Ballard Spahr Partner Linda B. Schakel—a recognized leader on municipal bond tax issues—was honored as a 2018 Trailblazer by the Northeast Women in Public Finance at The Bond Buyer's recent Deal of the Year ceremony.

The honor was given as part of the 2018 Freda Johnson Award, which recognizes women from the public and private sectors who serve as leaders, mentors, and innovators in the world of public finance.

Ms. Schakel has handled numerous tax-exempt bond financings for 501(c)(3) organizations—including charter schools, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, continuing-care facilities, museums, and cultural institutions. She also has focused on affordable housing projects and economic development bonds, including empowerment zone financings.

"Linda excels when it comes to highly complex deals," said Ballard Spahr Public Finance Department Chair Emilie Ninan. "She uses her deep understanding and experience to help clients meet their goals within the confines of often-ambiguous guidance from federal tax laws."

Ms. Schakel practiced law with Ballard Spahr for nine years before serving as an attorney adviser in the Office of Tax Policy of the U.S. Treasury. At the Treasury Department, she was responsible for tax, legislative, and regulatory projects in the areas of tax-exempt bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, empowerment zones and enterprise communities, work-opportunity tax credits, and welfare-to-work tax credits. After two years with the Treasury Department, Ms. Schakel returned to the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Before entering law school, Ms. Schakel was an educator; she holds a master's degree and Ph.D. in gifted education. As an education professor, Ms. Schakel mentored young women and coached them on public speaking. She continues this work in the legal field, encouraging young female attorneys to embrace speaking opportunities.

An active member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, initially as part of the Education Committee and then as a board member and President, she has helped her younger counterparts integrate into the organization. Ms. Schakel also is a member of Ballard Women, the firm's affinity group for female partners, which has a strong mentoring component.

"Linda is truly a trailblazer," said Ms. Ninan. "She has excelled in her industry and, along the way, used her success to promote the advancement of other women. There is no one more deserving of this recognition."