A significant advantage we offer clients is our breadth of experience. During the last five years, we’ve handled over 140 public finance transactions involving more than $16 billion in indebtedness. This experience helps us to devise innovative ways to achieve the best possible results for our clients. The Public Finance Group works with a broad spectrum of governmental entities and industries seeking to use both tax-exempt and taxable bond financing, and as previously stated, we have comprehensive experience in all of the various public finance counsel roles. This experience gives us the perspective to overcome structural or other difficult issues by crafting solutions attractive to all financing participants.
Another major advantage we offer clients is our ability to work effectively with federal, state and local officials and business people. Our attorneys are recognized leaders in the public finance field and have hands-on involvement in relevant business, civic, government, and bar organizations.
We have experience in a broad spectrum of public finance transactions, including the following:
Alston & Bird has led the development of energy nationally in the financing of long-term natural gas, oil and other hydro carbon acquisitions with tax-exempt debt, both through reserve acquisitions and prepayment transactions. We have also negotiated energy supply agreements, interchange agreements, interconnection agreements, off-system sales agreements, smart grid master service agreements, public private partnership (PPP) arrangements, renewable generation facility and energy transactions, including contracts (both wholesale and retail), and acquisition and distribution contracts
As counsel to the Georgia Hospital Association and many nonprofit health care providers, the Public Finance Group works closely with Alston & Bird’s Health Care Group in assisting our health care clients, whether single facility providers or multi-facility chains, address the intricacies inherent in tax-exempt bond transactions. In this regard, we are very familiar with master trust indentures, obligated group financings and the unique tax and other issues that arise in tax-exempt 501(c)(3) health care financings. The health care legislative group in our Washington, D.C. office, which is headed by a former CMS director, follows health care legislative and regulatory actions closely and assists our public finance attorneys when conducting due diligence or drafting disclosure documents.
To encourage economic development, many taxing jurisdictions offer companies incentives to locate or expand in their jurisdiction. Alston & Bird routinely assists such companies in obtaining these incentives and helps communities with structuring incentive packages to promote economic development. Our attorneys are experienced in negotiating economic incentive packages with state and local governments. In conjunction with our State & Local Tax Group, we also routinely advise businesses in the procurement of non-negotiated tax benefits and other incentives provided by statutory law. Because of this experience, we often know the relevant economic development professionals, the “market” as to what incentives may be available for a particular project, and how to best structure a transaction in order to procure such incentives.
College and University Projects
Alston & Bird has an interdisciplinary team dedicated to representing public and private colleges and universities in the expansion of their physical plant and facilities, as well as advising architects, contractors, lenders and other professionals involved in the implementation of an expansion project. These lawyers have worked on projects for more than 40 colleges and universities across the country and practice in three core areas: construction, finance and real estate. Often retained at the earliest planning stages, our lawyers structure the transaction in anticipation of the client’s long term goals, spot issues to avoid legal delays and coordinate the many disciplines and professionals required to implement a facilities project. These same lawyers are committed to completing the transaction and follow it through each stage to completion.
Defaults, Workouts and Bankruptcy
Members of the Public Finance Group also have a great deal of experience in advising clients regarding financially distressed projects and both pre and post bond defaults. Together with members of our firm’s Bankruptcy and Global Finance Groups, we have organized a multidisciplinary task force—the firm’s Municipal Assets in Distress (MAD) Task Force—that advises cities, counties, trustees and bondholders in connection with bond defaults, workouts, bankruptcies and receiverships.
All of the members of the Public Finance Group are active members of the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) and many regularly participate on panels or speak in public forums regarding current public finance issues. Two members of the Public Finance Group have been honored in The Best Lawyers in America 2013: Glenn Thomson (Public Finance) and Della Wells (Natural Resources).