Michael O'Brien is a partner in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group and is based in the firm’s Chicago office. He is a member of the Firm’s Aviation Finance Team and also is the leader of the Derivatives & Structured Products Team.

Areas of Practice

Michael concentrates his practice in the representation of leasing companies, financial institutions and airlines in financing and leasing transactions involving aircraft and other transportation equipment.  He has more than 30 years of experience representing operating lessors, equity investors, lenders, airlines, sellers, and buyers in a broad range of financing and sale transactions involving transportation equipment, particularly commercial aircraft and rolling stock.  These transactions have included every type of leasing and financing structure employed in the market over the past two decades and are often structured to achieve certain tax characterizations. Many of these matters have involved the protection of rights and work-out of transactions involving bankrupt airlines. He has extensive experience in export credit agency financings, having represented a range of airlines in  Ex-Im and combined Ex-lm/ECA financings of over 300  Boeing aircraft, including the first Ex-Im financing for an operating lessor based in Germany.



  • Advising a major US based aircraft leasing company in the US aspects of the Mach 1 Issuing Group securitization of twenty-four aircraft on lease to 19 lessees in 15 countries.
  • Advising a U.S. corporate group in the financing of its purchase of a Global 7500.
  • Advising a major European based bank, as agent, in the restructuring of a $110 million term loan to a U.S. regional airline in which various DOT operating licenses and over 75 aircraft, together with spare engines and parts, serve as collateral.
  • Advising various banks in JOLCO financing structures.
  • Advising a major Canadian bank in the $292 million facility for the Roadrunner Transportation Group. The collateral for the loan consisted of the borrower's fleet of freight aircraft and spare parts.
  • Advising a large life insurance company as a subordinated lender in the financing of 9 Boeing B777 aircraft for a leading lessor.
  • Advising an Australian Bank in the tax structured financing of the purchase of several aircraft by U.S.-based customers.



Michael has been selected six times for inclusion in the Guide to World's Leading Aviation Lawyers (Euromoney Legal Group), and is a recommended lawyer in derivatives and structured products in The Legal 500.



Digital Media

Jump to Page

By scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse our website, you consent to our use of cookies as described in our Cookie and Advertising Policy. If you do not wish to accept cookies from our website, or would like to stop cookies being stored on your device in the future, you can find out more and adjust your preferences here.