As demand for defense-related business aviation and product distribution services continues to increase — particularly in certain economic sectors and regions of the world — the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is responding with significant growth as well. At the same time, manufacturers, distributors and service providers face a unique combination of risks, including long procurement cycles, unpredictable government policies and spending priorities, tightening regulatory restrictions, and growing competition across and within markets.
To help clients thrive in this complex environment, McGuireWoods has been providing legal advice to the global A&D industry for more than three decades. We understand the opportunities and challenges associated with cross-border commerce in equipment, supplies and personnel, as well as the uniquely complex regulatory requirements that arise when dealing with national and international governments and agencies. As a full-service international law firm, we provide counsel across all major practice areas, including litigation, corporate and securities, and labor and employment law. Our A&D lawyers also have great depth of experience in government contracting, finance, intellectual property, data privacy and security, and joint ventures.
We have active working relationships with local lawyers in every part of the world, including Shenhav Konforti Shavit & Co. (SKS) in Israel and KGA in France, with whom we have non-exclusive cooperative agreements, and other members of global legal networks, LNI and Lex Mundi. Both SKS and KGA are separate firms that cooperate with the firm to achieve the best results for our clients; both have extensive experience in A&D.
Our client list is as broad and diverse as the countries, regions, and industries in which these entities and individuals do business. We have represented a number of major Fortune 500 companies around the world. In Western Europe, and in conjunction with our London and Brussels offices, we have represented parties in the acquisition or sale of businesses in the A&D field in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. We recently advised a defense-industry client in the US$50 million public takeover and reorganization of a group of companies with operations in the UK and across Europe, and spanning the U.S., South America, India and Kenya.
Key areas of concentration include aviation and government contracts. In conjunction with McGuireWoods Consulting, our full-service public affairs subsidiary, we also provide strategic communications and government-relations services with national and local governments.
Our aviation lawyers represent equity investors, lenders, agents, lessees and borrowers in financing transactions for corporate and commercial aircraft, including domestic and cross-border leveraged leases, synthetic leases, true leases and loans in syndicated and single-investor structures, portfolio acquisitions and sales, and 1031 like-kind exchanges. We also advise parties in connection with the purchase and sale of corporate aircraft and the structuring of ownership and operation of such under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and jurisdictional requirements worldwide.
Our Brussels-based practice handles aviation-related matters across the EU, including passenger-rights cargo claims and ground-handling issues. The office acts as legal counsel to one of only two restricted ground handlers at Brussels Airport, in both contentious and non-contentious matters. We regularly provide legal advice on public procurement issues (e.g., securing the status of restricted ground handlers and on qualifying service providers responsible for accommodating the needs of passengers with reduced mobility). We analyse the environmental permit status on various land concessions, negotiate with airlines on ground-handling agreements (including the security package), and enforce creditor rights against insolvent airlines (both in Belgium and abroad). We also advise developers and manufacturers of aviation-related technology in intellectual property licensing matters and issues involving global distribution networks.
Providing products and services to government entities is a key source of revenue for many A&D enterprises. However, winning this business and operating as a prime or subcontractor requires strict compliance with a broad, complex set of rules. The government contracts lawyers of McGuireWoods can help untangle and guide clients through this regulatory web so that they can focus on what they do best. In addition to our legal acumen, our team has the substantial operational experience, security clearances, and industry know-how to identify and implement effective strategies.
Among other services, we advise clients on teaming and joint ventures, negotiation of contracts and subcontractor agreements, development of work statements and pricing proposals, management of protest bids and awards, investigations of fraud claims and other inquiries, compliance with local and national labor requirements, responses to potential suspensions and debarments, and — when necessary — resolution of disputes through litigation, mediation and arbitration.
Governments worldwide are facing significant deficits while increasing their regulation of cross-border trade, in general and specifically, of the A&D industry. In addition to organizing industrywide lobbying efforts to address emerging issues and funding cuts, the experienced public policy and government relations professionals of McGuireWoods Consulting help develop, promote and implement intelligent regulations that help streamline the work of our clients.
We have built strong working relationships with a variety of federal and state agencies, cabinet officials and boards, and consequently understand their respective needs, cultures and budget priorities. We use this knowledge to understand fully contract and procurement needs and thereby assist clients most effectively in achieving their objectives. For clients with business development goals in the public sector on a regional or national basis, our national and multistate strategies team can strategize with clients in formulating business development goals for presentation to decision-makers. Our federal team advises on cross-border regulations, including those related to trade and international affairs.