Mr Gates has specialised in aviation-related law throughout his career. His clients include airlines, airports, ground handlers, financiers, manufacturers and their insurers. His practice has involved representation of operators and others domestically and internationally and he has been involved in more than 50 international aviation disasters through his career. From 1997 to 2003 he was senior partner of the leading boutique aviation law firm Beaumont and Son (which subsequently merged with Clyde and Co) and in 2003 founded Gates and Partners which, before merging with another UK law firm in June 2013, employed 60 lawyers specialising in various aspects of aviation law, with offices in five jurisdictions worldwide.
From 1998 to 2013, Mr Gates was the legal adviser to the International Union of Aviation Insurers (IUAI), a trade association comprised of the world’s leading aviation insurers. Mr Gates represented the IUAI as the principal observer on behalf of the IUAI at the diplomatic conference resulting in the Montreal Convention of 1999 on carrier liability to passengers, at the diplomatic conference in Montreal for the Conventions on Surface Damage and at the legal committee meeting in 2013 discussing changes to the Tokyo Convention on Offences Committed on Board Aircraft 1963. From 2006 to 2016 he was legal adviser to the British Air Transport Association.
Mr Gates is currently the CEO of Gates Aviation Ltd, which provides a range of services to the aerospace industry in a variety of areas including dispute resolution, risk management, and disaster preparedness and response. He is also senior vice president of legal affairs at Kenyon International Emergency Services, legal adviser of the European Regions Airlines Association and a member of the legal advisory committee of the Flight Safety Foundation and the Shanghai Dispute Resolution Centre. Current projects include arbitrating a lease finance dispute as sole ICC arbitrator, disaster response advice for a major Chinese manufacturer, managing liability claims in Italy and Brazil for a European manufacturer, and advising a European airline legal department on responsibilities in a disaster.