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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 and JOLCO market in Japan and has niche expertise in advising on aircraft Unit Leasing Device (ULD) rental/sale and lease back agreements. He has also overseen due diligence on M&A transactions/joint ventures for aircraft leasing and banking clients.

In addition to his asset finance experience, Sebastian has general banking experience and has advised Barclays Capital on a finance transaction for investments into Indonesia.

One client praises him as an ‘extremely experienced and hard negotiating aviation counsel’ (Chambers & Partners, 2019).

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).

  • Recommended by Best Lawyers for Asset Finance Law in Tokyo & Japan (2020)
  • Advised on Aviation 100 Asia-Pacific Debt Deal of the Year (2019), Airline Economics
  • Advised on Aviation 100 Asia-Pacific Overall Deal of the Year (2019), Airlines Economics
  • Advised on “ABS Deal of the Year” AirFinance Journal Awards (2019)
  • Recommended as key contact by Legal 500 (2019 and 2020)
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” by Expert Guide: Aviation (2019 and 2020)
  • Listed amongst “Band 2” practitioners for Banking & Finance: International Firms: Asset Finance (Japan) by Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide (2019 and 2020)
  • Recommended by Legal 500 (2018) as a JOLCO specialist in Japan
  • Listed as a “Foreign Expert based in Japan” in Chambers Global 2017 Guide for Foreign Experts (2017)
  • 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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