Leading Lawyers

Next Generation Partners

Rail and road: finance in United States

King & Spalding LLP

In addition to its representation of US banks in the acquisition and sale of rail assets, King & Spalding LLP‘s national transportation finance practice advises on the leasing and financing of rail-related assets. Its enviable track record includes advising on a large North American bank portfolio of rail assets that comprises over 175,000 railcars and 1,800 locomotives. The group is also experienced in advising on a range of finance structures, in relation to rolling stock, chassis, containers, automobiles and tractors. With longstanding experience in matters involving railcar assets, Christopher Buchanan is an expert in a broad range of transportation-related financing matters involving cash flow and asset-based loan facilities. Buchanan also represents transportation industry financial sponsors and portfolio companies. Providing additional partner-level support from Atlanta, restructuring and bankruptcy specialist Jeff Dutson routinely acts for creditors in aviation-related workouts, while Ronald Lovelace leads the firm’s highly regarded banking and institutional finance team. Associate to note, Kathryn Wilson represents financial institutions, lenders, borrowers, lessors and lessees in transportation finance deals, and is particularly focused on aircraft, rail and equipment assets. All advisers listed are based in Charlotte unless otherwise mentioned.

Practice head(s):

Ronald Lovelace

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Buchanan; Jeff Dutson; Kathryn Wilson

Key clients

Truist Bank (SunTrust Bank)

Wells Fargo Rail Corporation

KKR Credit Advisors

Vedder Price

Vedder Price‘s sizeable transportation asset finance and securitization practice is consistently sought out by lessors, lenders, manufacturers, government agencies, equity investors and operators for major transactions, including complex railcar portfolio securitizations, and railcar purchases and sales. The team also fields experts in domestic and international leasings and debt financings of rail assets, in addition to advising both borrowers and lenders on railcar warehouse and term loan facilities involving bankruptcy remote borrowers. Among the department’s several experienced partners, rail finance structuring specialist Michael E. Drazprovides great counsel‘, New York-based Jeffrey Veber routinely represents lenders in transportation finance matters, and Clay C. Thomas in Los Angeles advises on acquisition, leasing and financing deals. Also integral to the group is John T. Bycraft, who is an expert in structured finance transactions involving rolling stock portfolios, while Geoffrey Kass chairs the firm’s global transportation finance practice. Within the enviable associate pool, Joel R. Thielen is experienced in representing private equity and hedge funds, commercial banks, operating lessors and manufacturers in railcar financing structures, and Jillian S. Greenwald‘s practice covers a range of transactions involving rolling stock portfolios. All practitioners listed are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Kass

Other key lawyers:

Michael E. Draz; Jeffrey Veber; Clay C. Thomas; John T. Bycraft; Joel R. Thielen; Jillian S. Greenwald


‘Deep industry knowledge, good bedside manner and collaborates well.’

‘Michael E. Draz provides great counsel while moving the process forward.’

‘Michael E. Draz knows market terms and is always willing to go the extra mile to get things done.’

‘Superior industry knowledge in the rail space, its participants, the AAR rules, and the individual personalities of the major players.’

Key clients

Chicago Freight Car Leasing Co

Credit Suisse

Export Development Canada

GBX Leasing

ITE Management

JP Morgan Asset Management

National Steel Car

Riverside Rail

PNW Railcar

Stonebriar Commercial Finance

Trinity Industries

Work highlights

  • Represented JP Morgan Asset Management in the acquisition of leading North American railcar lessor, The InStar Group.
  • Represented Trinity Industries Leasing Company (as sponsor) in $500m+ of railcar asset-backed securitization issuances.
  • Represented GBX Leasing in the establishment and growth of its railcar leasing platform and inaugural railcar asset-backed securitization.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Particularly active in advising automotive and energy sector businesses, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP‘s transportation team is highly focused on the evolving legal issues surrounding the development and deployment of electric vehicles. In addition to finance, corporate and structured deals, the broad automotive practice represents automotive and mobility companies in litigation, labour and employment issues, IP protection and litigation, energy regulations and transactions, and antitrust and consumer protection matters. Philip Russell, who divides his time between the firm’s Chicago and New York offices, is an expert in representing clients in public and private offerings of debt and equity securities that are secured by auto loans and leases; and, working across the firm’s Silicon Valley and San Francisco offices, Rahul Kapoor focuses on commercial, IP, and technology deals. In New York, Robert Dickey‘s experience includes representing large numbers of automotive and mobility sector companies, and global leader of the structured transactions practice Reed Auerbach routinely advises on auto loan and lease receivables.

Practice head(s):

Philip Russell

Other key lawyers:

Rahul Kapoor; Robert Dickey; Reed Auerbach

Key clients

Driveway Finance Corp

Pentagon Federal Credit Union

Livent Corporation

Hyundai Mobis

Work highlights

  • Represented Driveway Finance Corp (and its affiliates) in the issuance of $344.4m of asset-backed notes, which were issued by LAD Auto Receivables Trust 2021-1.
  • Acted for Pentagon Federal Credit Union (as sponsor) on a $489m securitization of direct automobile loans.
  • Represented Hyundai Mobis in the Series B-1 preferred stock financing of Zendar.