NABL CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF LEADERSHIP
The National Association of Bond Lawyers will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding on February 5, 2019. With the goal of providing educational opportunities and organized seminars unique to the practice of bond law, the first Bond Attorneys’ Workshop was held in September 1976 and attended by 120 bond lawyers. The creation of BAW in turn led to the organization of NABL, which was incorporated as an Illinois nonprofit corporation on February 5, 1979. Education of its members and others in the law relating to public finance has been one of NABL’s top priorities from the beginning. NABL emerged from the primary effort to educate bond lawyers through BAW.
In 2018, the NABL Board of Directors completed a year-long strategic planning process and reconfirmed NABL’s commitment to our core principal, education in the practice of public finance/bond law. NABL recently launched “NABL U,” NABL’s educational umbrella, which includes our three in-person conferences, The Workshop, The Institute, and The Essentials. In addition, NABL U includes an on-demand library with archived teleconferences, continuously updated with new webinars, podcasts, and recorded panel sessions from The Essentials and The Workshop.
Over the years, NABL’s publications have assisted bond lawyers in their practice. Providing advice and comments on legislation, regulations, rulings and other actions affecting public finance is another of NABL’s purposes. Some of the most recent examples of NABL's efforts in this regard include:
- A letter to Congressional Leadership and all Members of Congress on retaining current federal treatment of tax-exempt bonds during the Tax Reform and Jobs Act debate in late 2017.
- Publishing the “Tax-Exempt Financing of Sectarian Institutions Following the Supreme Court’s Decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer” paper in the Municipal Finance Journal and reproduced in the Fall 2018 issue of The Bond Lawyer.
- A paper, “Ban on Tax-Exempt Advance Refundings – Now What?” produced in February 2018 produced for the benefit of our members and the industry generally.
- A request for Guidance on Tax-Exempt Advance Refundings of Taxable Bonds.
- Multiple comment letters on the proposed amendments to the Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12.
- “Disaster Recovery Bond Financing: Considerations for Congress” distributed in September 2018 to Members of Congress.
- Model Letter of Disclosure Counsel Project, distributed in late 2018.
NABL has assembled a 40th Anniversary Task Force comprised of NABL past presidents, chaired by Sandy MacLennan, Kristin Franceschi, Tony Martini, and supported by members of the NABL staff. Throughout 2019, the Task Force plans to highlight key NABL milestones and will provide historical information about NABL in each issue of NABL News and The Weekly Wrap, on our website, and through our social media outlets on Twitter and Facebook. Watch for our Throw-Back Thursdays and Flash-Back Fridays for some of the more light-hearted moments at NABL, including candid photos and a reprise of the popular quarterly limericks! Celebrations will continue at all of our in-person conferences where we will recognize our 40-year members and NABL’s achievements, accompanied by photos and video remembrances.
You too can participate in our 40th anniversary celebration. Send NABL your project photos to include in our Member Monday campaign, which will highlight projects that have been #builtbybonds throughout the years.
During its first 40 years, NABL has adapted and responded to the evolving issues facing the municipal bond market and our members. We are confident that because of the devotion of our members to the practice in this field and our association, NABL will continue to do so for many years to come. Thanks for being a part of NABL’s journey!
CONGRESS RECOGNIZES NABL’S MILESTONE ANNIVERSARY
NABL is pleased to announce that Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), co-chairs of the Municipal Finance Caucus, submitted a Congressional Proclamation to the Congressional Record on January 29, 2019, recognizing NABL’s 40th Anniversary and our contributions to the field of public finance over the past four decades.
In part, the proclamation states: “Since its inception in 1979, the National Association of Bond Lawyers has worked diligently to advance the integrity and knowledge of the municipal market. Through the education of its members and other public finance stakeholders, the Association has aided countless communities in finding creative financing opportunities to reach their goals.” The proclamation also states: “United by a common goal and working for the public good, the Association has been an important partner for Congress, industry partners, and federal regulators. Never straying from its core mission, education, the forum the Association provides has led to advancements in the field of public finance for the past four decades.”
A formal copy of the proclamation can be found here, and the link to the Federal Register page is here.
2019 SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR INTERNS
Do you know a promising law student (maybe a great summer intern) who may be interested in pursuing a career in public finance? Please invite them to apply for this year’s Frederic L. Ballard, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Program. Up to five scholarship will be awarded. Recipients will receive complimentary registration and transportation expenses to attend NABL U’s The Essentials (formerly the Fundamentals of Municipal Bond Law Seminar) at the Westin Chicago River North, Chicago, Illinois, April 24-26, 2019. In addition, the recipients are paired with a seasoned bond lawyer from The Essentials faculty to mentor them while they are at the conference. The scholarship details and the application is available here and you can view The Essentials brochure here. Completed scholarship applications will be accepted until March 4, 2019. For more information contact Linda Wyman, NABL’s Chief Operating Officer. You can also send NABL the contact information for qualified potential applicants, and we will follow up with them.
Escape Winter and Register for the Institute
Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, FL, are filling up quickly. Deadline to book your hotel is Wednesday, February 6, based on space and rate availability. You don’t want to miss out on The Institute this year and all of its great programming!
The National Association of Bond Lawyer’s group rate is $359 per night, which includes a daily resort fee.
Please Note: March is peak season in Bonita Springs, FL, and the hotel is nearing capacity. NABL members must register first and will then receive a confirmation email with a reservation link to secure their hotel room accommodations.
Register and book your hotel room today!
NABL’s Diversity Committee was created to encourage and facilitate active long-term participation in NABL by diverse members and to minimize implicit bias within NABL on the basis of gender, gender identity, race, ethnic background, religion, age and sexual orientation. The Committee strives to create and maintain an atmosphere of inclusion around all NABL committees, projects, and programs by taking steps (1) to inform leadership of NABL committees, projects, and programs of diverse members who have expressed an interest in participating, and (2) to encourage and welcome diverse member participation in those committees, projects and programs. In addition, the committee is currently working on creating a joint event with the Asian Americans in Public Finance Association (AAPF) for late spring 2019. If you are interested in getting involved with NABL’s Diversity Committee, please please see contact information here.
Marchena & Graham, P.A.
1. As a member of the Diversity Committee, can you give us an update on a few of the committee projects and what you hope to accomplish this year?
The Diversity Committee would like to highlight and increase the visibility of the Diversity Committee within NABL which will hopefully increase membership as well as encourage diverse members to identify themselves and participate in NABL. We would also like to increase visibility at NABL events and conferences and to facilitate visibility of diverse lawyers including: lawyers of color, woman and young lawyers. Additionally, the Diversity Committee is excited to coordinate with the other NABL standing committees in an attempt to incorporate more diverse lawyers into paper and program development. Lastly, we would like to work towards joint events with diverse groups within Public Finance. We are working with Asian Americans in Public Finance on a joint event.
2. How can other NABL members become involved with the Diversity Committee?
Any NABL members that are interested in being involved with the Diversity Committee or NABL in general should feel free to reach out to me or any of us individually. We would be thrilled to hear from you!
3. When and how did you first become involved in NABL?
In 2000, my partners signed up for Fundamentals. As luck would have it, they had scheduling conflicts and were unable to attend. As their youngest associate, I was sent in their place. I came back from that conference interested in Public Finance. The area of law felt scholarly. I also loved the idea that individual lawyers worked as team members and all working towards the same positive result, which left positive results for the related projects and communities.
4. How has your NABL membership impacted your career?
In the early years of my career, NABL provided training and resources. During market volatility and changes, NABL provides a network and a sounding board for the practice. Currently, not only is NABL a resource for my practice, NABL provides an area for professional and personal growth through participation in the Diversity Committee.
5. If you could have dinner with two famous people (from the past and/or present), who would you choose and why?
The “Notorious RBG”! Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an inspiration. Not only was she a pioneer for women when women barely went to law school, she is a brilliant jurist. She is a mother, tiny in stature and fierce in her convictions. Justice Ginsberg is my living legend and just plain awesome. It would be an honor to be in her presence.
Pope Francis- I would love to ponder the mysteries of the world with him. He seems like he exudes peace. I would also love to pick his brain about some of the more controversial areas of the church rules and teachings. It also couldn’t hurt to get blessed by the Pope!
Questions answered by NABL President Dee P. Wisor
Butler Snow LLP
1. Can you tell us about who Butler Snow LLP is and which industries you serve?
Butler Snow LLP is a full-service law firm with more than 350 attorneys and advisors collaborating across a network of 25 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Ranked as a leading firm for client relations and one of America’s Top 100 law firms in the BTI Power Rankings, Butler Snow is recognized as one of the nation’s top law firms for client service. The firm was recently ranked 48th out of 650 firms in the BTI Client Relationship Scorecard for understanding our client’s business, anticipating client’s needs, unprompted communication, legal skills, quality and keeping clients informed.
Butler Snow’s practice areas include the full range of transactional and litigation services. We have the depth to represent a broad spectrum of national and regional clients in a variety of legal areas, including:
- Corporate/Business Services
- Public Finance, Tax Incentives and Credit Markets
- Financial Services
- Bankruptcy and Reorganization
- Government, Environmental, Utilities and Energy
- Product Liability
- Intellectual Property
- Commercial Litigation
- Appellate and Written Advocacy
- Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Healthcare Industry
- General Litigation
- Labor and Employment
- Real Estate
2. Your pro bono work has been recognized and Mission First Legal Aid Office named you the 2018 firm of the year. Can you tell us about a few of the programs and why you started it?
Butler Snow is proud to provide pro bono services and financial support to community-based legal aid organizations, such as Mission First, across the firm’s footprint. Our attorneys regularly staff free walk-in legal clinics, provide intellectual property and business-related legal assistance to entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations, and accept direct referrals to represent the poor and marginalized in litigation. Our attorneys are encouraged to identify and participate in pro bono projects that interest them. Butler Snow recently launched its firm-wide Veterans Project to help veterans put together their initial disability benefits claim applications and to handle appeals when a veteran’s claim is rejected. We are working with the ABA’s VetLex and The Veterans Consortium on this project. Personally, I provide pro bono support to Challenge Aspen, which is dedicated to impacting lives through year-round adaptive experiences for individuals faced with cognitive and/or physical disabilities, including veterans. I also volunteer for the Colorado Lawyers Committee, which advocates, negotiates, and litigates for children, the poor, and other disadvantaged groups.
3. Why did Butler Snow decide to become a Gold Level sponsor for NABL?
When Steve Weyl joined the firm, he advocated for Butler Snow to become a NABL sponsor. The firm is a supporter of NABL. All of our bond lawyers are NABL members, and many are active in NABL seminars and committees. Once we looked at the benefits, it was an easy decision.
4. What benefits have you received by being a sponsor?
A major selling point is that we receive two registrations to each NABL conference. This reduces the real cost of the sponsorship, which made the internal budget decision much easier.
5. As a firm that covers different practice areas of law, what trends do you see impacting the profession?
As a firm, we see new trends in technology are continuing to have an impact on the legal profession. As evidenced by the growing legal technology sector, whether it be e-discovery, social networking, artificial intelligence, or the continued rise of the virtual law firm, technology will only continue to have a greater impact on the legal market. As a result, cybersecurity will continue to be a focus and concern for law firms as well as their clients. Likewise, more and more law firms are going the digital and paperless route as the desire to be more environmentally friendly is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The courts and government agencies are forcing the issue as they make an effort to go paperless as well.
We also see a trend that firms are moving away from hourly billing and to alternative billing arrangements. Of course, public finance lawyers have long work on a fixed fee basis. Our firm would like to move away from hourly billing across our practice areas.
Introducing NABL's New Digital Marketing Coordinator
We are pleased to announce that Jade Dixon has joined NABL’s team as the Digital Marketing Coordinator. She came from Vector Talent Resources where she was an Account Coordinator. She managed multiple clients across the country and honed her skills in client relations, customer service, and recruitment. She’s an active marketing committee member with the National Capital Chapter Public Relations Society of America and Washington Women of Public Relations and develops content for signature events, write blogs, and manages their social media channels.
Jade is an alumna from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s in Communication Media Studies with a marketing minor. She will be working closely with NABL’s Membership and Marketing Director Sabrina Kidwai, and she looks forward to increasing NABL’s social media presence and improve membership outreach.