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Michael H. Johnson

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With extensive experience in trade and investment projects throughout the world, Michael Johnson counsels domestic and international public and private entities in a variety of legal areas across numerous industries. 

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Featured Experience

Consultant to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Management and Budget, Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for economic development training, and the Ministry of Export, Innovation and Economic Development of Quebec.

Advised national-level food processor on multi-state site selection process for plant location.

Advised large food processor on plant expansion projects in Louisiana and North Carolina, including state and local incentives negotiation, transportation analysis and infrastructure financing.

Professional Biography

Overview

Mr. Johnson counsels domestic and international public and private entities in areas including cross-border transactions, foreign direct investment, international trade and market entry, and commercial and corporate law. He works with clients in advanced manufacturing industries, with a specific focus on automotive, aerospace, heavy manufacturing and technology.

Mr. Johnson is a member of the Global Business and Commercial Transactions teams, and has extensive experience in trade and investment projects in Europe, Latin America and Africa. He is the North American corporate counsel for several European, Latin American and Asian entities in diverse manufacturing and service industries, and is corporate counsel for several U.S.-based exporters. His work for these companies includes corporate compliance, including anti-corruption and due diligence. He is fluent in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and Catalan. 

Mr. Johnson also worked for FIFA (the international governing body of football [soccer], based in Zurich, Switzerland) as a FIFA Media Officer in charge of venue media operations for the FIFA World Cup France (1998), Sydney Olympics (2000), FIFA Confederations Cup Korea – Japan (2001), FIFA World Cup Korea – Japan (2002), FIFA Women's World Cup USA (Head Media Officer, 2003), FIFA Confederations Cup Germany (2005), FIFA World Cup Germany (2006), FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada (2007) and the FIFA World Cup South Africa (2010).

Mr. Johnson has served as Honorary Consul of Germany in Alabama since 2011. He was previously Honorary Consul of Brazil for Alabama from 1995 – 2010.

Representative Matters
  • Consultant to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Management and Budget, Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for economic development training, and the Ministry of Export, Innovation and Economic Development of Quebec.

  • Advised national-level food processor on multi-state site selection process for plant location.

  • Advised large food processor on plant expansion projects in Louisiana and North Carolina, including state and local incentives negotiation, transportation analysis and infrastructure financing.

  • Advised aerospace materials manufacturer on facility expansion projects in multi-year, multi-phase expansion of more than $400 million in capital investment.

  • Led acquisition of Brazilian entity for multinational technology company.

  • Led acquisition of German medical technology company for U.S.-based technology fund.

  • Numerous projects advising U.S. and European clients in establishment of subsidiary entities and operations in Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Peru.

  • Advised Italian manufacturer on acquisition of U.S.-based plant facility.

  • Advised Italian company on sale of U.S.-based subsidiary.

  • Advised U.S. company on purchase of UK-based manufacturing company.

  • Lead counsel for Brazilian manufacturing entity in North America.

  • Counsel to U.S. entities for public bid projects in Brazil.

  • U.S. legal counsel for startup operations for European manufacturers.

  • Counsel for expansion and consolidation of chemicals and materials manufacturing facilities to publicly traded entity.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • American Bar Association
  • Alabama State Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Spanish-Speaking Lawyers Committee (2008 – 2011)
  • Birmingham Bar Association
  • Economic Development Association of Alabama
  • Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association
  • German American Chamber of Commerce
  • Birmingham Rotary Club
  • Alabama Germany Partnership
    • Board of Directors (2011 – present)
  • Honorary Consul of Germany for Alabama (2011 – present)
  • Honorary Consul of Brazil for Alabama (1995 – 2010)
  • Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce (Atlanta)
    • Board of Directors (2008 – 2014)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® in Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2014 – 2019) 
  • Listed in Birmingham Magazine as a 2017 "Top International Law Attorney"
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • "International Business Council Roundtable Luncheon with European Consuls General" (December 2018)
  • "German FDI and Trade in Alabama and the Southeast," German Foreign Office Consular Conference (November 2018)
  • "Product Liability in the U.S.," International Chambers of Commerce (IHK), Mannheim, Germany (September 2018)
  • Moderator – "Trade Policies and How They Affect SMEs: NAFTA, Tariffs and Other Trade Obstacles," German Mittelstand - Southern SME Forum, Birmingham, Alabama (April 2018)
  • "Doing Business in the USA/Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen für den erfolgreichen Markteintritt in den USA," Advantage Austria Webinar (October 2017)
  • "Birmingham's 2017 International Trade Series," 2017 International Trade Series, Birmingham, Alabama (October 2017)
  • "Foreign Language Acquisition in the U.S.: Better Late Than Never – Practical Benefits from a Practitioner's Perspective," Department of World Languages, Culture and Literature at the University of North Texas (November 2016)
  • "RSM Manufacturing & Distribution Executive Summit (Atlanta)" (October 2016)
  • "RSM Manufacturing & Distribution Executive Summit (Birmingham)" (October 2016)
  • "Legal Issues with a Latin Flair," The North Alabama International Trade Association, Huntsville, Alabama (June 2016)
  • "Legal Considerations When Entering the United States Market," Unione Industriale di Torino, Torino, Italy (June 2016)
  • Panelist – "Brazil: What Next?," Nashville Chamber of Commerce's International Business Council Breakfast, Nashville, Tennessee (September 2015)
  • "Doing Business in the Southeastern USA: Legal and Tax Implications," Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta, Georgia (August 2013)
  • "Entering the Brazilian Market: Legal, Tax and Regulatory Considerations," Export University's Exporting 201 & 301 seminars, Mississippi (February 23-24, 2011)

Awards

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Education

  • University of Miami, J.D., 1992
  • University of Alabama, M.A., Romance Languages, 1989
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1988
  • Samford University, B.A., International Relations and Spanish, 1987
  • Pantheon-Sorbonne University (Universite de Paris I), 1986

Admissions

  • Alabama, 1992
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Courts 

Languages

  • Catalan
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

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