| Jackson Square Aviation
Executive vice president and general counsel
Ryan Opeka began his career in private practice at Veddar Price, working in its global transportation finance division. There he organised aircraft and railcar transactions and developed his skill in the aviation and transportation legal sector. He moved to Macquarie in 2011 as vice president and counsel as part of its in-house legal team. He worked in Latin America, Asia and Europe for the aircraft leasing department. Since 2014, Opeka has served as executive vice president and general counsel of Jackson Square Aviation (JSA), an aircraft leasing and financing company, a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance group of companies. Opeka assembled the legal team at JSA growing it to its current size of six members and integrated it into the parent company, growing its confidence to take on more responsibility and lessening its reliance on outside counsel. Opeka highlights that the aviation leasing industry is expanding quickly causing higher competition and forcing companies, including their in-house legal teams, to innovate and become more efficient. He advises new in-house counsel to be unafraid of change, saying, ‘we all start out as lawyers with a particular expertise, get your head up and recognise complementary strengths to build a good collaborative team’.