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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Asset finance and leasing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Asset finance and leasing
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Leveraging the firm’s strong banking ties, in addition to its wide-reaching international network, Allen & Overy LLP provides a β€˜very professional and efficient’ service that runs the gamut of transportation asset classes. β€˜Knowledgeable and pragmatic’ team head Mario Jacovides β€˜provides solutions-oriented advice’; on the aviation front, he recently acted for DVB Bank on the first ever Japanese operating lease with a call option (JOLCO) financing for a Turboprop aircraft. Jacovides was part of a team including the β€˜excellent’ Paul Nelson advising the arranger, guarantor and trustee on the world’s first-ever Euro-denominated, ECA-backed bond for five ATR aircraft. In another highlight, Nelson led the team advising three different syndicates of banks on the Islamic Ijaara financing of twelve A330s and eight A320 aircraft to IAFC for lease to Saudi Arabia Airlines. As part of his wide-ranging asset finance expertise, David Smith regularly picks up significant shipping work, and acted alongside practitioners in the firm’s Moscow office for Sberbank on the $340m financing of three ice breaking tanker vessels for Sovcomflot Group; this was the first structured ship financing by a Russian bank and the largest commercial deal completed by a single bank without syndication. Kevin Young is also highly rated for shipping finance work and recently advised Excelerate Energy on the sale and leaseback of an LNG floating storage and regasification vessel (FSRU) arranged by CMB Financial Leasing. The β€˜business-oriented’ Harry Upcott and rail expert Jonathan Bevan are also recommended. Other clients include Nordic Aviation Capital, ING Bank, BNP Paribas and Falko. Dylan Potter joined Vedder Price

Praised for its β€˜client-friendly approach’, Clifford Chance LLP’s β€˜very professional and highly talented’ four-partner team has expertise across the spectrum of financing deals in the aviation, rail and shipping markets. Benefiting from asset finance practitioners in key global jurisdictions (including in the US and Asia), clients appreciate the firm’s ability to work on β€˜highly structured, complex or specialised financings that require attention to details involving multiple tax and legal jurisdictions’. Global head of asset finance William Glaister has an β€˜excellent reputation in the market’ and is co-ordinating the firm’s work (in concert with lawyers out of the firm’s Singapore, Hong Kong and New York office) in relation to GECAS’s sale of a portfolio of 45 aircraft to Avolon. The β€˜smart, dedicated, professional and easy to work with’ Paul Carrington provides an β€˜attentive and detail-focused’ service to clients in the rail and aviation sectors; he recently advised ING Capital on a $139m pre-delivery financing facility to Ethiopian Airlines for the purposes of financing pre-delivery payments to Airbus for up to eight new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, scheduled for delivery to Ethiopian Airlines throughout 2017 and 2018. Ranbir Hunjan has an excellent reputation in the market for handling highly structured aviation finance deals; his recent work includes acting for Natixis as arranger of financing structures for A380 aircraft using a Cayman Islands or Abu Dhabi Global Market orphan SPC as borrower/AOE and lessor to Emirates or Etihad pursuant to an operating lease. On the shipping front, the β€˜excellent’ Oliver Hipperson has a strong reputation in London for handling complex ship finance mandates; he recently advised Maersk on the lease restructuring, and subsequent sale and charter-back, of eight container ships to a subsidiary of Bank of Communications Financial Leasing. Hipperson is also active in the secondary debt trading market within the asset finance sector. Director Christopher Hardisty has strong relationships with lessors, banks and export credit agencies active in the aviation sector. Other clients include Investec, Deutsche Bank, Avolon and HSBC.

With 20 partners focused on transportation finance based in London and also aided by practitioners throughout Europe, Asia Pacific and US, the β€˜responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright has the β€˜depth of resources, expertise and multi-disciplinary capability’ to handle a large volume of matters across the aviation, shipping and rail sectors. The β€˜responsive, tactful and experienced’ Duncan Batchelor provides β€˜balanced advice in complex situations’ often involving highly structured, multi-jurisdictional issues; he recently advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) on a JOLCO and lease financing for three Airbus A320 aircraft for Pegasus Airlines. The β€˜excellent’ Giles Brand is noted for his strength across the asset classes and recently advised Amedeo Air Four Plus Epsilon on an innovative leasing structure with HSBC Middle East Leasing Partnership. Working alongside lawyers in the firm’s Tokyo office, the β€˜very commercial’ Simon Lew recently advised ORIX Corporation on the acquisition of a portfolio of performing shipping loans from RBS. The β€˜highly regarded’ Simon Hartley handles work for a broad range of lenders and borrowers in ship finance transactions. Hartley has been particularly active in the cruise ship sector and recently acted for Italian export credit agency SACE and UniCredit, as agent, on ECA term loan facilities to finance three Virgin Voyages cruise vessels. On the rail front, Tom Johnson represented Commonwealth Bank of Australia on a Β£900m rail financing in partnership with train leasing company Angel Trains; in what is one of the largest-ever privately procured train orders in the UK, the financing will be used to fund a new fleet of 665 Bombardier Aventra trains for Abellio’s new East Anglia franchise. Other recommended practitioners include the β€˜brilliant’ Eleanor Martin; β€˜excellent’ global asset finance head Harry Theochari, who is singled out for ship financing matters; Simon Chamberlain, for aviation; and senior associate Will Alete. Apollo Aviation, Carnival, Monarch, Department for Transport and Saga Cruises are additional clients of the team.

Although it is active across all transportation classes, the β€˜very dedicated’ team at Stephenson Harwood is best known for its β€˜powerhouse ship finance’ offering, which acts for banks and operators on both new money deals as well as restructurings. β€˜Market leader’ Mark Russell recently advised Nordea Bank Norge, as agent, on a $895m syndicated financing of a 36-tanker fleet. The β€˜experienced’ Jonathan Ward is particularly skilled at handling cross-border shipping mandates in Europe and the Far East; he recently advised the Export-Import Bank of China on the $2bn loan facility to allow state-owned Brazilian company Petrobas to pre-finance resources needed for 2017 and diversify its sources of finance. Global head of ship finance Ian Mace has recently handled numerous matters for ABN Amro, including advising it on a facility that includes a hunting licence secured against a fleet of existing vessels. Head of the aviation finance practice Richard Parsons is praised for his β€˜ability to succinctly explain complex issues’, particularly pertaining to operating lessor financings. In addition, Parsons has been active on aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals including advising a leading operating lessor on the disposal of a portfolio of 37 aircraft and the servicer of that portfolio on ongoing portfolio administration. The β€˜very commercial and thorough’ Graeme McLellan leads on the rail finance front, and is assisted by Lisa Marks, who also handles general leasing work for banks and other financial institutions. Other clients include Macquarie Bank, Flybe, Abellio East Anglia and Arriva Trains Wales. The firm joined by experienced ship finance partner Dean Norton from Clyde & Co LLP in May 2017.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s 17-partner team provides an β€˜excellent service’ rooted in β€˜in-depth knowledge of the law and market’. Able to draw upon asset finance practitioners across all ten of its international offices, the team remains best known for its β€˜top-notch’ ship finance practice, which benefits from deeply entrenched relationships with financial institutions, owners and investors. The β€˜very commercial’ Michael O’Donnell has β€˜long-established expertise’ in the shipping industry and recently represented Nordea Bank on the provision of a $409.5m revolving credit facility for international shipping company Euronav (replacing a term loan on more favourable terms for the borrower). Firm chairman Nigel Thomas has a focus on international ship finance deals and recently represented Teekay Tankers on a $894m refinancing, which included a term loan and a revolving credit facility. The β€˜very thorough’ Jahnavi Ramachandran is β€˜able to explain complex issues in concise language’ across an array of aviation finance matters; she recently advised TC-CIT, a joint venture leasing vehicle, on the sale and leaseback of two A330 aircraft. The β€˜excellent’ Rex Rosales is also well regarded in the aviation sector and handles the full range of structured financings, aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals, and leasing structures. The β€˜very proactive and solutions-oriented’ Lindsey Keeble is recommended for ship financing involving export credit backed products and project financing transactions across a variety of maritime and offshore assets.

Aided by a significant international network of offices, in addition to complementary practice areas including capital markets, restructuring and private equity, White & Case LLP’s four-partner team is well positioned to handle a wide range of matters, from plain vanilla financings to highly structured mandates, involving a range of financial products. The team is praised in particular for its β€˜depth of knowledge in the aviation sector’ and strong relationships with lessors, lenders and export credit agencies. The β€˜excellent’ Adrian Beasley has strong credentials in the aviation sector and continues to advise CIT Group on the ECA-supported finance of more than 50 Airbus aircraft deliveries on lease to various airlines. β€˜Very commercial’ team head Justin Benson β€˜combines real experience of the requirements of lessors with top-level debt financing capabilities’; he recently acted for numerous banks including DVB and BNP Paribas on the $515m limited recourse portfolio financing of fourteen aircraft. The firm has also been particularly active on restructuring-related matters within the shipping sector as demonstrated by its recent role for the secured lenders of Torm on its insolvency. Alison Weal provides β€˜astute and concise analysis of transactions and documentations’ across a range of asset classes including shipping. At associate level, the β€˜very detail-oriented’ Andrew Harper and David Wright are also recommended. Other clients include Barclays, BNP Paribas, Jackson Square Aviation and the Thomas Cook Group. Louise Mor joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP in 2017.

The β€˜very knowledgeable’ and β€˜commercial’ team at Dentons acts for a varied mix of operators, lessors, banks and manufacturers on finance transactions within the aviation sector. Paul Holland has a focus on Middle East-related matters and recently acted for Emirates on eight JOLCOs for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777ER aircraft, arranged by Credit Agricole CIB and niche aviation finance advisers Veling. The β€˜excellent’ Greg Kahn regularly handles ship finance mandates for clients including VTB Bank, which he recently advised on a $260m loan for Sovcomflot for the construction of the first ice class LNG vessel and for TUI UK on its acquisition of a 915-cabin cruise ship "Legend of the Seas" from Royal Carribean Cruises. Other recommended partners include the β€˜very intelligent’ Sarah Dyke, Nick Chandler and Serge Sergiou. William Gibson joined Vedder Price in June 2017.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s four-partner team has a focus on the aviation sector and is active for clients including banks, lessors and operators on the financing of assets utilising bank debt, in addition to capital markets structures. Leveraging the firm’s US offices, the team continues to pick up instructions from clients which require the implementation of New York-law governed debt. In a deal which involved substantial input from the firm’s New York office, team head Robert Fugard co-ordinated the firm’s advice to Norwegian Air Shuttle on its enhanced equipment trust (EETC) financing of ten B737-800 aircraft. As part of his broad-ranging aviation finance expertise, Fugard has been involved in numerous portfolio acquisitions and disposals, including acting for AerGen Aviation Finance on its acquisition of a portfolio of ten narrow-body aircraft from Macquarie AirFinance together with the subsequent warehouse and ABS financing of its fleet. Recently promoted to partner, Richard Goss has a burgeoning aviation finance practice; his recent work includes advising Babcock on numerous lease financing transactions for its new and existing helicopter fleet. Shalini Bhuchar is active advising funds and banks on shipping transactions out of Africa. Outside of the aviation sector, Simon Gwynne provides a β€˜very commercial and thorough’ service to participants in the rail and shipping industries. Other clients include African Export-Import Bank, UBS, RBS/Lombard and SMBC. Robin Hallam recently became a consultant at Bird & Bird LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP recruited several associates from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; they join a two-partner group that is primarily focused on the aviation sector, and which is able to leverage the vast experience and expertise of the very well-regarded team in New York, ensuring clients are well served on highly structured mandates which may require US capital markets advice. The firm provides β€˜very robust and commercial advice’ to leasing and financing companies including BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Avolon and Aercap. Co-head Nick Swinburne recently advised Accipiter Holdings on its inaugural $1.2bn third -arty financing of 43 aircraft. With significant support from the firm’s Singapore and New York offices, Swinburne also recently led the team’s advice to Avolon Aerospace Leasing on its acquisition of a portfolio of 45 aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services. β€˜Very experienced and well-regarded’ co-head James Cameron has been instrumental in developing the flourishing London practice; in addition to his β€˜first-rate’ aviation finance expertise, he is also picking up a steady flow of shipping mandates. Special counsel Richard Walton is well regarded in the aviation finance sector, in particular for structured finance transactions, including for work within the growing non-US EETC market.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides a β€˜responsive and cost-effective service’ and is best-known for its work in the rail sector where its clients include Angel Trains and Beacon Rail. Involved in all of Angel Trains’ leasing and procurement financings, as well as on some financing matters, the firm recently advised it on the procurement, leasing and financing of 665 new Bombardier Aventra electric multiple-unit passenger vehicles as part of Abellio’s winning East Anglia rail franchise bid. Asset finance head Russell Clifford led on this deal and also co-ordinated the firm’s efforts, along with lawyers in Germany, on its representation of Beacon Rail on its acquisition of Ascendos Rail Leasing. The β€˜excellent’ Jamie Wiseman-Clarke is also recommended for rail finance work. Consultant Tom Budgett leads the firm’s efforts on the aviation front and recently advised CCB Aviation Corporation on the sale and leaseback of eleven aircraft with Wizz Air. β€˜Very approachable’ consultant Rebecca Quayle provides β€˜practical and resourceful solutions’ to numerous clients in the aviation industry including CityJet.

The β€˜knowledgeable and responsive’ five-partner aviation finance practice at Bird & Bird LLP provides a β€˜deep product suite at a competitive price’ to an increasingly balanced array of clients including airlines (Air Asia, Etihad) and lessors (Aviation Capital Group, Avolon). The arrival in May 2016 of the β€˜very commercial, bright and talented’ Jim Bell from Allen & Overy LLP has brought about instructions on the lender side from the likes of JP Morgan; β€˜genuinely one of the very rare aviation lawyers who combines strong technical expertise with an acute business sense’, Bell recently worked alongside lawyers in the firm’s Frankfurt office on the representation of emp structured assets, as arranger and bookrunner, on a sale and leaseback with Emirates which involved a complex financing structure including an innovative blend of both commercial debt and multi-tranched capital market notes. The β€˜very responsive and experienced’ Brett Hailey is also recommended, as is the β€˜very commercial’ Paul Briggs, who is noted for his β€˜strong advice on the practical aspects of operating leases’. The β€˜very experienced’ Robin Hallam recently joined as a consultant from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Clyde & Co LLP has a β€˜strong reputation’ within the shipping sector. β€˜Very knowledgeable about the marine industry’, Stuart McAlpine provides β€˜clear and sound advice’ to a range of shipping clients and has developed a particular area of strength within the LNG sector. In this regard, he recently advised Dynagas Holding on the long-term vessel chartering of six ice-glass tankers to Yamal LNG. Paul Turner has significant experience advising on ship sale and purchase transactions and has been advising The Norwegian Cruise Line Group on various ship financing, contracting and delivery arrangements involving luxury cruise ships built in European shipyards. John Leonida is recommended for his work within the superyacht sector. On the aviation front, Mark Bisset is particularly noted for his corporate jet expertise. Dean Norton joined Stephenson Harwood in May 2017.

The β€˜responsive’ aviation finance team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP benefits from β€˜excellent industry knowledge’ and provides a β€˜thorough service’ to clients across a range of financings including export credit agency-supported transactions and other structured financings. Although it has successfully cultivated its own client base since the establishment of its London office in May 2014, it also benefits from the strong brand name the firm has for aviation finance in the US. β€˜Knowledgeable, attentive and commercial’ co-head Debra Erni acts for several lessor clients including Macquarie AirFinance, which she has advised on numerous operating and finance leases to several airlines during 2016 including TUI, Swiss Air and Blue Air. Erni also has strong ties with a number of Japanese clients including Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company which she advised on the sale of a portfolio of used Boeing and Airbus narrow-body aircraft to Aircastle and related lease novations with four separate airlines. Co-head Graham Tyler is also well regarded and handles an increasing volume of work for Emirates, including advising it in relation to a raft of sale and leaseback transactions. β€˜Responsive and attentive’ senior associate Rakhi Savjani is also recommended. Other clients include Aircastle, DVB Bank and AWAS.

The β€˜very solid’ four-partner ship finance team at Reed Smith LLP provides β€˜technically sound’ advice to a varied mix of stakeholders including banks (Bank of America Merill Lynch, DnB Nor), alternative lenders (Hayfin Capital), funds (York Capital) and operators (Eagle Bulk). Supported by complementary practice areas including private equity, restructuring and structured finance, as well as by practitioners situated in key shipping financial centres including Hong Kong, Athens, Paris and across the US, the team has the capability to represent clients on a range of commoditised deals, as well as more structured mandates, often with a cross-border complexion. β€˜Dependable’ team head Rob Wilkins has a β€˜genuine passion for what he does’ and recently advised a syndicate of banks, led by HSH Nordbank, on the restructuring and buy-back of the combined $120m senior and junior debt made available to US-listed shipowner, Dryships. Wilkins continues to be active in shipping-related restructurings as well as for the purchasers of large non-performing shipping loan portfolio transactions. Philip Rymer is also recommended for his β€˜non-nonsense and practical’ advice.

Praised for its β€˜strong negotiating skills and ability to deal with complex deals’, Vedder Price’s four-partner London team has β€˜very solid experience’ in the market and is particularly accomplished at deals with a US nexus (where it is able to leverage the support of its market-leading US practice). The β€˜reliable and responsive’ Gavin Hill has a strong reputation in the market and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant deals handled by the team; his recent highlights include acting for Arab Banking Corporation on the $90m structured lease financing of Airbus aircraft and work for several banks, including BNP Paribas, on a structured and bespoke aircraft warehouse facility for Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Neil Poland is also recommended. Clients include lenders (Credit Suisse, SMBC), lessors (AerCap, Aircastle), manufacturers (Airbus) and operators (Flybe, Virgin Atlantic Airways).

Addleshaw Goddard’s two-partner team has significant traction among airlines including British Airways, Flybe and Philippine Airways, which it advises on an array of financing, transactional and regulatory work. The two partners Rory MacCarthy and Rebecca Garner have recently been involved in numerous sale and leaseback transactions for airlines. New clients include Aer Lingus and Iberia Airlines.

Benefiting from a β€˜core focus on the shipping industry’, HFW is able to provide a β€˜highly efficient and quality’ service to banking clients, in particular, on both new money financings and restructurings. The β€˜superb’ John Forrester has a very strong reputation among banks and export credit agencies; he recently advised Svenska Handelsbanken as agent and security trustee of a banking syndicate which provided a $152.5m revolving credit facility to Concordia Maritime. Tony Rice is β€˜able to put difficult commercial points across without alienating anyone’ and recently represented Emirates Ship Investment Company, as guarantor, on a shari’ah-compliant financing to facilitate the acquisition of two product tankers to be chartered to ENOC, the UAE government-owned oil company. As part of his ship finance expertise, Jay Tooker has a niche focus within the superyacht sector. Team head Elinor Dautlich also handles superyacht work, in addition to corporate jet financings. Stephen Marais is also recommended at a partner level for his ship and aviation finance expertise, while senior associate Gudmund Bernitz provides β€˜very clear and efficient advice’ for banks and borrowers in the shipping sector. Other clients include Danske Bank, DNB Bank, Turkish Airlines and Waypoint Leasing.

Established in London in May 2016 following the merger with aviation boutique Clark Ricketts, Holland & Knight (UK) LLP continues to build up its aviation finance offering following the hiring of four lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in February 2017. The practice is active on both the airline and operator side, and is able to leverage the asset finance expertise within the firm’s US offices. The β€˜very capable and responsive’ Robert Ricketts provided assistance from London on the US-led work for BBAM Aircraft Management on the $1.2bn aircraft securitisation backed by 49 aircraft on lease to 37 airlines in 25 countries. Victoria Koob recently advised Dubai Aerospace Enterprise on the sale of 21 narrow-bodied aircraft through a $410m asset-backed securitisation structure. Associate Giles Cornwall is β€˜very up to date on recent developments in the market and eager to handle difficult negotiations’.

The β€˜service-minded and commercial’ team at Ince & Co is noted for its representation of operators on financing and leasing matters within the shipping sector. The β€˜very responsive and pleasant’ Beatrice Russ is particularly accomplished within the LNG and FSRU space and has handled numerous sale and leaseback transactions for Golar LNG. David Baker is global head of the firm’s ship finance practice; as well as new money financings for banks and owners, he has been particularly active of late (given the moribund nature of the shipping industry) on numerous restructurings. Baker has been active for H.I.G Capital on the financing associated with its recent shipping investments. The team was strengthened by the arrival in September 2016 of Spencer Gold from HFW. Other clients include Gaslog, Nordea Bank and SHL Holding.

Sitting within the firm’s global banking group, Linklaters LLP’s asset finance team provides β€˜solutions-driven and pragmatic’ advice to banks, corporates and investors across a range of shipping and aviation finance matters, particularly those involving complex cross-border issues. On the aviation front, the team recently advised VistaJet on its corporate reorganisation, which involved three stages of amendments to more than 60 separate aircraft financing facilities and several pre-delivery payment loan facilities. The β€˜responsive and solutions-oriented’ Olga Petrovic is the primary partner active in the asset finance field, while at associate level Caroline Courtney has β€˜deep industry knowledge’ and provides β€˜sound advice’ across a range of new money financings and restructurings. Clients include Citibank, Golar LNG and Wells Fargo.

REN Legal continues to β€˜carve out a very good niche’ in the market, primarily for small to mid-ticket aviation finance and leasing work where it provides a β€˜first-class service’ to lessors (AerCap, Infinity Transportation), lenders (DVB Bank, Erste Group Bank) and operators (Emirates, Transportes AΓ©reos Portugueses). Christopher Jackson and Norman Fraser have an β€˜in-depth understanding of the aircraft leasing and finance business’, and are both noted for their expertise in aircraft engine leasing transactions. The β€˜very bright and technically strong’ Adam Longney handles aviation finance matters and has made inroads into the rail sector, as illustrated by his recent work for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe and the syndicate of existing financiers in connection with the refinancing of debt provided to Ascendos Rail.

Benefiting from β€˜deep and sound knowledge of the aviation industry and individual jurisdictions’, Winston & Strawn London LLP’s nascent asset finance group in London was formed in April 2016 and has already begun to achieve traction in the market for leasing companies, banks and airline clients. The speed with which the firm has been able to do so is largely attributable to the two partners, Mark Moody and Christopher Boresjo’s strong reputation in the market and ties built up during their time at Simmons & Simmons. Able to leverage a strong US presence, the team has the flexibility to advise on cross-border aircraft finance and leasing under English and New York law. In a deal which involved input from the New York office, Moody recently acted for US leasing company Wings Capital on the financing of an Airbus A321 on lease to Iberia. In addition to his work for leasing companies, Boresjo also has a significant airline client base including Finnair which he recently acted for on the first ever Airbus A350 JOLCO financing.

Burges Salmon LLP’s three-partner rail group displays β€˜excellent knowledge and expertise’ in the rail industry and is particularly accomplished at advising on rolling stock and leasing financing procurements pursuant to franchise bids. The firm benefits from an β€˜incredibly strong relationship’ with operator First Group; the β€˜excellent’ Brioney Thomas led advice to the client in relation to its procurement of rolling stock and mobilisation for the TransPennine Express franchise. As part of her broad banking practice, Rachael Ruane also regularly handles asset finance transactions and has advised First Group and Merseyrail on leasing arrangements for non-rolling stock equipment. Associate Chris Lewis is also recommended and is praised for his β€˜amazing levels of commitment and resilience’.

Benefiting from β€˜impressive technical and industry knowledge’, CMS provides β€˜robust yet commercial advice’ to a range of stakeholders engaged in the financing of a broad mix of asset classes. On the aviation finance front, Keith Wilson is praised for his β€˜lateral thinking, commerciality and creativity’. Tim Elliott relocated to the firm's Hong Kong office.

A key part of the firm’s global asset finance practice, which includes strong capabilities out of Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Oslo and Dubai, DLA Piper’s two-partner London-based team has expertise within both the shipping and aviation sectors on behalf of owners, banks, lessors and private equity investors. Alan Cunningham recently acted for Flybe on the lessor novation of six Embraer 195 aircraft between Falko and Avolon. Recently promoted partner Richard Skipper was also involved in the aforementioned matter and is the other core partner within the team. US-qualified capital markets partner Tony Lopez has expertise advising on aircraft portfolio securitisations.

At Hill Dickinson LLP, Panos Pourgourides has an β€˜excellent reputation’ for advising ultra-high-net-worth individuals and lenders, including BNP Paribas and JP Morgan, on superyacht and corporate jet financings. Malcolm Entwistle handles mainstream shipping transactional and finance work as part of his broader corporate practice.

K&L Gates LLP established its asset finance offering in London following the arrival of the aviation finance team (including Philip Perrotta and Sidanth Rajagopal) from legacy Kaye Scholer. Perrotta handles work for lenders, lessors and operators and recently advised Vietjet on the $450m sale and leaseback of six new Airbus A321-200 aircraft. Rajagopal has a focus on deals based in the Middle East, south Asia and Africa; as well as his recent work for flydubai on numerous sale and leaseback transactions, he recently advised Spicejet on the $15bn acquisition of 155 new Boeing 737 Jetliners. Other clients include Cebu Pacific, Jackson Square Aviation, Sri Lankan Airlines and ACIA holdings.

Led by the β€˜very experienced’ Clive Smith, β€˜who knows the rail industry very well’, Osborne Clarke LLP’s one-partner asset finance group handles work for a varied mix of participants in the rail industry including operators (Arriva), manufacturers (Siemens) and banks (Barclays Bank and Lloyds). The firm is particularly active for leading rolling stock operating company Eversholt Rail Group, which it acts for on the financing, acquisition and leasing of large fleets. Smith’s other recent highlights include advising Stadler Rail Valencia on the modification of an existing fleet of Class 68 locomotives, owned by Beacon Rail, for the purposes of integrating them with new coaching stock to be built by Spanish train manufacturer CAF, for lease initially to First TransPennine Express.

Shoosmiths LLP provides a β€˜responsive and commercial service’ and is noted in particular for its β€˜high level of knowledge on rolling stock matters’. β€˜Very commercial’ team head Chris McClure is, according to one client, β€˜one of the best asset finance and leasing lawyers in the country’ and β€˜really knows the rail industry and the main players within it’. McClure handles a raft of work for leading rolling stock operating company Porterbrook, including advising it on the transfer of leases for the various Porterbrook-owned rolling stock fleets and associated heavy maintenance agreements as well as the leases for the ticket barriers installed at numerous stations on East Anglia network from Abellio Greater Anglia to Abellio East Anglia. The β€˜solutions-oriented’ Martin Fleetwood β€˜has a deep knowledge of the structure of the UK rail industry and how the rolling stock sector fits within that’.

Slaughter and May has numerous individuals within the firm’s broader finance offering with significant experience across a range of cross-border matters for clients including Rolls-Royce and British Airways. Recent highlights include advising Orient Overseas on two TEU container ship financings. Andrew Johnson is regularly involved in the firm’s most significant asset finance matters including acting for private equity firm First Reserve on its majority acquisition in PV Keez Pte – a single purpose company which owns a floating production, storage and offloading vessel – and on the entry into an asset financing facility by PV Keez with a syndicate of lenders for the refinancing of PV Keez’s existing debt facility.

Leveraging the firm’s private wealth capabilities, Fieldfisher’s asset finance team regularly advises lenders and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on the financing requirements related to the acquisition of a range assets, including corporate jets and yachts. Andrew Evans is the main contact within the group and handles asset finance work as a part of his wider banking and finance capability.

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