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Reed Smith appoints new global chair of Transportation Industry Group

Posted on: 27 January 2022

Reed Smith has announced the appointment of asset finance partner Richard Hakes as the new chair of its global Transportation Industry Group.

Hakes, who is based in London, advises clients in relation to a broad range of aviation and shipping work. As well as acting for a number of investors, operating lessors and lenders across the aviation and shipping markets, he is best known for his work for private equity and investment fund clients, having been particularly active, and won multiple awards, in the secondary debt trading and special situations sectors.

Hakes previously co-chaired the firm’s growing aviation practice, which is a key area of focus for Reed Smith. He was instrumental in its growth and success, supporting on a number of strategic partner hires and winning some of the largest private equity mandates in the aviation market over the last two years.

Hakes has taken over from Rob Wilkins who led the practice since 2019 and who has now been promoted into a broader role as part of the firm’s senior management team, as well as continuing with his market-leading practice in ship finance. Wilkins, also based in London, significantly expanded the firm’s transportation offering across the globe and diversified the group, which has served the industry for nearly a century.

Wilkins said: “I am delighted that Richard is taking on the role, he is an extremely talented lawyer who has clearly demonstrated his exceptional leadership abilities with our aviation practice and will be a fantastic industry group leader. With his vast experience of both shipping and aviation, he will be able to ensure the group grows and develops with the ever-changing sectors to meet our clients’ needs.”

Hakes said: “It is a huge privilege to have the opportunity to step into the role of chair of our global Transportation group, a sure sign that the investments we have made in the wider transportation industry are really paying dividends. This has all been made possible thanks to the hard work of our people and the support of our clients, and I look forward to continuing to work with them all in my new role.

“We are in a great place as a group thanks to Rob’s leadership. He has – originally in conjunction with Andrew Taylor – transformed our group in a way that preserves its long legacy as the preeminent practice in the shipping market, whilst at the same time makes it more interconnected and better able to serve our clients across the shipping and aviation industries, whether in litigation and dispute resolution, finance and transactional work, or more broadly as we partner with our clients in shaping some of the exciting changes we are seeing in the way that people and goods are moved around the world.

“As our clients diversify their businesses, our expanded capabilities and reach means that we can continue to partner with these clients every step of the way.”

Reed Smith’s transportation practice covers the full spectrum of legal needs for transportation companies, as well as providing insights and industry-focused reports on trends and predictions to support its clients.

The shipping practice has continued to support clients throughout the pandemic, including advising on the many supply chain challenges that have arisen due to port closures and increased consumer demand, and on all of the largest shipping loan portfolio trades, as well as on ground-breaking securitisations for new lenders to the market. The firm was also involved in a number of high profile cases this year including the Eternal Bliss and CMA CGM Libra.

This month the firm launched ‘Global air freight’s future – The sky is the limit, a report that analyses the changing industry landscape following two turbulent years and offers insights into what challenges and opportunities air freight companies can expect in 2022 and beyond.

With a deep knowledge of the transportation industry, the firm’s lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the market and are able to advise on many aspects of the ever-changing industry, including the future of crewless ships in a more sustainable shipping industry, the post-pandemic challenges and opportunities for the aviation industry, and the developing ability to track and communicate with items anywhere in the world through the internet of things.

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