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Sebastian M. Smith

Sebastian Smith is a partner in the firm’s Tokyo office. He has wide-ranging aviation experience and regularly advises leasing companies, financial institutions, export credit agencies, institutional lenders, and airlines in respect of cross-border aircraft finance and leasing transactions. He has significant experience with the JOL/JOLCO market in Japan and has niche expertise in advising on aircraft freighter conversions and Unit Leasing Device (ULD) agreements. He has also been a key figure on M&A transactions/joint ventures for aircraft leasing and banking clients.

Sebastian has extensive disputes and restructuring experience in the aviation arena and has advised clients on distressed transactions during the COVID crisis and issues arising from Russian sanctions.

One client praises him saying “He is a knowledgeable aviation lawyer who is super-efficient; he really just digs in and gets things done.” (Chambers & Partners, 2022).

Sebastian previously worked at a Magic Circle law firm in London. During his tenure there, he was seconded to both Airbus and RBS Aviation Capital (now named SMBC Aviation Capital).

  • Advised on Aviation 100, Middle East & Africa Supported Finance Deal of the Year, Airline Economics (2022)
  • Advised on the Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year (Australasian Law Awards 2021)
  • Recommended by Best Lawyers for Asset Finance Law in Tokyo & Japan (2020-2022)
  • Advised on Aviation 100 Asia-Pacific Debt Deal of the Year, Airline Economics (2019)
  • Advised on Aviation 100 Asia-Pacific Overall Deal of the Year, Airline Economics (2019)
  • Advised on “ABS Deal of the Year” AirFinance Journal Awards (2019)
  • Airline Economics’ Equity Deal of the Year (2017)
  • Global Transport Finance’s “Aircraft Lessor JOLCO deal of the Year (2016)
  • AirFinance Journal’s PDP Deal of the Year (2014)
  • Recommended as key lawyer/JOLCO expert by Legal 500 (2019-2022)
  • Listed as a “Expert” by Expert Guides: Aviation (2021-2022)
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” by Expert Guides: Aviation (2019-2020)
  • Listed amongst “Band 2” practitioners for Banking & Finance: International Firms: Asset Finance (Japan) by Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide (2019-2022)
  • Listed as a “Foreign Expert based in Japan” in Chambers Global Guide for Foreign Experts (2017-2018)
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” by AirFinance Journal (2014)
  • Tokyo AirFinance Engine Round Table, Panel Member, 2017
Additional Thought Leadership Pages

Articles- Japanese Law 

  • Japan: Loan signing and Drawdown (CPs) Q&A, Practical Law, February 2018
  • Japan: Waiver & Consent Letter Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017
  • Japan: Comfort Letters Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017
  • Japan: Corporate Loan Facilities Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017


  • UAE: More Gold From the Desert, Cleared to Land, K&L Gates Aviation Newsletter, January 2019
  • Argentina: Silver Skies, Cleared to Land, K&L Gates Aviation Newsletter, January 2019
  • India: Legal Documentation & Changes Arising As a Result of the Collapse of Kingfisher, Cleared to Land, K&L Gates Aviation Newsletter, August 2018
Additional News & Event Pages
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