Most Highly Regarded Firms: Aviation 2011

We analyse the findings of our research and profile the leading firms and individuals in international aviation law.

Most highly regarded individuals - global
John Balfour Clyde & Co LLP, London
Rod Margo Condon & Forsyth LLP, Los Angeles
Sean Gates Gates and Partners, London
John Pritchard
Holland & Knight LLP, New York
Berend Crans De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV, Amsterdam
Dean Gerber Vedder Price PC, Chicago
Mark Mackrell Norton White, Sydney
Nikolai Ehlers Ehlers Ehlers & Partner, Munich
Nicholas Hughes Barlow Lyde & Gilbert LLP, London
Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsic, Buenos Aires

Global Firms

Clyde & Co LLP has the most lawyers featured in this publication. A total of 18 individuals from the firm are recognised across five jurisdictions. In London, John Balfour focuses his practice on EC and regulatory law and is one of the most highly nominated individuals in this book. He is considered a “world class” aviation lawyer. Timothy Brymer is head of the firm’s aviation department and advises insurers, airlines and manufacturers worldwide. Philip Bass is “well known” for his liability claims work and receives particular praise in the research. Gavin Hill has a “superb” finance and leasing practice, while David Willcox handles all types of aviation liability claims and insurance disputes. Maria Cetta advises clients on a wide range of issues relating to airlines, airports, baggage, cargo, catastrophes, insurance, litigation and personal injury. Catherine West also received a significant number of nominations for her aviation “expertise”. The “excellent” Mark Bissett has significant experience in loan and lease financing, regulation and in the business jet market. Ross Williams is regarded as a “top lawyer” for aviation insurance.

At the firm’s New York office, the “very sharp” Andrew Harakas advises clients in the fields of insurance, product liability litigation and regulatory matters. Diane Westwood Wilson is highly nominated for her ability to handle complex insurance litigation.

In Singapore, David Clark is “highly responsive” and focuses his practice on liability work. Peng Lim has handled claims for 17 years defending airlines and insurers, and also advises on contractual and regulatory matters.

The “highly skilled” Maylis Casati-Ollier is based at the firm’s office in Paris and is experienced in finance, insurance, product liability, litigation and arbitration. In Dubai, James Edmunds is a “definite inclusion” for his expert counsel concerning aviation finance.

In Rio de Janeiro, the Beaumont & Son Aviation at Clyde & Co team is headed up by Martyn Plaskett who advises insurers, reinsures and airlines. He has represented defendants in over 40 significant accidents occurring in the region. The “outstanding” Sarah Catchpole focuses her practice on multi-jurisdictional catastrophe work and legal liability claims involving a range of clients. Julio Costa advises clients in matters relating to insurance, reinsurance and airline liability throughout Latin America.

Clifford Chance performs excellently in the research with 13 lawyers featured across eight countries. In London, Clive Carpenter is “highly regarded” for his finance expertise and is one of the most nominated individuals from the firm. William Glaister is “a favourite with the banks” and advises clients on all aspects of asset finance and leasing. Nick Swinburne specialises in asset and structured finance and equipment leasing while Robert Burley is “outstanding” for aircraft leasing and finance transactions relating to Japanese assets.

In New York, Geoffrey White is regarded as a “first-rate” aviation finance, banking and leasing lawyer. John Howitt focuses his practice on leveraged lease transactions, operating leases, aircraft purchases, securitisations and restructurings.

In Singapore, the “tremendous” Simon Briscoe has 20 years of experience advising clients in the region in matters relating to aviation finance. Keiji Isaji is located in Tokyo and specialises in finance and regulatory matters. Paul Greenwell in Hong Kong advises on cross-border and domestic asset leasing and financing transactions.

White & Case LLP has significantly improved its representation in this book by doubling the number of lawyers featured compared to last year: a total of 12 lawyers are included from six jurisdictions. In London, Justin Benson is “very smart” and advises major international financial institutions on a full range of lending transactions. Adrian Beasley represents a range of clients in asset finance and leasing transactions.

Victoria Westcott is based in Paris and is “highly recommended” for her asset finance practice. At the firm’s New York office Michael Smith specialises in aircraft finance and equipment leasing, as does James Cairns in Los Angeles. Christian Hansen is based in Miami and is experienced in aircraft and engine leasing transactions.

In Bucharest, the “highly knowledgeable” Thomas McDonald has 25 years of experience in international finance transactions and advises clients on all types of aircraft leasing and finance matters. Robert Grondine is based in Tokyo and focuses on asset-based structured finance and tax-effective finance transactions.

Norton Rose LLP has 10 lawyers included who are based in England, France, Germany and Singapore. In London, the “brilliant” Patrick Farrell specialises in dispute resolution related to insurance and finance matters as well as advising on the European regulatory regime. The “impressive” Jeremy Edwards is group head of banking and his principal area of practice is structured and asset finance. Owen Mulholland is highly nominated for his expertise in aviation finance, as is Neil Poland who is global head of the aviation group. Philip Vallance receives particular mention in the research for his asset finance expertise. Duncan Batchelor is regarded as “client focused” and acts for airlines, banks, export credit agencies, arrangers, lessors and investors.

George Paterson is a “very fine lawyer” and is head of the Paris practice and also specialises in finance and leasing transactions. In Singapore, Leigh Borrello is head of the firm’s Asia aviation finance group.


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has 10 lawyers listed. In London, the “first-rate” Robert Murphy has extensive experience in cross-border tax-based leasing structures, export credit agency financing and aircraft-based capital market transactions. Since 1994, Jeffrey Wool has been the secretary and general counsel of the Aviation Working Group and chaired the group that prepared the original aircraft protocol to the Cape Town Convention. He is regarded as a “go-to lawyer”. Simon Hall advises a wide range of clients in the field of aviation finance.

In Frankfurt, Dirk Schmalenbach is co-head of the firm’s finance practice, while Konrad Schott specialises in aircraft finance, leasing and structured investments.

Bird & Bird LLP receives seven inclusions. Richard Venables is considered a “tremendous” regulatory lawyer. The “highly experienced” Simon Chamberlain has over 27 years of experience in the transactional, regulatory and commercial fields. Paul Briggs is also highly nominated for his wide ranging experience in the industry.

In Paris, Vonnick le Guillou is regarded as “one of the best litigators” and is head of the aviation department in France, and co-head of the international dispute resolution group.

Gates and Partners increases its representation in this book to seven lawyers. In London, the “extremely well respected” Sean Gates is one of the most highly nominated individuals in the publication and specialises in aerospace insurance, reinsurance and liability issues. Neil McGilchrist “commands tremendous respect” and advises clients on all aspects of aviation liability. Paul Freeman specialises in a wide range of issues that include disaster management, satellite insurance, reinsurance and claims handling. In Singapore, David Johnston specialises in liability and insurance for insurers and airlines.

Berend Crans at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV in Amsterdam receives a large number of nominations in the research for his “exceptional proficiency” in aviation finance. Nikolai Ehlers of Ehlers Ehlers & Partner in Munich is featured for his “expert” counsel in the sector. In London, Nicholas Hughes of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert LLP has 30 years’ experience in insurance, liability and commercial matters.

United States

Condon & Forsyth LLP has six individuals featured. In Los Angeles, Rod Margo is one of the most highly regarded individuals in the research. He advises and represents airlines and their insurers in connection with the litigation and resolution of aviation claims and commercial disputes. The “highly reputable” Frank Silane manages the firm’s Los Angeles office and specialises in complex multi-district tort and insurance litigation. In New York, the “brilliant” Stephen Stegich represents clients in matters relating to product liability and insurance coverage. Michael Holland concentrates his practice on tort and commercial litigation on behalf of the firm’s airline clients.

Vedder Price PC has an outstanding aviation finance practice and has six lawyers included. In Chicago, Dean Gerber is a “serious player” and advises a wide range of clients on aircraft and equipment finance. Geoffrey Kass is recognised as an “excellent” structured finance lawyer. In New York, the “world class” Ronald Scheinberg is chair of the New York equipment and institutional finance group and Jeffrey Veber advises clients on a range of aircraft finance matters including export credit agency financing and cross-border aircraft leasing transactions.

Holland & Knight LLP also has a strong practice with six lawyers included. In New York, John Pritchard is considered an “inspirational attorney” and has over 20 years of experience in aircraft, equipment and facility finance. Fred Bass has a wide range of experience in the financing and leasing of aircraft. William Piels is the executive partner in the San Francisco office and has represented some of the world’s largest aircraft operating lessors and international financial institutions. In Washington DC, Anita Mosner is deputy chair of the firm’s aviation team.

Rest of the World

In Sydney, Mark Mackrell at Norton White represents airlines, operators and underwriters in matters relating to product liability and intellectual property.

Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg at Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsicis is based in Buenos Aires and provides wide-ranging advice for clients in Latin America regarding start-up airline companies and regulatory matters.

Run Ming Law Office has two lawyers in Beijing featured in the following pages. The “highly recommended” Liu Yi focuses on aircraft finance and leasing and represents a wide range of clients in the region. Gavin Wang advises clients on aircraft finance and disputes settlement.

In South Africa, Webber Wentzel receives three inclusions. In Johannesburg, Daniël Le Roux is head of the insurance and legal liability group and David Lancaster’s previous experience includes the privatisation of South African Airways and the financing of their Airbus and Boeing aircraft fleet.

In Turkey, Fulya Dikici of Dikici Law Office is internationally recognised as one of the leading aviation lawyers in the country.

Back to top

Follow us on LinkedIn

News & Features

Community News



Pro Bono

Corporate Counsel

Women in Law

Future Leaders

Research Reports

Practice Areas


The Who's Who Legal 100


Special Reports



About Us

Research Schedule

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

Copyright © 2018 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. |

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910 |

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK