Law Firms Starts Space Business Practice

Law Firms Starts Space Business Practice

New York—Dentons announced today the expansion of its global Aviation Finance practice and the creation of a Space Business sector team, enhancing its client service capabilities in the Aviation and Aerospace sector. Elizabeth (Liz) H. Evans, who joins the New York office as a partner, will serve as global co-chair of the Firm’s Aviation Finance practice and lead the practice in the US. Also joining in the Aviation Finance practice is Deepak Reddy, who will be a partner in the New York office.

In Washington, DC, veteran satellite telecommunications lawyer Delbert (Del) D. Smith, PhD., joins as senior space business counsel to lead a newly-formed, multidisciplinary global Space Business discipline in which Evans and Reddy will also participate. The Space Business team will focus on transactional, insurance, intellectual property, regulatory, import/export and litigation and arbitration needs on behalf of businesses in the commercial satellite and space arena.

“The arrival of Liz, Deepak and Del allows Dentons to meet one of our major strategic priorities: extending our seasoned Canadian and UK global aviation and aerospace team to the United States,” said Dentons US managing partner Mike McNamara. “The talent and experience they bring will augment the Firm’s exceptional aviation finance and telecommunications capabilities around the world and deepen our corporate offerings.”

Evans focuses on aircraft, project and satellite financing, as well as equipment leasing of other assets (including rail cars, mining equipment, telecommunication equipment, ships and trucks). Her financing experience has included private placements of debt and equity, initial public offerings, and secured equipment acquisition finance. Additionally, she has participated in unleveraged and leveraged equipment acquisitions (including satellite procurement agreements and portfolio aircraft purchases) and related regulatory and transactional matters. Her experience within the aerospace industry involves high-value, cross-border transactions, such as her representation of an international aviation leasing company’s board in its US$1.4 billion acquisition of a portfolio of 49 commercial jets from a global aviation asset management company.

Evans has particular experience in export credit finance and project finance matters. She has represented several financial institutions involving unique financings (including cross-currency and forward rate set transactions) guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the US or MIGA cross-border insurance products.  She has also represented borrowers, including satellite operators and airlines, utilizing export credit financing. She has assisted with the financing of air traffic control systems and counseled domestic and foreign airlines on leasing and acquisition matters, as well as rulemaking proceedings before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Finally, she has extensive restructuring experience in both airline and satellite industry restructurings, representing creditors, equity investors and airlines in out-of-court and foreign restructurings, as well as representing debtors and creditors in domestic Chapter 11 proceedings.

Active in aviation-related bar groups, including the ABA Air and Space Law Forum and the ABA Aircraft Finance Subcommittee of the Business Law Section, Evans writes regularly on asset-based finance topics, including articles with respect to utilizing slots, gates and routes as collateral and the impact of orbital debris on satellite finance. She is highly ranked in major legal directories and has been individually recognized as Euromoney‘s 2013 Women in Business Law Awards “Best in Aviation.” She is also a member of the Society of Satellite Professionals International, Women in Aerospace and International Aviation Women’s Association. Evans earned her JD from Columbia University, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and worked on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. She received her BA from Wellesley College, magna cum laude, where she was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Reddy concentrates on representing airlines, aircraft leasing companies, financial institutions and investment funds in connection with mergers and acquisitions (M&A), financing and leasing transactions. He is also a recognized counselor in business jet and related transactions, advising Fortune 500 companies and high net worth individuals in connection with acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, charter, fractional jet and time-share programs. He was recently recognized by Corporate Jet Investor as a leading business aviation lawyer in the US.

Outside the aviation sector, Reddy focuses on cross-border M&A, dispositions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. He often represents large Indian companies in cross-border transactional and corporate advisory matters and will be actively involved in the Firm’s India practice. Reddy is a member of several aviation-related Bar groups, as well as the National Business Aviation Association and The Wings Club. Reddy earned his JD from Fordham University and his BA from Brandeis University.

Smith, who comes to Dentons with more than 35 years of experience practicing as an international lawyer in the high-technology and space business sector, focuses his practice on the financing, regulatory, institutional and international issues at the cutting edge of telecommunications and satellite communications. He advises clients on legal matters surrounding satellites, including direct satellite broadcasting, utilization of the geostationary orbit, international telecommunications policy, technology transfer, transborder data flow, satellite insurance and computer/communication interactions. In addition to asset-based and corporate acquisitions, Smith provides strategic consultation to commercial enterprises and public sector entities pursuing the development and implementation of communications satellite systems. He has represented banks, satellite manufacturers, satellite operators and space insurance underwriters in a variety of complex transactional matters. In particular, he has advised non-US companies in expanding into US domestic and international space and telecommunications markets through direct investment and joint ventures.

Smith has been a member of the Society of Satellite Professionals International’s Hall of Fame since 2007. He earned his JD, MS and BS with honors from the University of Wisconsin, and also holds a PhD from Cambridge University and a diploma in Public International Law from the Hague Academy of International Law.

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