Member Spotlights

Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News

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Brooke D. Abola, Office of the City Attorney, San Francisco, CA

1.    Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Deputy City Attorney in the Office of San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. (But the views I express in this spotlight are my own!) My practice includes advising the San Francisco International Airport on all things finance, as well as collaborating on public finance matters with Citywide impact. Before my transition to the public sector in 2012, I was in the public finance group at Orrick, with a practice primarily as bond and disclosure counsel. I live in Oakland, California, and have the joy of raising two awesome kids together with my husband, who is a software engineer.  When I have downtime I enjoy hiking, cooking (especially favorite foods from my childhood in Alabama), and crafts.

2.    What (or who) encouraged you to join NABL?

I attended a NABL conference after starting in my current role to brush up on recent developments, and I saw Scott Ulrey on an Issuer’s Counsel panel. I joined NABL to be able to meet more people like Scott, who are practicing public finance in an in-house counsel capacity – it really is a unique role, and I benefit greatly from having a sense of how other municipalities are responding to changes in law and regulation. I also wanted to be able to potentially mentor or encourage attorneys who are at an earlier stage of their career.

3.    As a regular volunteer and the current In-House Counsel Vice-Chair for the Issuer’s and In-House Counsel Committee, how has volunteering and working with the committee impacted your career? 

As soon as an attorney goes in-house, their market knowledge can easily become outdated and limited. Being engaged with the committee and with NABL more generally, it gives me insight into the types of guidance NABL is preparing, as well as access to updates on the latest developments in the law and a forum to discuss them with my counterparts in other cities. It’s a way to stay current and sharp, which in turn helps me better serve the City.

4.    Who has influenced you the most in your career and what advice/guidance did they provide? 

It is difficult for me to choose one key influence, especially given all the wonderful attorneys I have had the privilege of working with throughout my career. My late father is one person whose advice I return to in my mind time and again. He encouraged me to fine-tune and follow my own moral compass and not to let it bother me too much when things aren’t going perfectly well, because if you keep moving forward, eventually they have a way of working out.

5.    Which book and/or podcasts have you enjoyed and would recommend for others? 

Given my commute, I have plenty of time for podcasts!  Two favorites are NPR’s “Make Me Smart” and “Code Switch.”  I have also enjoyed “The Living Experiment” with Pilar Gerasimo and Dallas Hartwig, as well as each of their recent books.

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