A significant segment of our public finance practice is focused on tax-exempt bond financings for qualified health care, educational, and cultural organizations.
Health care finance has been a significant part of our public finance practice since its inception. Our attorneys have served as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel to leading U.S. health care systems and have handled financings for many entities, including specialty and community hospitals; nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities, mental health treatment facilities, and other sub-acute care facilities; and assisted living facilities. Since 2004, the firm has been involved in over 200 health care financings aggregating nearly $15 billion. In 2009, we were ranked 13th in the country by Thomson Reuters as bond counsel in health care issues.
Additionally, we have been involved in financings for medical schools and academic medical centers and their affiliates. We have especially notable experience acting as underwriter's counsel, credit enhancer's counsel, lender's counsel, and bond counsel in financings for start-up and existing continuing care retirement communities.
For our health care clients, we negotiate interest rate swap and other derivatives transactions, advise on ongoing tax and securities compliance, and represent them in IRS tax audits.
Finally, we are experienced with credit enhancement devices, including letters of credit and standby bond purchase agreements, bond insurance and guarantees issued by financial institutions, credit support from governmental entities, and inter-creditor arrangements among health care creditors.
Ballard Spahr has a long history of representing educational institutions, especially colleges and universities, and understand the financial pressures and challenges they face.
In the higher education area, we have acted as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel in financings involving state university systems, private colleges and universities, academic medical centers, proprietary institutions, and post-secondary institutions. And our reach is significant: In 2009, Thomson Reuters ranked our public finance practice 4th in the nation as bond counsel for new issues in the higher education industry.
We also participate in financings for vocational/technical schools, school districts, and private and parochial secondary schools, and have extensive experience with student loan programs, serving as bond, underwriter's, or trustee's counsel in 38 issues valued at $9.1 billion since 2004.
These financings have supported the development of campus facilities, hospitals and clinics, research buildings, student housing (both university-owned and privatized housing), auxiliary facilities, and stadiums located in every region in the country.
We also participate in financings for vocational/technical schools, school districts, and private and parochial secondary schools, and have extensive experience with student loan programs, serving as bond, underwriter's, or trustee's counsel in 46 issues valued at $15 billion since 2004. Our affiliate, Avant Strategic Partners, has developed a niche practice in providing comprehensive arbitrage financial analysis and consultation, specifically with respect to student loans. Working with our tax partners, it has been instrumental in obtaining favorable tax positions and conclusion of controversies for student loan bond issuers.
Our attorneys have also acted as bond counsel for numerous charter schools in Arizona, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, D.C., and have assisted charter schools in obtaining financing through tax-exempt bonds, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs), and New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs).