TESTIMONIALS

“Responsive…..no matter the time or day…….[and] made the complicated process of buying an aircraft painless.”  (Embraer Phenom 100 first time aircraft owner).

“Gets the deal done at an appropriate cost, agreed in advance, with no compromise on the quality of service.”  (Buyer and Seller of multiple Gulfstream G650ER aircraft).

“A pleasure to work with.”  (CFO, international scheduled airline)




PROFILE

30 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE / 3,000 TRANSACTIONS

Richard Pearson is a licensed English solicitor, and an attorney admitted to the State Bar of California, a rare combination enabling Richard to advise clients on applicable multi-jurisdictional aspects of cross-border transactions.  He has almost 30 years’ experience advising clients in the transportation industry, with a particular emphasis throughout his career on the commercial and business aviation sectors.

After studying law at universities in England and Germany, Richard worked in London and Oslo, and was based in Paris for 20 years prior to relocating to California with his family in 2013.  Latterly, he conceived, founded and developed the Paris office of Stephenson Harwood, a UK-based international law firm.  He designed and implemented the strategy which resulted in a 5 partner and 15+ lawyer full service practice, increasing revenue and profit year-on-year.  The success of that business was based on the qualities that Richard has been noted for throughout his career: availability, responsiveness, precision, pragmatism, business acumen, and transparency.

Much of Richard’s early career was spent advising banks, investment funds and leasing companies providing finance to the aviation industry.  Latterly, Richard has focused his practice on advising airlines and leasing companies in the commercial aviation sector; and individuals, corporate flight departments and charter/management companies in the sale and purchase, structuring of ownership, and the financing, management and operation of business jets.

Richard has a wealth of experience advising on domestic and international transactions, with longstanding clients around the globe.


Connect with Richard on

PRACTICE AREAS


COMMERCIAL AVIATION

Examples of areas in which AVION LAW can assist clients in the commercial aviation
sector include:


  • ACMI, wet leases
  • Airline start-up
  • Ancillary revenue raising arrangements
  • Financing (sale and leaseback, export credit financing, tax lease structures,
    finance leases, and synthetic and pure operating leases)
  • Fleet acquisitions and dispositions
  • Maintenance contracts / engineering outsourcing
  • Pooling of engines and parts
  • Restructuring of financial commitments
  • Surplus parts inventory management and distribution

Representative Transactions


  • Advised a start-up Middle East value-based airline (the region’s first privately owned airline) from its inception, advising on its initial A320 fleet purchase and related financing (including a Shariah-compliant pre-delivery payment financing, designed to minimize the cost of long-term loan capital, the innovative nature of which was recognized by AirFinance Journal’s award of Most Innovative Deal of the Year in 2005); advised on its critical ancillary revenue raising arrangements; and advised on the whole gamut of its contractual arrangements with third parties.
  • Represented GB Airways, at that time a British Airways franchise operation, in connection with its sale to easyJet, including the leasing, financing, regulatory, employment, and intellectual property aspects thereof.
  • Represented numerous scheduled, charter, low-cost, and cargo airlines on their fleet acquisitions and related financing arrangements, including straight debt, export credit financings (European ECA, United States EXIM, Canadian EDC, Brazilian SBCE), sale and leaseback, tax structures, finance leases, synthetic operating leases, and pure operating leases.
  • Advised numerous aircraft leasing companies in connection with jurisdictional issues (notably English, French and United States) in the context of portfolio securitizations.
  • Advised numerous airlines in connection with the restructuring of leasing and other financial commitments.
  • Provided general corporate counsel advice to numerous airlines.

 





BUSINESS AVIATION

AVION LAW has a wealth of experience in business aviation, including:


  • Aircraft Sale and Purchase Agreements (whole aircraft and fractional shares)
  • Bulk Charter
  • Conditional Sale Agreements
  • Financing
  • Forward and Reverse Like-Kind Exchanges
  • Hangar leases
  • Insurance
  • Jet cards
  • Leasing
  • Maintenance Support Programs
  • Management and Charter Agreements (FAR Part 91 and FAR Part 135)
  • Ownership (including entity formation and administration)
  • State Sales and Use Tax Planning
  • Structuring of ownership and operation, including FAA, DOT, IRS and SEC issues
  • Time Sharing, Interchange, Joint Ownership
  • US customs and European Union VAT import

Representative Transactions


  • Advised countless clients in connection with the purchase and related financing of every model of business jet, new and pre-owned, from the drafting and negotiation of the initial Letter of Intent through to the consummation of the purchase, including advice on the appropriate ownership and operational structure taking into account tax and regulatory requirements and limitations, the avoidance of the so-called “flight department company trap,” the management of the aircraft (pilot services, maintenance support, dispatch) by appropriate management companies, the third party chartering by Part 135 operators, the negotiation of the sale and purchase agreement, the negotiation of financing documentation and the drafting of condition precedent documents, International Registry aspects, sales and use tax considerations and lawful avoidance pertaining to the physical delivery and subsequent operation of the aircraft, and co-ordination of the delivery process in conjunction with escrow agents and/or FAA counsel.
  • Advised in connection with the sale or purchase of countless helicopters, and their operation in, as examples, medevac, the offshore oil and gas industries, the fishing industry and under block charter commuting arrangements.
  • Advised on United States and foreign export issues and European Union VAT and United States customs import issues.
  • Advised on United States citizenship requirements pertaining to aircraft ownership and owner trust formation where required or desired.
  • Co-ordinated the provision of pre-purchase inspection oversight and advised on liability to correct inspection discrepancies based on agreed contractual terms.
  • Advised on United States, United Nations and European Union sanctions issues, particularly in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

GIVING BACK



The aviation industry has a tremendous record of giving back, and AVION LAW is committed to playing its own small part in that tradition.  At a basic level, we donate 5% of our gross revenues to charity.  We also work pro bono to assist aviation-related charities in areas where we can provide competent representation.

The charities that AVION LAW currently supports are:


   

Children's Hospital of Orange County, known as CHOC Children’s, is steadfastly committed to providing the highest quality medical care to children.  Its locations include a state-of-the-art 279-bed main hospital facility in the City of Orange, and a hospital-within-a-hospital in Mission Viejo.  CHOC also offers many primary and specialty care clinics, more than 100 additional programs and services, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence – The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.


   

Shelter to Soldier is a CA 501c3 nonprofit organization headquartered in San Diego that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other injuries associated with combat service experiences.  AVION LAW is supporting Shelter to Soldier's mission of "Saving Lives, Two at a Time."





FAQ

Where are you based?

The firm’s office overlooks the runway at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, California.  But AVION LAW embraces every available modern technology, so that we can effectively re-locate at any time for the convenience of our clients.  The firm’s clients are located on every single continent around the world, and we are qualified to advise our global clientele under multiple governing laws, so AVION LAW is an international law firm in its truest sense.  Our global network isn’t based on affiliated offices with limited (if any) prior aviation experience.  AVION LAW enjoys the freedom to work with the best aviation law firm in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed to practice, and knows who those firms are.

What is it going to cost?

Like every other successful business, we know what our costs are.  Unlike most law firms, we will tell you what it’s going to cost you to engage the firm.  So-called “alternative” fee arrangements are our norm.  We can work with you on the basis of an agreed hourly rate, but we can also agree a fixed fee for specific transactions.  It’s your choice.  A fixed fee is precisely that: we will not subsequently seek to increase the agreed fee under any circumstances.

Do you require a retainer?

No.

What are the billing arrangements?

For hourly based work we will invoice you monthly, unless you prefer otherwise.  For fixed fee work we will invoice you at pre-agreed milestones of the transaction.

What about “depth of resources?”

The perception that a single attorney cannot meet the clients’ deservedly demanding requirements is not matched by reality.  Clients’ testimonials and longstanding loyalty attest to that.  AVION LAW has every resource necessary available to the firm.  The simple fact is that the nature of what we do – transactional aviation work – does not require a team of lawyers of every conceivable level of qualification, each supported by paralegals and support “specialists.”  The firm’s wealth of experience breeds efficiencies that produces a truly value-based service.

It seems to me that if I so much as breathe in the presence of my attorney, he sends me an invoice.

Not with AVION LAW, and for a very good reason: we can better represent your interests when we are kept fully informed, so we do not want you to feel inhibited to pick up the telephone at any time.  Call us; come and see us; invite us to come and see you.  There’s a reason why it’s called an attorney-client relationship.

What is the Client Portal?

AVION LAW’s practice management software permits the firm to provide each client with a secure portal through which the client can access specific resources, such as documents and invoices, and conveniently pay invoices.  On any particular transaction, it permits the sharing of resources and collaboration with clients and co-counsel through a secure web-based portal, granting the latitude to review and contribute to relevant matter developments and mitigating associated inefficiencies related to time consuming communications.

CONTACT