Martin Jacobson, '76: By Sea and Air

“I’ve had a boat since I was a kid,” said Martin D. Jacobson, ’76. “But I became more involved in sailing when I came to New York because of the proximity of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.” Jacobson has owned several boats over the years; his current sloop, the Crescendo, is a Swan 44, which he uses for both recreational cruising and races. He’s raced the five day-and-night trip that spans more than six hundred miles from Newport to Bermuda, in addition to racing from England to Ireland, in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and off the coast of New England. Jacobson enjoys the challenge of going out on the ocean. “When you’re on the water you have to pay close attention to everything—the sea, the sky, the weather. You see lots of wildlife and you notice details that you just don’t in daily life.” Other benefits to sailing, according to Jacobson, include meeting accomplished people with different backgrounds than the people he meets in law.

In law, Jacobson is well known for his work on the highly structured financing of equipment, infrastructure, aircraft and industrial properties and is listed in Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers, the International Who’s Who of Aviation Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Project Finance Lawyers, and The World’s Leading Lawyers. He is a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and the founding chair of the Committee on Project Finance, City of New York Bar Association. In addition to representing Airbus, which was awarded Airfinance Journal’s Best Overall Deal of the Year in 1999/2000, Jacobson helped organize the financing to form Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago. This company was formed to develop a plant in the Caribbean that produces and distributes liquefied natural gas.

After graduating summa cum laude in 1969 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in economics, Jacobson entered the Navy. He was promoted lieutenant and served on a destroyer for two years. His second two years of service were spent as an aide to an admiral based in New York City. During this time, Jacobson completed an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business where he focused on International Economics. He attended the University of Chicago’s Law School almost exclusively on the basis of the school’s academic reputation. According to Jacobson, the interface the University of Chicago was developing between economics and law made the school “a perfect fit” for his interests. “I’m one of those people who enjoyed law school,” Jacobson said. “I loved the whole environment—the academic quality, the classroom experience.”

Jacobson’s office sports an intriguing assortment of “deal toys.” A miniature Airbus, an intricate replica of an offshore drilling rig, and a clever model of a corporate finance deal’s organization designed to look like the atomic structure of a molecule all compete for a visitor’s attention. They are a testament to his clients’ regard for his efforts. One can only imagine future additions to his collection.