recently advised Porterbrook Leasing on the procurement and leasing of new fleets of rolling stock for use by the Southern, Thameslink and Great Western franchises. The team was also strengthened by the arrival in June 2015 of the ‘excellent’ Martin Fleetwood from Bevan Brittan LLP.
At Blake Morgan LLP, the business-savvy Ben Graham-Evans provides ‘practical advice’ to lessors, financiers and operators on commercial debt and ECA-supported financings. Clients include Air France KLM and Barclays.
Burges Salmon LLP has ‘an excellent reputation for rail work’ and acts for train operating companies and financiers including Abellio Greater Anglia, RBS and Merseyrail. Brioney Thomas is recommended for rolling stock leasing arrangements.
At Fieldfisher, Andrew Evans acts for private wealth banks on the financing of super yachts and corporate jets.
Hill Dickinson LLP’s Panos Pourgourides advises high-net-worth individuals and lenders including BNP Paribas and JP Morgan on super yacht financings. Malcolm Entwistle handles mainstream shipping transactional and finance work as part of his broader corporate practice.
Heavyweight US firm Holland & Knight (UK) LLP has a nascent asset finance practice in London following its acquisition of aviation boutique Clark Ricketts LLP. Robert Ricketts is well known in the industry.
At Osborne Clarke, the ‘excellent’ Clive Smith has been acting for Eversholt Rail Group on its finance, acquisition and leasing of two large fleets of CAF Civity rolling stock.