Global law firm Reed Smith welcomes the return of Richard Hakes as a partner in London. Richard trained and qualified as an associate at Reed Smith in 2007 before moving to Allen & Overy, where he has specialised in ship and aircraft finance for the last seven years.

Listed as a ’rising star’ by a number of publications, Richard has also recently been recognised by Airline Economics in their ’40 under 40’ list of the most outstanding individuals in the commercial aviation industry under 40 years of age.

Richard will add considerable strength to Reed Smith’s growing asset finance practice, which has recently seen the arrival of top aviation and aerospace finance lawyers Liz Evans in New York and Del Smith in northern Virginia, in addition to William Veatch and Catherine Young Hagerty who joined in San Francisco.

In addition to supporting the continued growth of the firm’s market leading ship finance practice, Richard will spearhead the firm’s aviation finance practice in London and has recently been involved in establishing some of the most innovative asset acquisition programmes in the market, many of which have combined commercial debt together with conventional and Islamic-compliant note issuances.

Richard also has extensive experience in a wide range of structured and large-scale asset finance transactions, including in export credit agency related matters, commercial debt finance, Islamic finance, tax leasing, operating leasing, asset and portfolio disposals and acquisitions, joint ventures, securitisations, capital markets products and restructurings.  He advises a significant cross-section of clients, including banks, funds, arrangers, export credit agencies, ship owners, charterers, lessors, airlines and manufacturers.

Rob Wilkins, who is leading the firm’s asset finance team expansion, added: ’His move speaks volumes of the transformation and growth of our asset finance team in recent years, based around our market leading reputation in shipping and a growing reputation in aviation. The team has been extremely busy for a number of years and continues to grow rapidly across the US, Europe and Asia. With Richard’s arrival we look forward to continuing the growth of the ship finance practice and servicing the high demand from clients in this field. Many of our banking, investment banking and fund clients are also investing in aircraft and, with Richard now spearheading our London aviation team to complement our other recent hires in this sector, we look forward to expanding our offering to clients in aircraft transactions.’

Shipping Industry Group Chair Nick Shaw commented: ’We are all delighted to see Richard return to the firm at which he trained. The Ship Finance team has been going from strength to strength over recent years and his return will only bolster our efforts in this area.’

Richard added: ’I’m excited to return to Reed Smith and have been impressed by the growth in the practice and the firm over the last seven years. The team is ambitious and energetic, coupled with a real depth of talent and I look forward to both continuing this success and to breaking new ground with them. The strength and global reach of Reed Smith will offer me a market-leading platform from which to better serve my clients and their existing client base is a natural fit with my practice. I look forward to working with them across a range of transactions in the shipping and aviation markets.’