Sami Mir

“First, no one can match our global footprint, and given that Project Finance transactions are inherently cross-broader, this gives us a huge advantage in terms of deal execution.”

Position

Partner, New York

Key Facts

Attended Georgetown University Law Center

Practice Area

Project Finance

Joined A&O

April 2006

Sami joined Allen & Overy as an associate in the New York office. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2003. We asked him the following questions:

Tell us about your career path and why you chose to join Allen & Overy.
I joined Allen & Overy in 2006, after spending 2.5 years at another law firm. I had a very broad transactional practice ranging from corporate finance to M&A to securities, but ultimately decided to focus on Project Finance as a career path. The decision to come to Allen & Overy was fairly easy—I wanted to be a Project Finance attorney and we have the best Project Finance team in the world. The opportunity to work with the best and brightest in my field was something that I simply could not pass up.

Why did you choose to specialize in Project Finance?
The draw of working in emerging markets really appealed to me. Over the years at Allen & Overy, I have worked on projects primarily in the Americas, but also in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Also, every project—whether financing an airport in Ecuador or a petrochemical plant in Saudi or a wind farm in Honduras—is always unique, and presents its own set of risks and challenges. The work is always fresh, exciting and rigorous.

Lastly, while Project Finance transactions tend to take a long time, there is nothing more rewarding then seeing a project actually completed and knowing that you’ve helped deliver a much-needed energy or infrastructure asset to the public sector.

What kind of clients do you represent?
I tend to represent export credit agencies, multilateral agencies and other development finance institutions, such as the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the International Finance Corporation, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. These are essentially public financial institutions that invest in the private development of energy and infrastructure projects across the globe.

While the commercial bank market continues to be constrained by the aftermath of the global financial crisis and is still adjusting to a new regulatory regime, these agencies are key players in the Project Finance market, which continues to see the capital requirements for energy and infrastructure projects increase to record levels.

Further, these institutions are often driven by developmental policies, and therefore tend to have a thorough due diligence process that looks beyond the “dollars and cents” to issues such as environmental conditions, labor standards, and other social impact factors, all of which makes these clients more interesting, in my view.

How does Allen & Overy differ from other firms in New York?
Allen & Overy differs from other New York firms in two key aspects. First, no one can match our global footprint, and given that Project Finance transactions are inherently cross-broader, this gives us a huge advantage in terms of deal execution. I routinely work with our other offices and being able to present a team that works seamlessly together and provides A&O quality advice around the globe is extremely appealing to clients.

Second, we are the world’s leader in Project Finance, as evidenced by our first place ranking in the Deologic Global Project Finance League tables for the past 13 years running. Having the leading market know-how at my fingertips is an incredible resource and really helps me provide the best possible advice to clients.

What do you enjoy most about working at Allen & Overy?
The people. Our clients, in particular in the Project Finance sector, are all extremely bright, motivated and interesting people, and being able to interact with them, side by side, on a daily basis on complex transactions is truly enjoyable. Today many of my clients are close personal friends.

And we wouldn’t be able to effectively advise these clients if not for the extremely talented and collaborative group of attorneys at A&O, both in the United States and abroad. From the partners to the associates to the staff, we are very much one “team” and having unquestioned trust and confidence in your colleagues and the ability to have a laugh really make this firm special.