Public Finance Law

Who We Are

Clark Hill’s Public Finance Team has built its reputation as a leader in the public finance area on its ability to provide a more personalized, thorough and strategic delivery of legal services to our finance clients. Our leadership and expertise is reflected in the number of state and local governments, universities, community colleges, public schools and other public corporations that Clark Hill represents and that rely on Clark Hill to handle the legal aspects of their financing needs. Clark Hill is regularly recognized by the Bond Buyer as one of the very top bond counsel firms in Michigan & Pennsylvania measured by the aggregate par value of bonds issued each year by our clients

Areas of Expertise

Clark Hill’s public finance attorneys possess the breadth and depth of experience to undertake, technically, creatively and efficiently, virtually every type of tax-exempt (or taxable) governmental borrowing permissible under law. Our attorneys have been involved in tax-exempt bond financings under every significant Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania statute governing state, bi-state, university, municipal and local government authorities and agencies, and public school borrowings. Our attorneys also possess a wealth of expertise and experience with federal and state securities laws and all aspects of federal tax laws related to the issuance of tax-exempt obligations.

Clark Hill’s public finance attorneys are also experienced in the area of derivative products, including interest rate swaps, hedges, collars and caps, and have substantial experience in negotiating and drafting derivative-related documents. Our expertise includes analyzing the consequences of derivative products upon execution, during their term and upon termination, including swap unwinds and potential penalties (in connection with which we have implemented strategies to refinance swap penalties to minimize their impact).

With the recent concerns about the financial stability of various bond issuers, legal expertise in the area of municipal bankruptcy and the analysis and disclosure of bankruptcy risks as they pertain to various financial and statutory deal structures has become absolutely critical in public finance transactions. Clark Hill has been in the forefront of discussions and analyses regarding the complex intersection of federal bankruptcy law and State statutes governing municipal bond financing transactions.  We have formed a special team of municipal, bond, education and bankruptcy lawyers to address any and all issues raised in this regard.  On the basis of our vast experience in representing governmental units, public schools, financial institutions and underwriters in public finance transactions, we are capable of formulating appropriate responses to any disclosure issue that may arise.

The Firm regularly acts in the following capacities when representing our clients:

  • Bond counsel
  • Credit enhancer’s counsel
  • Underwriter’s counsel
  • Trustee’s counsel
  • Bank counsel
  • Borrower’s counsel

Types of Financings and Projects

In the above capacities Clark Hill’s public finance attorneys have assisted our clients with the following types of tax-exempt and taxable financings:

  • Unlimited and limited tax general obligation bonds and bond anticipation notes
  • Revenue bonds (lease and loan structures)
  • Tax Increment bonds for tax increment authorities and brownfield development authorities
  • Drain bonds
  • Tax credit bonds
  • State Transportation Fund bonds
  • Special Assessment bonds
  • Building Authority bonds
  • Finance leases
  • Installment purchase agreements
  • Tax and revenue anticipation notes
  • Student Loan bonds
  • Multi-Family Housing bonds

Clark Hill’s public finance practice has assisted in financing many types of projects, including:

  • Airports 
  • Bridges 
  • College Buildings 
  • Community Centers 
  • Electric Utilities 
  • Drains 
  • Fire Stations and Fire Trucks
  • Hospitals 
  • Housing Projects
  • Industrial Facilities 
  • Jails 
  • Libraries
  • Marinas
  • Municipal Halls
  • Nursing Homes/Assisted Living Facilities/Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Parks
  • Parking Facilities
  • Police Stations
  • Public Works Buildings
  • Recreational Facilities
  • Redevelopment Projects
  • Schools
  • Streetscape Improvements
  • Transportation Infrastructure Projects
  • Water and Sewage Systems

Who We Represent

Clark Hill’s public finance attorneys regularly represent the following issuers of tax-exempt and taxable obligations:

  • Building Authorities 
  • Cities 
  • Community Colleges 
  • Community Mental Health Departments
  • Counties
  • County Improvement Authorities
  • Drain Commissioners
  • Finance Authorities
  • Libraries
  • Public School Academies
  • Public School Districts
  • Strategic Funds
  • TIF Authorities
  • Townships
  • Universities
  • Utility and Sewerage Authorities
  • Villages

In addition, our clients also include most regional and many national investment banks and financial institutions where our public finance attorneys act as disclosure counsel or bank counsel.

Experience

Redevelopment of the iconic Argonaut Building in Detroit, Michigan at a project cost in excess of $150,000,000 through a multi-layered tax credit transaction involving State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, New Market Tax 

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Presented at Public Finance Public Hearings before Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service on topic of "On Behalf of" regulation promulgation.

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Served as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel and special counsel in connection with original issue financings and refundings for local government units, municipal authorities and state authorities.

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Presenter/Lecturer at Pennsylvania Finance Authority seminars.

Representation of a locally based developer in connection with (i) negotiating and drafting documentation connected with site acquisition, development and construction of numerous strip malls leased to national retailers; (ii) assisting developer in obtaining zoning/permitting/approvals needed to develop the project; (iii) providing counsel in environmental issues with respect to the site; (iv) assisting the developer in obtaining construction and permanent financing including letter of credit enhancement financing for a number of projects combined into one financing; and (v) handling all title insurance matters for such developer's projects
Draft "form" documentation for tax-exempt transactions.
Act as Bond Counsel for industrial development projects, solid waste facilities, airports, hospitals, universities, colleges and other 501(c) (3) debt and leasing transactions.
Represent national Lessors with regard to tax-exempt leasing transactions.­
Represented commercial lenders in tax-exempt financing transactions and, in connection therewith, prepared and/or reviewed term sheets, commitment letters, loan agreements, security agreements, and reviewed title matters
Panelist on Tax-Exempt Financing for the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association
Represented a county industrial development authority in connection with co-generation facility financings
Served as counsel to municipalities and municipal authorities on Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (Pennvest) financings
Served as lead Bond Counsel, Special Counsel, or Underwriter’s Counsel in hundreds of millions of dollars of general obligation, water and sewer revenue, solid waste, parking facilities, and 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporations financings
Served as Bond Counsel for one of the first bond financings in Pennsylvania under the Transportation Partnership Act, the proceeds of which were used for an interchange project

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Lectured at a Pennsylvania Association of Bond Lawyers Seminar on the topic of municipal authority takeovers.

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Reported public finance-related decisions include: West Deer Civic Association v. West Deer Township, 75 Pa. D. and C. 2d 611 (1975); Harrison Township Water Authority v. Township of Harrison, 141 Pitts. L.J. 175 (1993).

Represent corporate trust providers in transactions involving public finance.

Public Finance and Public Finance Litigation - Represented bond trustees in default settings including the bankruptcy of obligor of debt service requirements under bond issues.

Represent Broker Dealers with regard to their roles in public finance transactions, including preparation of disclosure materials and federal and state securities law filings.