O’Melveny Worldwide

Eric A. S. Richards

Corporate Department Co-Chair / Partner

As a top corporate and project finance attorney and Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Corporate Department, Eric Richards has been redefining the way major infrastructure projects are developed and financed. While based in Los Angeles, his work spans the globe, advising both private and governmental clients on projects involving investment in US airports, seaports, and other transportation assets, and on international deals such as the acquisition of airports in Northern Ireland and Sweden.

Eric’s practice focuses on project finance and infrastructure investment and development. He represents sponsors, developers, investors, financial institutions, and others in investment-related transactions involving infrastructure assets across a wide range of sectors. Eric is particularly experienced in transactions involving transportation infrastructure, including airports, seaports, rail, and surface transportation projects, as well as public-private partnerships and the privatization of governmentally-owned assets. He has worked on transactions throughout a majority of the United States, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Recognized as one of the leading infrastructure lawyers in the United States by several leading publications, Chambers & Partners notes among other things that Eric is “a go-to PPP lawyer for the redevelopment, improvement and expansion of airport terminals,” and IFLR 1000 has recognized Eric as a project finance Market Leader.

He is also experienced in investment management and corporate governance matters, as well as US and international securities laws and corporate joint ventures, combinations, and divestitures. Eric is currently serving a second term as a member of the Firm’s Policy Committee, the 13-member body responsible for overseeing the Firm’s general affairs and management. He also served previously as head of the Los Angeles office’s 100-lawyer Corporate Department.

Get to Know Eric

Get to Know Eric

  • LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) in its winning bid for the complete redevelopment and long-term operation of the Central Terminal Building (CTB) at New York LaGuardia Airport; total redevelopment costs are expected to exceed US$4 billion.
  • The redevelopment of LaGuardia’s Central Terminal Building will be a landmark transaction and become the largest public-private partnership to be undertaken anywhere in the world.
  • Plenary Group and Edgemoor Infrastructure in their winning US$460 million bid for a public-private partnership with the City of Long Beach, California to develop and finance the City’s new civic center complex.
  • Airports Worldwide in the acquisition of Belfast International Airport, as well as a 90.1 percent stake in Stockholm-Skavsta Airport, and management contracts for various U.S. airports and airport terminals.
  • Macquarie Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of a 49% stake in NYK Ports LLC from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.
  • Brookfield Asset Management in its acquisition of a 49% interest in the operations of TraPac, an operator of marine container terminals.
  • The Port of Oakland (the Port) in financing and other strategic transactions, including the Port’s landmark public-private partnership with an affiliate of the Ports America Group for a 50-year concession to operate, maintain, and further develop approximately one-third of the Port’s maritime operations space -- the first public-private partnership of its kind in the U.S. ports sector.
  • Airline sponsors, investor groups, and other stakeholders in the financing and development of airline passenger terminals and other significant airport infrastructure facilities at over 30 U.S. airports, including financing and development of terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK), Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Boston Logan International Airport.
  • Consortium Midway Investment and Development Company LLC on all aspects of assembling and submitting its bid for the concession and lease to operate Chicago’s Midway International.
  • A member of a consortium bidding for the right to develop, operate, and maintain the Presidio Parkway, the principal access roadway system for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
  • Major automaker in connection with the financing of new auto production facilities in the southeastern United States.
  • National Football League (NFL) team franchise in connection with its consideration of plans to relocate cities.
  • Certain mutual funds advised by an affiliate of a group of investment management companies and their independent directors in connection with corporate governance and related matters.
  • Investment management company in connection with the formation of numerous private investment funds and with regulatory and compliance matters.
  • Major film and television production and distribution company in connection with the establishment of several media-related joint ventures in India, Singapore, the Philippines, and other parts of Asia.

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • California

Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1989: cum laude
  • Yale University, B.A., Economics and Political Science, 1986

Honors & Awards

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business - Nationwide Projects and Public-Private-Partnerships (2010-2024)
  • Recognized as a “Market Leader” in Industry Sectors: Logistics, Transport (2019-2021) and Project Finance (2018-2021) by IFLR1000
  • Selected as a Project Finance MVP by Law360 (2018)
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 US in the category of Project Finance (2018-2023) and Transport: Aviation and Air Travel - Litigation and Regulation (2021)
  • Financial Times: North American Innovative Lawyers - Most innovative North American law firms 2015: Enabling clients business (2015)
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business - USA - Projects (2011 and 2012), Projects: PPP (2016-2023) and USA - Projects: PPP (2012, 2019, 2020 and 2021)
  • “Top 20 Lawyers in California Under 40” (2000)
  • Project Finance: Deal of the Year (2007 and 1999)

Professional Activities

Member

  • American Bar Association
  • National Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association

Author or Co-Author

  • Infrastructure: Where we’re going and how we plan to get there,” Daily Journal
  • “Rethinking Infrastructure Finance and Development Under Biden,” Bloomberg Law
  • “Private Participation in Public Infrastructure Airport Development,” Airport Finance and Development, The Deal Magazine
  • “Promoting Your [Public-Private] Partnership Prospects,” The Deal Magazine

Speaker or Panelist

  • 2023 Global Airport Development Americas Conference (GAD)
  • P3 Airport Summit
  • Airports Council International (ACI)
  • American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)
  • American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)
  • Securities Industry Group
  • Investment Counsel Association of America
  • Project Finance International