Getting deals closed: Top corporate aviation lawyers share their secrets

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte March 15, 2012 17:45

[nonmember]Lawyers see more business jet and helicopter deals than most people in the market. They also see why many transactions fail. Leading legal counsel from around the world share the secrets of getting deals closed.::join::[/nonmember][ismember]

Lawyers see more business jet and helicopter deals than most people in the market. They also see why many transactions fail. Leading legal counsel from around the world share the secrets of getting deals closed.

Work as a team

Matthew Harvey, Partner, SNR Denton: “I would say that the key to getting a deal closed is collaboration.  If all involved are working as a team toward the common goal of getting the deal closed it will happen more quickly, more easily and it will be cheaper than if people take an adversarial approach.”

Choose a specialist

Sarah Dyke, Partner, SNR Denton: “It is important to appoint the right advisers who have knowledge of the corporate jet market, are used to running deals involving a number of different jurisdictions and who are able to understand the commercial aspirations as well as the legal points. These deals are very fast paced and often with difficult issues where solutions need to be found and having the right adviser can mean the difference between the transaction closing smoothly, on time and on budget and it overrunning with costs rocketing. A good sense of humour also helps.”

Address big issues early

Robert Fugard, Partner, Hogan Lovells: “Don’t leave difficult commercial and structuring issues to be resolved during documentation; address them at term sheet stage. Involving legal advisers early should result in a quicker, clearer and more cost-effective transaction.”

Understand customer needs

Ed Gross (Below), Shareholder, Vedder Price: “Understand what your customer wants, collaborate with your customer to best determine what they need, determine whether you can meet those needs and don’t over promise or under deliver.”

Ed Gross, Vedder Price

Don’t rush but also don’t leave things to the last minute. And find a strong team

Aoife O’Sullivan (Below), Partner, Gates and Partners: “Don’t sign binding LOIs on the first aircraft you see, don’t wait until 48 hours before delivery before you hire your lawyer and don’t ask everyone you meet for their advice because they will all have conflicting views.

“Above all else, appoint a strong team who know what they are doing and who will give you reliable impartial advice. Encourage your counterparts to do the same. The best and most efficient transactions are those where the trusted experts are on board for all parties and everyone works together.”
Aoife O'Sullivan

Stay in control

Paul Jebely, Head of Aviation Finance Asia and Africa, Clyde & Co: “On these deals, power is often in controlling the process – own the process, and relentlessly drive the deal to completion.

“Also, you never want to hear your counsel say ‘but, it’s market in the large commercial aircraft deals we normally do.”

Beware of personal guarantees

John McGuinness, Consultant, Reed Smith: “The problem with personal guarantees is that they never go away. You should think long and hard about signing them.”

Tell your lawyer what you expect from then

Mark Bisset (Below), Partner, Clyde & Co: “With regard to the lawyer’s role, take time out at the start of a deal to have an open discussion with the lawyer as to how the client wants a job done.

“If the lawyer is to take control of the process and drive it forward then we’ll do it, if the client would rather be seen to be driving it with us in support when asked then we’ll do that.”

“It is horses for courses and the client should tell the lawyer how he or she wants things done – it’s remarkable how often clients pay lawyers large amounts of money but don’t tell them what they want. We have some clients who are happy for us to take decisions on commercial risks, others don’t – the lawyer should be sufficiently adaptable to take on whatever role he is asked to perform.”

Mark Bisset

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Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte March 15, 2012 17:45

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