Nabil Issa is a partner in the Middle East and Islamic Finance Group of King & Spalding, working from the Dubai and affiliated Riyadh offices. Prior to joining King & Spalding, Mr. Issa worked for leading law firms in Dubai and Riyadh and was also an adjunct professor of business law at the University of Sharjah’s College of Business and Management. Mr. Issa also completed secondments in Houston and Washington, D.C., with another international law firm prior to joining King & Spalding.
Mr. Issa’s experience includes work in the areas of banking and finance, Shari’ah-compliant funds, private equity, international investments, privatizations, venture capital, healthcare, education and energy industry transactions, and Islamic finance issues. He is particularly known for his development of innovative Shari’ah-compliant CMA funds and investment structures for real estate and private equity investments in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Issa was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to UAE University to study the effects of membership in the World Trade Organization on the financial laws of the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Issa is proficient in Arabic as well as being fluent in English.
Mr. Issa is highly ranked in the 2008-2016 editions of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business for his corporate and funds work throughout the Middle East, particularly in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In addition, Mr. Issa is ranked in Band 1 for his work on investment funds in the Middle East by Chambers Global 2014-2016 and is also recommendedas a leading lawyer in banking and financing matters in the Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa. Moreover, Mr. Issa was named among the “Leading Lawyers ” by Islamic Finance News in all 15 categories and is included in the inaugural 2008 and 2010 editions of Euromoney’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Islamic Finance Lawyers” and 2010 edition of Euromoney’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Emerging Markets Lawyers”. Mr. Issa was voted as the International Law Office winner of the Client Choice Award for Saudi Arabian finance matters for 2014.
Mr. Issa received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Graduate Certificate in Islamic & Middle Eastern Law from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of California at San Diego, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Publications, Speeches, and Presentations
- “Saudi Arabia,” The Asset Management Review, 4th Edition, October 2015 (James Stull, co-author)
- “Saudi Arabia: Steady Growth amidst New Regulations,” The Islamic Finance Handbook: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Global Markets, Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., May 2014 (James Stull, co-author)
- “Gulf Overhauls Fund Regulations to Attract Investors,” Zawya MENA Private Equity Insight, 25 February 2013 (James Stull and Phillip Sacks, co-authors).
- “Making the Saudi and UAE laws work in your favor”, Zawya’s MENA M&A Insight Newsletter, 8 January 2013 (Sanjarbek Abdukhalilov, co-author)
- “Saudi Arabia: A force to be reckoned with”, Islamic Finance News Guide 2012 (Sanjarbek Abdukhalilov, co-author)
- “Tips for Your Saudi Joint Venture,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, 1 May 2010 (Benjamin Newland, co-author).
- “Healthcare Regulatory Environment in Saudi Arabia,” American Health Law Society Newsletter, (November 2009, Mohammad Al-Ammar, co-author)
- “Structuring Shari’ah-compliant Funds,” Islamic Finance News, Leading Lawyers Report 2009, 1 August 2009 (James Stull, co-author)
- “UAE Update, Middle East: Year in Review,” The International Lawyer, Vol. 43, No.2, Summer 2009 (Mohammad Al-Ammar, co-author)
- “UAE Update, Middle East: Year in Review,” The International Lawyer, Vol. 42, No.2, Summer 2008 (Farida Midani, co-author)
- “Structuring Non-Recourse Islamic Financings in Dubai,” Islamic Finance News, Vol. 4, Issue 44, 2 November 2007 (Jawad Ali, co-author)
- “Challenges in Structuring Non-Recourse Islamic Financing of Energy Projects in Saudi Arabia,” Texas Journal of Oil, Gas and Energy Law, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2007 (Patrick Campos, co-author)
- “Foreign Real Estate Investment in the US and Europe: Some Considerations and Structures for Middle Eastern Investors,” AFIRE News, March/April 2007 (Amin Husain and Fadi Mudarres, co-authors)
- “Islamic Law and the Middle East,” The International Lawyer, Vol. 40, No. 2, Summer 2006
- “Middle East: Petroleum Provisions of Iraq’s Constitution and Saudi Arabia’s Entry into the WTO,” Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2006
- “Saudi Arabia: An Opportunity—New Ways of Doing Business,” Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), March 2006 (Robert W. Jordan and Stephen Matthews, co-authors)
- “Effect of WTO on Laws Relating to Trade in Services,” International Business Lawyer, July/August 2001
Speeches and Presentations
- “Morocco and Egypt: Investment Opportunities,” Wharton Conference Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15 March 2016 (participated on panel focusing on Egypt)
- “PWC Emerging Healthcare Opportunities in the Middle East Region,” PWC conference, Dubai, 27 January 2016 (panel with leading healthcare leaders in the GCC)
- “Innovative Investment Structures in the GCC,” MENA Private Equity Association Roundtable, Dubai, 12 March 2015 (panelist)
- “State of Islamic Finance and Prospects for the Future,” ABA and Hawkamah, 4 May 2010 (Panel with Dr. Mohd Daoud Bakar and Marwan Lufti of DIFC)
- “Health Care Initiatives in the Middle East: Key Business and Legal Considerations,” American Health Lawyers Association Teleconference, 16 February 2010 (panel with Mehul Mehta of Harvard University)
- “Real Estate Law in UAE and Saudi Arabia,” Cityscape Seminar in Dubai, 31 January-1 February 2010 (presented with Tim Tucker)
- “MEED Organizational Restructuring Masterclass,” Bahrain, 9 December 2009 (presented with Zaid Al-Farisi)
- “Addressing the Shortage of Expertise in the Global Development of Islamic Jurisprudence,” IQPC Leaders in Islamic Finance, 20 April 2009 (panel with Dr. Mohammed Burhan Arbouna and Dr. Aznan Bin Hasan)
- “Foreign Investment in the Middle East,” Practising Law Institute, 9 February 2009
- “Islamic Finance-Basic Principles,” Ernst & Young, Dubai, UAE, September 2007
- “Project Contract Risk Management Workshop for Non-Legal Professionals,” IQPC Middle East Construction Project Risk Management Summit, Dubai, UAE, 23 July 2006 (presented with Patrick Campos)
- “Foreign Investment in the Middle East: Different Countries, Different Rules,” Seminar, Houston, April 2006
- “The Legal Environment of Iraq,” Training Seminar for SITA Legal Counsel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 2004
- “WTO and Its Impact,” International Conference on Globalization and the Accountant, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Dubai, UAE, January 2002