General Session: “The Growth of ESG in Public Finance”

The session addresses how the growing trend in public finance is to capitalize on green investing and frameworks around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. They also discuss how ESG trends and considerations will impact the public finance market.

Panel Chair: Dave Erdman, Capital Finance Director, State of Wisconsin Capital Finance Office


Rachel Barkley, Senior Vice President, Loop Capital Markets

Sally Bednar, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Securities

Drew Smith, Treasurer, University of Michigan

Nora Wittstruck, Director - ESG Lead for USPF, S&P Global Ratings



Bank Direct Purchase – General Considerations (Non-Tax)

The panel discusses structuring and securities and general law considerations that arise in private placement issues and bank loans. Topics include: trends in bank loans and other direct-placement financings, such as letters of credit, hybrid financings, liquidity and operational financings; covenants and other term considerations; use of forward delivery arrangements, “Cinderella” and other refunding tools; application of certain MSRB rules; roles and responsibilities of Municipal Advisors and Placement Agents; and filing and notice considerations. The session emphasizes general concepts which practitioners may face on direct purchase transactions and discusses current developments relevant to bank products.

Panel Chair: Deanna L.S. Gregory, Pacifica Law Group LLP, Seattle, WA


Katherine A. Gale, Chapman and Cutler LLP

Vanessa S. Legbrandt, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Bhanu Patil, U.S. Bank



The Commissioner’s Side

The panel focuses on current topics relating to IRS examinations of tax-exempt bonds and other tax-advantaged bonds; to the IRS Voluntary Closing Agreement Program (VCAP) for tax-exempt bonds, and other tax-advantaged bonds as well as other initiatives, activities and publications of the tax-exempt bond functions with the IRS. 

Panel Chair: Michael G. Bailey, Law Office of Michael G. Bailey, Wilmette, IL


Bob C. Griffo, Internal Revenue Service

Perry E. Israel, Law Office of Perry Israel

B. Darrell Smelcer, Internal Revenue Service



Community Redevelopment with Opportunity Zones, Historic, New Markets, Low-Income Housing, Energy Tax Credits and Other Incentives

The panel addresses tax and non-tax aspects of Opportunity Zones and other economic development incentives that are relevant to the bond community. The session helps public finance attorneys understand the basics of the Opportunity Zones, other economic development incentives, and how to talk with municipal clients about transactions that may involve Opportunity Zones and economic development incentives.

Panel Chair: Kostas A. Poulakidas, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Chicago, IL


Olivia Byrne, K&L Gates

Tyler J. Kalachnik, Ice Miller LLP

Aileen S. Thomas, Jones Walker LLP



Ethics: Conflicts, Competence and Confidentiality

The session includes public finance practitioners and malpractice insurance representatives discussing the latest trends in how bond counsel can be exposed to professional liability. It discusses how exposure to liability can be reduced and how losses may be prevented and interactive questions regarding application of the model rules to public finance transactions. The panel discusses the current and ever-expanding bases of liability under the Model Rules, recent ethics decisions, industry standards, Treasury guidance and SEC Enforcement actions. It also includes the latest trends in engagement letters, identifying counsel roles, avoiding conflicts of interest and using disclaimers. The panel also covers potential implications of cryptocurrencies and increased digitization of public finance transactions and liability considerations around cannabis-related financings in public finance.

Panel Chair: Bill Burns, Gilmore & Bell, P.C., Kansas City, MO

Panelist: Randy J. Curato, ALAS, Ltd.



Ethics: Diversity and Implicit Bias: An Introduction to Implicit Bias, Its Effects on the Practice of Law, Including Costs and Practical Solutions for Taking Control

Although America has been heralded as the great “Melting Pot,” it has been studied and proven over the years that, notwithstanding our diversity, we all have unconscious biases that unintentionally affect every aspect of our dealings with others. Is bias an unfortunate and inevitable part of our “DNA” as Americans? This panel provides practitioners with invaluable insight into the issue of unconscious bias, as well as a forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas on this sensitive issue. 

Panel Chair: Sani A. Williams, Bryant Rabbino LLP, New York, NY


Latasha R. Thomas, Clark Hill PLC

Peter Wilson, Jr., Proskauer Rose LLP



Ethics and Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we practice as public finance practitioners. This panel takes an in-depth look at the ethical issues surrounding the practice in municipal finance transactions in light of the changes we have all experienced, and the application of ethics rules to selected topics. What efforts should we undertake to preserve client confidentiality and protect clients from threats before, during and after closing?

Panel Chair: Ryan K. Callender, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Cleveland, OH


Jason Akers, Foley & Judell, L.L.P

Michael Buckwell, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP