Transport: rail and road - finance in United States

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP is consistently sought out by major US banks to advise on acquisitions and dispositions of rail assets, as well as the leasing and financing of those assets. Carolyn Alford leads the financial services practice from Atlanta; and Jason Huff heads the transportation finance group. Huff has nationally recognized expertise in leasing, financing and portfolio acquisitions and dispositions of railcars and locomotives. Also key to the group is Christopher Buchanan, who focuses on the financing and purchase and sale of railcars, locomotives, chassis and other transportation assets. Recent highlights include Huff and Buchanan acting as outside counsel to Wells Fargo Rail Corporation in the restructuring of multiple leases with Covia Corporation, as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. At non-partner level, New York-based Mickey Jett is a key associate in the equipment finance and leasing practice. All attorneys are based in Charlotte unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Alford

Other key lawyers:

Jason Huff; Christopher Buchanan; Mickey Jett; Kathryn Wilson

Key clients

SunTrust Bank

Wells Fargo Rail Corporation

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank


RBC Capital Markets, LLC

Vedder Price

Vedder Price‘s transportation asset finance and securitization team delivers ‘creative ideas and its industry knowledge is top notch.‘ The team is also praised for its ‘responsiveness, turnaround times and ability to collaborate‘. Widely respected for its understanding of the transportation asset finance market, the practice fields a sizeable group of experts in domestic and international rail asset leasing and debt financing. In Chicago, Geoffrey Kass chairs the global transportation finance team; John Bycraft has extensive experience in structured finance transactions involving portfolios of rolling stock; and Michael Draz is noted for his ‘ability to collaborate both with his client and the other side to reach an amicable solution while still winning for the client‘. Other key contacts include transportation finance specialist Jeffrey Veber in New York; and Los Angeles-based Clay Thomas, whose practice covers US and cross-border sale, lease and financing transactions. Support at the associate level is provided in Chicago by Joel Thielen and Jillian Greenwald.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Kass

Other key lawyers:

John Bycraft; Michael Draz; Jeffrey Veber; Clay Thomas; Joel Thielen; Jillian Greenwald


Creative ideas and its industry knowledge is top notch.

Great for responsiveness, turnaround times and ability to collaborate.’

‘Michael Draz is a strong counsel, given his industry and market expertise, and he has the ability to collaborate with his client and the other side to reach an amicable solution while still winning for the client.

Key clients

Crédit Agricole

Credit Suisse

Export Development Canada

Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba)

ITE Management

MUL Railcars, Inc.

National Steel Car Limited

Riverside Rail

Stonebriar Commercial Financing

Trinity Industries Leasing Company

Trinity Industries, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represents Trinity in all of its secured railcar financing transactions, from bank funded loans to capital markets transactions.
  • Acted as counsel to ITE Management in a broad array of transactions, from purchases and sales of asset portfolios to complex joint ventures and innovative structured finance transactions.
  • Advises numerous railcar lessors, such as Trinity Industries Leasing Company, MUL Railcars, Riverside Rail and National Steel Car on all facets of railcar leasing.

Mayer Brown

With extensive experience in the rail and automotive sectors, Mayer Brown represents equity and loan participants and underwriters, as well as lessees, in both public and private transactions. Over the past year, the team was primarily involved in advising underwriters on railcar equipment trust certificates, and representing lenders in lease warehouse facilities and secured bridge and pre-delivery payment financings. The principal contacts in the New York office are George Miller, who concentrates his practice on international and domestic finance and leasing; and Barbara Goodstein, whose experience covers commercial and structured financing, as well as restructuring transactions. Miller led the representation of Credit Suisse in an offering of notes by Trinity Rail Leasing 2020, the securitization collateralized by a portfolio of over 3,000 tank railcars and over 2,700 non-tank railcars.

Practice head(s):

George Miller; Barbara Goodstein

Key clients

Wells Fargo Securities

Credit Suisse

Bank of America Securities

Credit Agricole Securities

Citigroup Capital Markets

Empire State Thruway Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Dow on its definitive agreement to sell its rail infrastructure assets and related equipment at six major North American sites to Watco Companies, a Pittsburg, Kansas-based transportation company.
  • Served as designated underwriter’s counsel for the issuance of surface transportation private activity bonds.
  • Represented Credit Suisse in an offering of notes by Trinity Rail Leasing 2020, the securitization collateralized by a portfolio of 3,016 tank railcars and 2,711 non-tank railcars.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's broad automotive practice works across the entirety of the automotive ecosystem, acting for traditional automakers, suppliers, technology developers and financial institutions. The firm’s automotive and mobility industry practice is led by Philip Russell, who divides his time between the firm's Chicago and New York offices. Working across the Silicon Valley and San Francisco offices, Rahul Kapoor's extensive practice includes advising on strategic alliances, joint ventures, and corporate partnering transactions in the automotive industry. In New York, Robert Dickey represents companies in the automotive and mobility sectors in critical strategic transactions; and Reed Auerbach (global head of the firm's structured transactions practice), alongside Russell, recently represented Toyota in a $1.75bn issuance of fixed-rate notes by Toyota Auto Loan Extended Note Trust 2020-1.

Practice head(s):

Philip Russell

Other key lawyers:

Rahul Kapoor; Robert Dickey; Reed Auerbach 

Key clients

BMW Financial Services NA, LLC

Toyota Motor Credit Corporation

Agero Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Toyota in its second revolving securitization transaction, a $1.75bn issuance of fixed-rate notes by Toyota Auto Loan Extended Note Trust 2020-1, a bankruptcy remote, special purpose affiliate of Toyota.
  • Advised BMW Financial Services NA, LLC on the registered offering of $1bn of asset-backed notes, which was backed by a pool of motor vehicle retail instalment sale contracts (secured by passenger cars, light trucks and motorcycles).
  • Represented Cantor Fitzgerald & Co (as initial purchaser) in Pagaya Investments US’ offering of securities, which was backed by motor vehicle retail instalment sale contracts and/or instalment loans (secured by automobiles, light-duty trucks, SUVs, vans and motorcycles).