Ben Lee, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd (Mbaup)
In an exclusive interview with Who’s Who Legal, Ben Lee speaks about his role at Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd, the key qualities he looks for when instructing external counsel, as well as key regulatory and technological developments impacting the automotive industry.
This year’s Who’s Who Legal Transport edition presents 801 aviation lawyers across three chapters – contentious, regulatory and finance – alongside 522 shipping lawyers. In total, lawyers from 536 firms across 69 countries are recognised.
The transport sector has experienced some turbulent times this year. Both the aviation and shipping markets are facing significant challenges, causing serious problems for companies operating within them. As a result, the legal market offering services to these two branches of transport law is reflecting this environment, and adapting too; the trend for the increasing establishment of boutique firms has continued well into 2016 and is likely to be seen next year too. Yet despite such pressures, the legal market in the area is still experiencing a lot of activity from clients and practitioners, who are positive about its future.
The past year has been another interesting one for aviation and shipping practitioners. From the Germanwings airline crash to new EU regulations and an increase in alternative financing options, those in the aviation field have experienced a diverse and evolving range of issues, with the expectation that 2016 will hold similar levels of work. In the shipping market, depressed cargo prices and an excess of vessels are causing clubs to become even more cost-conscious, spelling trouble for some in the litigation space.
Our new Transport publication lists 798 aviation practitioners, divided into contentious, regulatory and finance segments, alongside 465 shipping lawyers from a total of 533 firms across 77 countries as leaders in these areas of law.
We have highlighted a number of firms for their international and domestic reputations. Holman Fenwick Willan has an impressive depth of expertise across aviation and shipping law from its offices covering Australasia, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle-East. Likewise, Clyde & Co is listed in all segments across an expansive global network. Norton Rose Fulbright, Clifford Chance and White & Case excel in aviation finance. Meanwhile, Ince & Co perform exceptionally well in our shipping research. Within the US, Holland & Knight stands out for its all-inclusive expertise and Condon & Forsyth also features for its eminent position in the aviation contentious market.
We also select the 10 most highly regarded individuals in the world for aviation finance, regulatory and contentious, as well as for shipping.
Across our aviation-based research, a distinction can be made between those lawyers and firms who offer the full range of aviation services and those who have developed niche expertise in one particular discipline. Several contributors to the research have commented on the transitional nature of the sector, reflecting the changing focus of the contentious field, increasing US and EU regulatory activity and encouraging signs for post-recession commercial aviation finance after a period when predominantly European banks retracted from the market. Subsequently, levels of work have varied for lawyers depending on the breadth of their practice, and firms with a global presence have been able to take advantage of increased activity in the Middle East and Asian markets. In terms of the shipping market, contentious lawyers have seen continued opportunities for large charter party and insurance-related work, while refinancings and ship owner bankruptcies have driven activity for leading shipping finance practitioners.
In this edition Who's Who Legal singles out the world's leading individuals and firms in the field of aviation law in three distinct sectors: contentious, finance and regulatory. Clyde & Co once again leads our research with a very impressive 28 listings, with practitioners from its offices around the globe recognised. Holman Fenwick Willan garners 23 inclusions across three continents and following closely behind is Norton Rose Fulbright with 22 listings. Clifford Chance earns 19 inclusions and US firm Condon & Forsyth boasts 17 inclusions.
We also single out the world's most highly regarded individuals the areas of contentious, finance and regulatory aviation law.
In this section of our publication we bring together Simon Liddy of HWL Ebsworth and Frank Silane of Condon & Forsyth to explore the key issues facing contentious experts. They discuss volume and types of work, including the activity of the US plaintiffs bar, passenger rights claims and consumer class actions.To read this discussion please click here.
We also feature an article by Mert Hifzi and Sue Barham of Holman Fenwick Willan, which explores recent proposed revisions to EU air passenger rights. To read the full article please click here.
Three of the world's top aviation finance lawyers discuss key issues in this area of specialism; Julie McLean of Conyers Dill & Pearman, Berend Crans of De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Edward Gross of Vedder Price talk about types of investors, interest from China, the impact of the growing demand for new aircraft and new entrants into the market.To read this roundtable discussion please click here.
This section also features an article by Donald Gray and Auriol Marasco of Blake Cassels & Graydon on Air Canada's first EETC offering, which particularly explores the impact of Cape Town convention and the benefits it can bring. To read the full article please click here.
In this edition of Who's Who Legal: Aviation individuals are either recognised for their full range of aviation services or their niche specialism in particular. Depending on their specialism and jurisdiction levels of work have varied, with "persistence, patience and flexibility" being the buzzwords for lawyers in this field, as practitioners report a "topsy-turvy" year.
Click on the name of an expert below to view their profile. Experts shaded in blue have professional biographies in one or more practice areas.
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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.