NEW YORK– LAWFUEL –A renowned Islamic Finance lawyer has joined Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. and will head the global firm’s Islamic Finance Practice. Michael J.T. McMillen, an accomplished practitioner and frequent lecturer and writer, is considered a trail blazer when it comes to Shari’ah compliant transactions.
“Michael brings a vast knowledge of Islamic financing that is highly compatible with our existing finance and projects practices and the current work we are doing in the Middle East,” said Steven B. Pfeiffer, the Chair of Fulbright’s Executive Committee. “We have expanded our global projects practice in order to offer our clients the most comprehensive project finance counseling possible. Michael’s experience in Islamic finance will greatly benefit our clients.”
Since its development in the 1970s, Islamic finance has seen immense growth. McMillen’s Islamic finance work includes real estate, project finance and private equity projects, as well as Islamic bonds and asset securitizations (sukuk), investment funds, bankruptcy funds, index-tracking funds, derivatives and new product development. He joins Fulbright as a partner and will work primarily from Fulbright’s New York and Middle East locations in Riyadh and Dubai, as well as spending time in the London office.
“Financings originating in the Middle East and Islamic Asia are growing in number and dollar amount, fueled in part by the great amounts of liquidity in those regions, and in part by the rapidly growing popularity of embracing Islamic values,” said John Lonsberg, who heads Fulbright’s Middle East Practice Group. “Both the U.S. and London markets are seeing material growth in these financings.”
McMillen has focused on Islamic finance for years and teaches a course on the topic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is the current Chair of the Islamic Law Forum, a division of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association. He lived and practiced in Saudi Arabia for four years, spent several years in London and has served as counsel in the structuring and implementation of Islamic finance products and structures to various Middle Eastern, European and U.S. financial institutions.
He has also been extensively involved with Shari’ah scholars and supervisory boards in the development and issuance of approvals for Islamic finance products, structures and transactions across the globe. McMillen helped create numerous Islamic finance products that are the “first” of their kind in the world, including in respect of U.S. and European acquisition and construction financings, short sales and options trading structures, and index-tracking products.
“Fulbright offers strong finance, tax and real estate capabilities and is committed to its global platform and presence in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States,” McMillen said. “At Fulbright, I have found a collegial, cooperative and harmonious culture and a long-term commitment to the Middle East, Asia and Islamic finance. As I began to examine the platform the firm has in the Middle East and the number of long-term practitioners in the region, Fulbright quickly emerged as the right place for me, and as the firm with the right global platform from which I could offer clients the most comprehensive legal counsel in emerging markets throughout the world.”
Fulbright’s lawyers are at the forefront of global project trends in both established and emerging markets.
“We are able to assist our clients in assessing and managing the many variables that can affect the outcome of a project, including the political, social, legal and other risks that are inherent in complex, large-scale projects and cross-border transactions,” said Gregg W. Harris, the head of Fulbright’s Structured and Project Finance Group. “Additionally, our lawyers are well-versed in the developing technologies and industry trends that shape the development and execution of a project.”
Fulbright advises clients on the development, construction, finance, operation, acquisition and disposition of infrastructure projects around the world. Fulbright represents multilateral lenders, commercial banks, developers, sponsors, investors, insurers and others on multiple types of projects in various sectors throughout the Middle East and across the globe.
“We have advised borrowers on routine Islamic finance matters for a number of years,” said William Bush, the head of Fulbright’s New York office. “Michael brings the knowledge and ability to assist our clients with larger, more complicated Islamic finance transactions. His added depth is needed, and we are pleased he sees Fulbright as a firm that offers the strong global platform in which this practice can thrive.”
Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
Founded in 1919, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. is a leading full-service international law firm, with nearly 1,000 lawyers in 16 locations in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Munich, New York, Riyadh, San Antonio, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. Fulbright provides a full range of legal services to clients worldwide.
The 2007 BTI survey of FORTUNE 1000 general counsel chose Fulbright as “The BTI Client Service 30” A-Team and Corporate Board Member magazine named Fulbright among the top 20 corporate law firms in the U.S. in their survey of board members of public companies. For more information, please visit: www.fulbright.com.