For the second consecutive year, the Aerlex Law Group has been recognized as one of the best aviation law firms in the world by Chambers and Partners, a London-based company that specializes in the evaluation and assessment of law firms and attorneys.

In its 2017 edition of the “Chambers High Net Worth Guide,” a resource intended to identify the best lawyers and law firms serving the high net worth community, Chambers selected Aerlex as one of the seven best law firms in the world providing services to the private aircraft industry. Chambers also recognized Aerlex attorneys Stephen Hofer, Amanda Applegate and Vicky Boladian as three of the top business aviation attorneys globally.

Of the 12 firms identified worldwide by Chambers, 11 are huge international law firms with dozens of offices and thousands of attorneys; five have their headquarters in the United States and the others are based in the United Kingdom or, in one instance, Australia. Aerlex is the only boutique, aviation-specialty firm on the Chambers list of the top dozen law firms. In addition, Chambers named three Aerlex attorneys among the 26 best in the world and ranked Hofer in the top 12. 

Aerlex President Stephen Hofer, who founded the law firm in 2005, said, “We’re very proud of the Chambers accolade and we’re very appreciative of the clients and other lawyers, all speaking anonymously, who have said such wonderful things about our attorneys and the legal services we render.”

Hofer continued, “Aerlex has successfully handled thousands of aircraft transactions and tax matters, collectively worth billions of dollars, on six different continents, but we also realize that every aviation transaction is unique and each one requires the utmost attention to detail, diligence, and client objectives. We know good reputations are hard won and easily lost and we strive to do the very best we can to achieve the optimal results for our clients in every matter we handle. Amanda and Vicky and I are also blessed to have an exceptional team of other lawyers and support personnel assisting us in fulfilling client needs. The Chambers publication confirms that we’re achieving our goals – but it also sets a demanding standard for excellent performance that we will continue seeking to satisfy in every matter we handle.”

The Chambers profile on Aerlex, which includes quotations from various anonymous clients and industry colleagues, reads as follows:

Aerlex Law Group is a boutique firm in Santa Monica that specialises in business aviation work. “They’re a fantastic, well-rounded team that knows the industry and knows the laws, and can take care of clients brilliantly,” says one source. The firm is recognised for its “amazing owner list” and enjoys an excellent reputation in the industry. “The depth of experience is as good as it gets here in the States,” comments a fellow practitioner.
Sources highlight the team’s “customer-focused” approach. An interviewee reports: “I am very happy with the firm. I think they are very careful of who they bring on to the firm and they provide great service to clients.”

Notable practitioners

Amanda Applegate assists clients with whole and fractional aircraft transactions, and has a wealth of experience in the aviation industry from her time as vice-president of NetJets. “Amanda’s a knowledgeable lawyer and she works hard to have a good understanding of important issues,” reports a fellow US practitioner. “She’s very detail-orientated and you never have to worry about her completing her responsibilities,” says a market insider. Sources note her level of client service and her flexible approach to transactions. “She is extraordinary in her precision, accuracy and precise evaluation of legal problems and issues,” adds another interviewee.

Stephen Hofer founded Aerlex in 2005 and is a well-known figure in the aviation industry, particularly recognised for his work with very high-profile clients. “The number of clients who rely on him is pretty impressive – he’s a guy I like to do deals with because he’s reliable,” comments a fellow practitioner. “Steve has an incredible historical working knowledge of everything having to do with aviation, which in itself is a subset of a complicated area of law,” adds another interviewee. Hofer is also described as “very service orientated” and “very commercially astute.” “He’s an excellent negotiator, very straightforward and able to articulate his client’s position very well,” says a source.

Vicky Boladian is a tax attorney with a specialisation in aircraft transactions. She handles local, state and federal taxation issues connected with the purchase, sale, ownership, leasing and use of private aircraft. Sources recognise her previous experience as a tax attorney at a Big Four firm: “She knows literally all the nuances and complications of the State sales tax laws, as well as even knowing people at the State Boards, so they respect her and her judgment.” Boladian is also praised for her client service: “She’s the whole package,” says one interviewee, “Vicky is phenomenal in what she does for the client.” Another market insider adds that “her dedication is unparalleled. She truly loves what she does and has a passion for it.”

Since 1990, Chambers and Partners has identified and ranked the most outstanding law firms and lawyers in some 185 countries throughout the world. During that time, the company has developed a reputation for thoroughness and independence that has attracted a client audience of notable size and quality. Chambers and Partners’ expert guides are trusted by in-house counsel worldwide for their objectivity and integrity. Chambers produces guides for the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific region, Canada and the Global market. Each directory is the culmination of thousands of interviews with lawyers and clients carried out by the largest research team of its kind. Chambers’ High Net Worth Guide aims to provide a valuable reference for family offices and professional advisers to wealthy individuals.