Mark Lessard, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
LEADING LAWYER DIRECTORY – Mark Lessard, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
US business jet lawyer based in New York. Mark represents clients in the aviation, aerospace and transportation sectors, as a partner for Pillsbury Law.
+1 212 858 1564
“First, invest the time up front to get the structure right. Tax, accounting and regulatory issues should not be coming up halfway into a deal. Second, agree on the basic business terms in clear and simple language. It is best when all the affected parties (including brokers and lenders) have appropriate financial incentives to close the transaction. Third, flush out all conditions to closing and timing constraints. Communicate these to all relevant parties and circulate regular updates. Finally, don’t wait until the closing date to focus on the funds flow. For larger deals, a closing script with detailed funds flows is often advisable.
“One should avoid long periods without any communication between the parties or their counsel, as these can often lead to misunderstandings. One should also generally avoid any delay in addressing a fundamental issue that arises, since all parties need time to respond to a change in course. Attorneys should never assume that another party will take care of something without confirming it – execution is our responsibility. Finally, attorneys should avoid nasty surprises on legal invoices!”
“I dabbled in aviation while studying law at McGill University, which has a world-renowned air and space law program. But it wasn’t until I joined Pillsbury that I realised I could make a career in it. I admired the international character of the practice (not to mention the aircraft models in the offices of senior partners!). My French-language skills opened doors for me, including the opportunity for a one year secondment at Airbus in Toulouse. The more I learned about the complex web of technologies and relationships that goes into building, selling, financing and operating aircraft of all types, the more interested I became.”
Mr. Lessard is a partner in Pillsbury’s New York Office, primarily representing clients who are active in the Aviation, Aerospace and Transportation sectors.
Mr. Lessard represents lenders, airlines, manufacturers, lessors, trustees, underwriters and investors in connection with all forms of transportation asset-backed financings, including secured loans, intercreditor arrangements, operating leases, leveraged and tax leases, enhanced credit offerings, such as EETCs, and portfolio securitizations.
Mr. Lessard also represents buyers and sellers of high value capital equipment, including aircraft, aircraft engines, locomotives, railcars and high-technology manufacturing equipment. He negotiates purchase agreements, servicing agreements and related contracts for large loan and lease portfolios and executes commercial and corporate aircraft trades. Mr. Lessard’s practice in the aerospace sector extends to technology transfers and joint ventures, equipment maintenance and repair agreements, risk and revenue sharing arrangements and private equity investments in airlines.
Mr. Lessard also has significant experience helping aircraft creditors, lessors and operators navigate complex insolvency proceedings and resolve highly technical contractual disputes. He has worked closely with the firm’s Insolvency & Restructuring practice on every major North American airline bankruptcy since 2000, negotiating lease and debt restructurings for dozens of aircraft. He has assisted with the foreclosure upon, and the repossession and remarketing of, aircraft in several countries. Mr. Lessard also regularly assists clients in resolving disputes relating to aircraft maintenance and redelivery conditions, among other breach of contract claims.
Mr. Lessard has also advised on secured credit facilities, debt and equity venture financings, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, tax-driven corporate restructurings and private equity investments. He spent one year in 2004-2005 on secondment at Airbus, S.A.S. in Toulouse, France, where he handled an array of in-house legal issues ranging from corporate compliance and transactional work to aviation litigation and international trade.