Our Multifaceted Experience Is Key to Guiding Our Clients
Drawing on more than 85 years of experience, our Public Finance Practice has served as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel on billions of dollars of tax-exempt and taxable financings. We take the view that our role as bond counsel is not merely to render an opinion in a transaction. We take the time to understand our client’s financial objectives and offer a range of services to help them plan and structure financings to fit their goals.
Our clients include: municipal, county and state governments; quasi-government organizations; colleges and universities; hospitals; and other non-profit entities; as well investment and commercial banks. Our experience with these clients includes a role in financings for:
- Higher education institutions
- Water, sewer, gas and other utility projects
- Municipal, county and state infrastructure projects
- Single- and multi-family housing projects
- Public schools and community colleges
- Economic development and redevelopment
- Sports stadiums
Our experience is recognized in independent national rankings as well as by our professional peers.
Since at least 2011, Saul Ewing has been among the top 10 nationally ranked bond counsel in Delaware and Pennsylvania, as reported by The Bond Buyer, which is the nationally recognized daily trade newspaper that covers the municipal bond industry. The firm’s bond counsel work also was included in these rankings for Maryland in 2011 and New Jersey in 2012. Additionally, The Bond Buyer reported that Saul Ewing was ninth nationally as bond counsel for competitive issues in the first quarter of 2013 and fourth nationally in the same category for the first half of 2014.
Professional and trade organizations turn to our public finance attorneys to educate others with the same interests, and they recognize the depth of our background by choosing our attorneys for membership or service in their ranks. Our attorneys frequently serve as lecturers and panelists on programs dealing with public finance, municipal law and tax matters for the American Law Institute, the National Association of Bond Lawyers, the Pennsylvania Association of Bond Lawyers, and the American Bar Association. Three members of the practice have been elected Fellows of the American College of Bond Counsel. George Magnatta, practice chair, recently completed a three-year term on the Internal Revenue Service’s Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Securities as part of a three-member project team which advised the IRS on operational policies for tax-exempt bonds.
Providing innovative solutions
We also serve our clients’ financial needs by developing innovative solutions that go beyond the traditional work of bond and underwriter’s counsel. For example, our firm headed a legal and financing team that created the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust, known as PLGIT. This investment vehicle allows local governments and school districts in Pennsylvania to pool short-term investments of cash balances. Our firm also did the legal work for the creation of a pooled loan program for PLGIT members, and continues to serve as general counsel to this trust and as bond counsel to the pooled loan programs.
Other services include:
- Assisting clients with referendums on debt for public projects.
- Participating in the legislative and regulatory process, including drafting legislation.
- Identifying financing alternatives to reduce the cost of capital for public projects, such as introducing direct loan sources and institutional investors to issuer clients.
- Evaluating and implementing public-private partnerships and inter-municipal joint undertakings.
- Advising clients on employing various kinds of swaps and other derivatives to better manage their financial plans.
Handling regulatory complexities
Having knowledgeable counsel is especially important as federal regulators have stepped up scrutiny of tax-exempt securities. Our attorneys’ experience with these complex regulations provides important insight for structuring, negotiating, documenting and conducting due diligence for financial transactions, particularly for clients trying to balance the cost of capital and the need for flexibility. George Magnatta in particular has a keen understanding of the intricate tax regulations relating to tax-exempt bonds and the investment of the proceeds thereof, including general arbitrage and arbitrage rebate matters. He previously practiced law with the IRS and wrote some of the regulations that govern tax-exempt financings to this day.
The Public Finance Practice also has extensive experience on disclosure issues and matters relating to compliance with the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. When acting as underwriter's counsel, attorneys in the practice draft official statements and other disclosure documents. Practice attorneys keep in frequent contact with clients about ongoing compliance issues and draft Continuing Disclosure Agreements to satisfying Rule 15c2-12 requirements for a variety of clients, including states and state agency issuers. When issues with disclosure rules and regulations arise, we have the background and experience to provide counsel to our clients on these issues.