The public finance arena is becoming more complex as issuers face challenges in utilizing new and innovative financing tools, such as variable rates; swaps; investment agreements; derivative structures; an increasingly regulatory environment of IRS examination and audit; an expected, unprecedented level of SEC oversight of the municipal bond marketplace; and an extremely volatile marketplace composed of wary investors.
Hunton & Williams LLP's public finance practice reflects experience in addressing virtually every significant legal issue that affects both governmental financing and tax-exempt financing for private entities. Our lawyers have served as bond counsel, special disclosure counsel and counsel to issuers, underwriters, trustees, credit enhancers and institutional investors in transactions throughout the United States. Our financings have covered all types of government obligations, including general obligation and revenue bonds for states and political subdivisions, as well as bonds for housing, airports, transportation, education and health care. We have served as bond counsel, borrower’s counsel and underwriter's counsel for tax-exempt financings for private colleges, hospitals, retirement facilities and other 501(c)(3) institutions, as well as the full range of tax-exempt borrowings available to private corporations. We also have worked extensively with governments and private entities to navigate economic incentive programs to attract and maintain employment.
In recent years, we have devoted substantial resources to the challenges of public-private partnerships, including financings for privatized toll roads, tax-increment financings and the development of community development districts. We have addressed all of the significant legal issues, including the federal tax regulations restricting "private use" in bond-financed facilities and the state constitutional and statutory restrictions on governmental assistance to private entities. We have assisted in the development of financing techniques that allow the public sector to leverage private investment in much-needed public infrastructure. These techniques also encourage accelerated private investment in stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, hotel/conference centers and other facilities promoting public purposes.
Our public finance lawyers are well versed in the federal tax law issues related to tax-exempt financing. Our lawyers and professionals in this area devote substantial time to exploring tax questions raised by new financing techniques, as well as constantly reviewing IRS regulations and rulings. Our ability to help our clients is enhanced by regular contact with both the IRS and Treasury staff and the national tax-exempt bond bar. Our lawyers routinely serve as special tax-counsel for "tax intensive" financings, and the breadth of their knowledge is reflected in testimony before congressional and IRS hearings, as well as in extensive writing and teaching activities. We have developed a special team to assist public finance clients undergoing IRS audits, and we have negotiated closing agreements with the IRS to preserve the tax-exempt status of bonds.
Hunton & Williams has taken an important role in responding to the emerging standards in the application of the federal securities law to the sale of governmental bonds. We have participated in industry-wide responses to the SEC and other regulatory activities, as well as the development of national "good practices" initiatives in municipal disclosure. In our representation of issuers and underwriters we have addressed the widest range of securities law issues affecting both governmental and private borrowers.
The firm's reputation is further evidenced by the leadership positions our lawyers have held both in the public finance bar and in organizations serving the national public finance industry. Three of them are former presidents of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and one is a former vice chairman of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and the American College of Bond Counsel ("ACBC"). Currently four public finance attorneys are fellows of the ACBC.
Hunton & Williams takes particular pride in the ability of its public finance lawyers to find creative, soundly based legal structures for the ever-changing financing techniques that drive the world of public finance and tax-exempt borrowing.