18 February 2020

Winstead hires airline financing duo from Debevoise to open New York office

US law firm Winstead PC has opened a New York office as it adds two new attorneys

Evening traffic at JFK: New York office will be Winstead's eighth nationwide

Texas-based firm's new hires will help bolster its aviation transactions practice

US law firm Winstead has opened a New York office as it adds two new attorneys to further expand its airline practice.

Aviation finance experts Jaeyong (Jae) So and Jaesuk (Jay) Yoo join the firm as shareholders from Debevoise & Plimpton, and will head up Winstead’s presence in New York where the bulk of airline financing deals are originated.

The New York office is the Texas-based firm’s eighth nationwide and will allow Winstead, which boasts around 350 lawyers, to better serve its airline clients and other clients based in New York and the Northeastern region.

So and Yoo bring with them a wealth of experience related to airline financing and fleet matters, including leases, mortgage financings, export credit agency financings, capital markets transactions, restructurings, aircraft purchase agreements and regional jet matters. 

“After knowing and respecting Jae and Jay through the years, we are thrilled to add their decades of experience with the most complex and critical airline financings to our team,” said Bart Biggers, Winstead shareholder and chair of the firm’s Airline Industry Group. 

“Jae and Jay are highly-regarded airline finance attorneys, and it was a no-brainer on both sides to form a mega airline transactions practice together. The addition of airline finance to our unparalleled ‘nose-to-tail’ experience makes us the go-to for airlines around the world.”

Yoo joined Debevoise in 2007 and worked in its Aviation Practice Group alongside So, who had been at the firm since 1995.

“We were drawn to Winstead because of their strong reputation, commitment to the aviation industry, and their deep bench of attorneys with unmatched experience in a broad array of airline transactions and their extensive airline client base,” said So. “We are excited to kick start Winstead’s airline finance practice from the New York office.”

Winstead’s Airline Industry Group represents some of the world’s biggest airlines in matters ranging from finance to maintenance, procurement, airport operations and real estate. 

“The firm is committed to strategic growth responsive to client demands, and the addition of the New York office is certainly in line with that strategy,” said David Dawson, Winstead’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Last month, Duane Morris and New York’s Satterlee Stephens agreed to merge in a move that increases the headcount at the national firm’s Times Square office by 60% to more than 160 lawyers.

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