After serving as counsel in billions of dollars of financings, we understand how to achieve our clients' financial objectives while respecting the needs and concerns of communities.
For more than six decades, Ballard Spahr has been helping build the nation. We have one of the premier public finance practices in the country, participating in the issuance of more than $1 trillion of tax-exempt obligations in all states, the District of Columbia, and American territories.
Our nearly 40 public finance attorneys represent state and local governments and authorities, nonprofit organizations, investment banks, and banking institutions in virtually every type of bond transaction. Our role in these transactions is diverse. We serve as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, disclosure counsel, issuer's counsel, lender and credit enhancer's counsel, and trustee's counsel.
And we are a recognized mainstay in the industry. Since 1958, we have been listed continuously as a nationally recognized bond counsel firm in The Bond Buyer's Municipal Marketplace (the Red Book). Thomson Reuters continuously ranks us among the top firms in the country each year as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel by dollar volume.
Our attorneys are innovative and work to advance the bond law profession by participating and holding leadership positions in the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL), a national organization that advises on the law and proceedings relating to state and local municipal bonds and other obligations.
Depth of Financing Experience
Our public finance lawyers have served as bond counsel or underwriter's counsel in connection with every form of traditional municipal debt, from general obligation bonds to tax, revenue, grant, and bond anticipation notes.
We have also participated in every kind of private activity financing, including qualified 501(c)(3) bonds and exempt facility bonds. These financings include bond issues for:
Airport revenue and special facilities bonds
- Bank qualified
- Continuing care retirement community bonds
- Cultural facilities bonds
- Energy Financing
- Gas Prepays
- Green bonds
- Hospital and health care revenue bonds
- Industrial development revenue bonds
- Military housing bonds
- Multifamily housing bonds
- New Markets Tax Credits
- Pension bonds
- Pollution control bonds
- Port facilities bonds
- Public-private partnerships (P3)
- Resource recovery and solid waste disposal revenue bonds
- Single-family mortgage bonds
- Sports arena revenue bonds
- Student housing bonds
- Student loan bonds
- Tax Increment/ special assessment bonds
- Tribal Finance
- University, secondary school and elementary school bonds, including charter schools
- Utility revenue bonds
We handle tax-exempt and taxable financings, new money issues, and all forms of refinancing, as well as conversions from variable to fixed rates of interest and tender offers for outstanding obligations. We are experienced in financings involving virtually every form of credit enhancement.
Tax and Arbitrage
Ballard Spahr has earned a national reputation in the federal and state tax law aspects of public finance transactions, including rules related to arbitrage. Our tax attorneys have analyzed and structured almost every type of municipal bond transaction.
We serve as special tax counsel to clients before the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service on audits and tax-exempt financing matters. We also represent clients in tax controversies arising from tax-exempt financings and have counseled organizations as to their tax-exempt classification under IRS Section 501(c)(3). In the arbitrage area, our capability is virtually unmatched. Our late partner, Frederic L. Ballard, Jr., wrote ABCs of Arbitrage (American Bar Association, 2011), a reference work used by many public officials, attorneys, and investment bankers.
Our public finance practice is enhanced by the firm's more than 60 securities attorneys who assist with bond issuers' original and secondary disclosure obligations and other securities issues, including state blue sky laws and federal securities regulations.
Derivatives and Other Financial Products
Over the years, we have gained extensive experience advising both public and private market participants on transactions involving interest rate swaps and related derivative products. These include floating-to-fixed and fixed-to-floating interest rate swaps, swaptions, basis swaps, interest rate caps, collars, and floors. We deal with many derivative products in primary market transactions involving original bond issues, as well as secondary market securitization transactions involving the issuance of custodial receipts, tender option bonds, and other synthetic securities. We also advise on complex tax integration issues.
Many municipalities are struggling to reconcile the need to provide public services with the fiscal pressures brought by declining revenues, reduced state support, a restrictive regulatory environment, rising labor and pension costs and other operating expenses, and limited access to capital.
Ballard Spahr's municipal recovery practice assists municipalities with addressing these challenges. Our attorneys help municipalities access capital markets at affordable rates, restructure debt and derivative portfolios, negotiate and arbitrate labor contracts, rebuild ratable tax bases, redevelop brownfields and promote economic redevelopment, control costs, and monetize assets. The practice teams public finance attorneys with colleagues skilled in labor and employment, bankruptcy, real estate, tax, and government relations to provide comprehensive counsel in this escalating legal area.
Emilie R. Ninan