New Year New Jobs for Jebely, Aboulafia and Applegate


The New Year is especially exciting for those starting new jobs and three significant moves are happening now.

Paul Jebely is starting at law firm Withers as a senior partner in its Hong Kong office and head of its newly-launched global asset finance practice. Jebely joins the firm from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where he was managing partner of the Hong Kong office and co-chair of the firm’s private wealth and asset finance practices.

“It is now one minute after midnight on 1 January 2022, and I am in our office getting to work on building the leading private asset finance practice in the world, and one of the leading asset finance practices in the world, with the great people of Withers and for the extraordinary people and companies we work on behalf of,” says Jebely. “Planes, boats and automobiles have been passions of mine since I was a child, and now counselling successful individuals and companies on how best to invest in, sell, finance, lease, charter and operate them is my privilege.” 

Withers is well known for representing individuals and families. Jebely is well known in the industry globally for his work representing ultra-high net worth individuals and their businesses.

“There’s no doubt that Paul and the team of current and new Withers lawyers and staff that we will bring together around him, will be the market leaders in the private asset finance space, namely involving aircraft and yachts, and will significantly enhance the profile of our existing work involving such assets,” said Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of Withers’ business division. “Beyond private wealth, we are also excited to see where our new world-class aviation capability takes us in the years to come. This is especially as our clients invest capital in various forms of aviation, and also as we expand our aviation clientele to include airlines and other operators.”  

Richard Aboulafia, one of the industry’s most respected analysts and forecasters, is leaving his role of vice president, analysis at Teal Group after 32 years. He is joining aerospace management consultant AeroDynamic as a MD.

In his monthly letter, he highlighted how he had predicted the bursting of the very light jets bubble. I saw this debacle coming, I’m proud to say, but so did some other like-minded sceptics. Happy memories of long discussions with a group of fellow VLJ resisters, fighting off hordes of Kool-Aid quaffing bubble-blowers. I think we all learned from this debacle,”  says Aboulafia. Never again will grifters and techno-utopians pull a fast one on unsuspecting rubes with too much money and not enough…oh, too late. It’s happening again. And this time, the air vehicles are vertical and electric. Think Disruptive! Better still, don’t think.” 

Amanda Applegate is also leaving Aerlex Law Group to set up her own firm, Soar Aviation Law in January. Aerlex senior transactional attorney, Sarah Northcraft Spann will be joining Applegate as partner in the new firm, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

Applegate joined Aerlex in October 2011 and was named a partner in October 2016 at the same time Northcraft Spann joined the firm. Applegate told CJI she is now looking forward to creating her own organisation from the ground up.

“I think having my own firm is a better fit for me, as I can create an organisation from the ground up in my vision. The timing is simply that I made a commitment to stay as a partner at Aerlex for five years. That commitment ends in December of 2021, so the timing was all driven by that agreement and not tied to the current market conditions. Having said that, certainly the market conditions will support a growing business,” said Applegate.

She believes there is a need for more aviation attorneys. Applegate intends to hire and train new attorneys at Soar Aviation Law. “I loved my role as a mentor and leader when I was at NetJets and I look forward to doing more of that again. In the current market it is imperative to provide thoughtful legal advice but responsiveness is critical.”

Applegate spent a decade in-house at NetJets before she moved to Aerlex. Generally a risk-adverse person, launching a new business is a step outside of her comfort zone. However, Applegate thinks many people who know her and the work she does, expected this a long time ago.

Steve Hofer Aerlex’s founder, said he was both pleased and saddened to share the news. “Pleased because I know Amanda and Sarah’s new venture will be successful but saddened because they have been important members of the Aerlex team for many years and we are sorry to see them go.”

He added, having started his own firm back in 2005: “I can totally respect that choice.”

Finally, best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022 from Louisa, me and everyone at Corporate Jet Investor. We look forward to seeing you in 2022.


New Year, new opportunities. Paul Jebely (above) is starting at law firm Withers as a senior partner in its Hong Kong office and head of its newly-launched global asset finance practice. Also moving to new roles are Amanda Applegate, formerly of Aerlex Law Group, and Richard Aboulafia, who is leaving Teal Group after 32 years.

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