Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News
David Unkovic, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, Lancaster, PA
Tell us a little about yourself - your family, your hobbies, etc.
I have been a public finance lawyer in Pennsylvania for 41 years. I practice in the Lancaster office of a firm, McNees Wallace & Nurick, which is based in Harrisburg. My practice takes me all over the state. My wife is a retired corporate lawyer. My son is the exhibitions manager at a contemporary art museum in Philadelphia. My daughter is in her senior year at the Temple University business school majoring in actuarial science. I am a big American history buff with focuses on the presidents, on colonial Philadelphia, and on the Civil War. I just finished reading The Pioneers by David McCullough which describes the original settlements in the State of Ohio near Marietta.
How has your involvement in NABL impacted your career?
NABL is a great organization. Public finance is such a specialized area, and regular bar associations do not provide an opportunity for meaningful education and training for bond lawyers. NABL does a tremendous job in its educational offerings, and it represents the interests of bond lawyers well with the federal regulators. It is also just a lot of fun to meet and talk to bond lawyers across the country.
As on of the chairs of the new Issuer’s and In-House Counsel Committee, what do you see as important goals for the committee in the coming year?
In any public finance transaction, the issuer is the most important party involved. All of the other parties are there to assist the issuer in raising capital. The issuer’s counsel is there to protect the issuer. It is important that issuer’s counsel have the opportunity to be the best advocates they can be. This committee will focus on giving an opportunity for issuer’s counsel, through their membership in NABL, to improve educational opportunities that support their practices, and to involve issuers more directly in general NABL initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on the public finance industry. From your perspective, how do you see this affecting issuers in the future?
The pandemic is negatively affecting the tax revenues of many local governments. In the short-run, local governments are starting to become cash strapped. Debt statutes in many states make it difficult to issue debt for working capital, and even where it is possible to do so, it is rarely a good idea to issue long-term debt for working capital. In the long-run, we need a national focus on infrastructure projects using the tools of public finance as a way to bounce back from the pandemic’s economic impacts.