Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News
Benjamin R. Kitto, Ice Miller LLP, Columbus, OH
Tell us something about yourself…
My wife and I are runners and avid travelers. With the prospect of expanded travel and a return to normalcy on the horizon, we recently set a goal of running an official race in all 50 states by the time we retire. With the variety of deals that I see across the country in my bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, and disclosure counsel roles, I hope to play a role in a deal that finances a capital project in each state, too.
How has your NABL membership and being a volunteer advanced your career?
NABL membership gave me access to resources early in my career that allowed me to develop at my own pace, supplementing the direct instruction and feedback that I received in the course of my deal work. My partner Tyler Kalachnik first introduced me to NABL when I was a summer clerk at Ice Miller, so I knew where to go when I had questions that seemed a little too basic to ask someone or when one of my questions happened to stump a colleague. From background reading and webinars on opinion practice and ethics, to opportunities to research and write white papers, being a NABL member—and an active committee member in particular—has broadened and deepened my knowledge of bond law beyond what I see in the deals that come across my desk. The collaborative aspect of NABL U panel preparation and publication drafting is also a wonderful reminder of the collective knowledge and collegial leadership within the bond lawyer community.
What encouraged you to participate as a faculty member for The Essentials: Virtual 2021?
From my participation in Fundamentals as an attendee years ago, I remember conversations with panelists during and after sessions that were welcoming, informative, and instilled in me a sense that I could succeed in this industry—and that my colleagues and competitors wanted me to do just that. Participating in The Essentials is my opportunity to pay that forward by helping to demystify key concepts for attorneys who are just starting their journeys in public finance.
Do you foresee any challenges facing the public finance industry?
The extent to which the public finance industry can creatively work through an increasingly thorny political landscape to deliver capital projects that provide or rely on infrastructure may define the industry in the future. The projects that we are able to deliver today are those on which future projects will be built, and building that base is of critical importance—without it, we cannot hope to deliver necessities like information, education, or healthcare efficiently and equitably. But those projects are also the best argument for future legislation and other programs to provide more opportunities for new types of and delivery mechanisms for capital projects, which will sustain the public finance industry going forward.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice at the start of your career, what would you say?
Diversify your perspective. I often found it easy in its own way to sit behind a desk and draft away at documents, but the most and fastest growth in my career came from opportunities outside my bailiwick, exchanges of ideas with people whose perspectives are different from mine, or follow on learnings from those interactions. In my career, I have been fortunate to have been presented with many excellent opportunities. In a do-over, I hope my younger self might keep a more vigilant watch to help identify and accelerate those growth opportunities.