Member Spotlights

Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: David J. Fernandez, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C., New York, N.Y.

Tell us a little about yourself - your family, your hobbies, etc...

I guess you can say that I am a true New Yorker. I was born in Queens, New York and grew up on Long Island. I went to college at Colgate University in Central New York. I worked in Albany for a legislator from Niagara Falls and went to law school in Albany and now practice law with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC in Manhattan. I have been married to my wife Wendy for 26+ years and we have three daughters, Lydia (19), Elena (16) and Marisa (12) and we live on Long Island. I am currently spreading my wings into Philadelphia but anyone who knows me or has met me knows that the New Yorker is always there ready to rock. As for my hobbies I am an avid baseball, soccer and hockey fan. I currently do some youth coaching for my youngest daughter’s soccer and hockey teams and I currently work as the Head Coach of the Dominican Academy High School Varsity Soccer team. I have also served as a Volunteer Firefighter for over 15 years and am an avid motorcyclist riding with the Red Knights Motorcycle Club and am serving as Chapter President for my local chapter.

What first interested you in law?

When I first became a full time legislative aide in 1988 I had the honor of authoring about ten (10) pieces of legislation which were ultimately passed by both houses of the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mario Cuomo. This “success” really peaked my interest in the law and helped me decide between going to law school or going to business school. I applied to law school and was admitted to both NYU and Albany Law. Since I had already established my roots in Albany, I chose Albany and the rest … well …

What was the best career advice anyone ever gave you?

The best advice I ever got was this … “You earn a living, you don’t live an earning. Find something you enjoy doing, pursue it and you will be successful. If you are not enjoying your work the only person you are hurting is yourself. No one ever succeeds when they are not happy and there are plenty of options out there, so just don’t settle.”

How (and when) were you first introduced to NABL?

I was first introduced to NABL as an associate at Nixon Hargrave Devans and Doyle LLP as a participant at the 1997 Fundamentals Conference in New Orleans. There are many people who I met at that conference with whom I am still friendly and with whom I connect with on a regular basis, and consider close colleagues today.

As a member of the 2015 Fundamentals of Municipal Bond Law Seminar, what are you most excited about this year’s program?

This year I am very excited about our faculty. I truly believe that this year’s group is bringing some great energy to the seminar. Our Basic Structuring panel has been re-worked so that it is more “user friendly” and our new SEC Enforcement Panel has drawn in some timely ‘hot topics’ to an area where many new bond lawyers might otherwise be intimidated. They are all really enthusiastic about the conference and are all looking forward to working with the participants to insure they all have a great experience. On the fun side and as a runner, I am also really looking forward to the Run for FUNdamentals on Thursday morning. It will be a great way to start off the day, as well as a fabulous way to see our resort from the outside!

How has your participation and membership in NABL been of value to you and your practice?

My participation in NABL has been invaluable. The connections I have made, the things that I have learned and the friends in this industry who have become friends outside of the law are too countless to name. As an association, NABL is an invaluable tool. From their weekly updates, to their webinars, and their conferences, there is no association more acutely aware of the issues we face as municipal bond lawyers than NABL. The individuals who comprise the NABL Board and all of the NABL committees are beyond experts in our field and without exception are the most sincere and engaging people you will ever meet. That is what makes NABL so special. Everyone in the association truly cares about each other and the success of our field. It transcends geography and the size of the law firm, everyone is in it together and the dedication to the practice is what makes NABL a truly unique experience in which everyone in our field should be sure to avail themselves.

From the questionnaire made famous by Bernard Pivot and James Lipton, "What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?"

Well aside from firefighting, which I guess you could argue I am actually not “attempting” the only other profession which almost caught a hold of me at an earlier age was athletic training. While at Colgate I became a Student Athletic Trainer. I was a student member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and I worked in the field of Sports Medicine for my four years at Colgate, eventually becoming the head student trainer for the Colgate Football, Men’s Hockey and Men’s Soccer Teams. Had the profession been more established in 1988 when I graduated, I might have found myself working in that field today. It was something I truly enjoyed and was a passion which eventually led me to pursue my second career in firefighting when I moved back to Long Island.

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