Michael W. Smith

Partner, New York


Esteemed US practitioner Michael Smith receives high praise from market sources, who comment: “He is wonderful about ensuring that we get whatever we need whenever we need it.” They go on to say: “He is very supportive and he always makes himself available.”
Chambers USA 2016


Michael W. Smith concentrates on aircraft finance, equipment leasing, and other corporate transactions. His aircraft finance experience includes US Ex-Im Bank and other export credit agency-supported transactions, leveraged finance and operating leases, portfolio acquisitions and finance transactions, vendor finance matters, PDP financings, restructuring and bankruptcy matters, ABS transactions, securitizations, securities offerings and sales of lease receivables.

Mr. Smith has been identified as a leading aviation, transportation and asset finance lawyer in independent publications and surveys from Chambers, Legal 500, Euromoney plc, Who's Who Legal, US News—Best Lawyers and others.

His recent aircraft finance transactions include the representation of ICBC Financial Leasing, ABC Financial Leasing, Toronto Dominion, Aviation Capital Group, Pegasus Airlines, Virgin Australia, and other airlines, leasing companies and financial institutions in connection with the US Ex-Im Bank-supported financing of Boeing and Gulfstream aircraft and Sikorsky helicopters, including guaranteed loan structures, direct loans, capital markets take-out transactions and direct to capital markets and prefunded transactions.

Mr. Smith has worked on financings involving a wide range of assets, including aircraft and engines, helicopters, railroad rolling stock, air traffic control equipment, power plants, telecommunications equipment and semi-conductor production equipment. He also has experience in project finance, joint ventures, shipping, acquisition finance, trade receivables finance, venture capital and leveraged buyout transactions.

He is active in pro bono matters for numerous clients including Acumen, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Rainforest Alliance and Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Smith was previously based in Greece, England, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bars and Courts
New York State Bar
Duke University School of Law
University of Iowa


JetBlue Airways, 2014
Represented JetBlue Airways in the sale of US$225 million of privately placed Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETCs) in March 2014.

Micron Technology, 2013
Represented Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte. Ltd. as issuer and Micron Technology, Inc. as parent guarantor in the issuance in the capital markets of US$462 million of Secured Notes, guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank. The notes were offered under a medium term note program in Singapore.

JP Morgan Securities, 2012
Represented JP Morgan Securities as initial purchaser in the issuance of notes guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank in the capital markets. The notes were issued by an affiliate of GOL to finance engine maintenance services performed by Delta. The transaction was selected as 2012 Latin American Deal of the Year by Airfinance Journal.

Financings for Helicopter Leasing Companies, 2012–2014
Represented foreign and US financial institutions as lead arrangers, lenders and initial purchasers in numerous financing transactions for leading helicopter leasing companies (including secured term loan and revolving credit facilities, bridge financings, PDP financings, unsecured loans and US Ex-Im Bank capital markets transactions). He has also acted for helicopter leasing companies and operators in secured term loan and revolving credit facilities and export credit financings.

Aviation Capital Group, 2010
Represented Aviation Capital Group in its US$600 million issuance of senior unsecured notes, the first Rule 144A notes offering by ACG, in a transaction selected as 2010 Deal of the Year: North America by Airfinance Journal and in subsequent 144A offerings.

Aircraft Leasing Companies/Airlines/Lenders, 2005–2014
Represented aircraft leasing companies, airlines and lenders in connection with export credit financings (including US Ex-Im Bank backed capital markets bond offerings), syndicated secured loans, joint ventures and unsecured note offerings.

IAE International Aero Engines, AG, 2005–2014
Represented a leading engine manufacturer in connection with various vendor finance matters.

Leveraged Leases, 2008–2014
Represented various parties in French, Italian and Luxembourg leveraged lease transactions.

Speaking Engagements

"Insider Views on Industry Expectations, Accessing the Capital Markets, Export Credit Agencies, and Re-Engining", February 23, 2011: ACI Aircraft Finance & Leasing Conference – New York, (legal panel member)

"US Ex-Im Bank's Response to the Financial Crisis", April 22, 2010: American Bar Association Meetings – Denver, (legal panel member)


Working it Out, Airfinance Journal, January 2004, (article on airline lease and loan restructuring)

Awards and Recognition

Leading Lawyer: Aviation, Transportation and Asset Finance, Chambers USA 2013 – 2014 (Band 1); Chambers Global 2014 (Band 3)

Leading Individual: Aviation, Euromoney plc: Best of the Best USA 2014

Leading Lawyer: Transport, Who's Who Legal, 2015

Highly Regarded Individual: Aviation, Who's Who Legal, 2014

Recommended Lawyer: Equipment Finance Law, US News — Best Lawyers 2014