Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News
Member Spotlight: Timothy A. Stratton, Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C., Phoenix, AZ
Tell us a little about yourself - your family, your hobbies, etc...
In addition to my busy practice, I like to spend time with my wife Deborah and my three children (Ella who is 9, Abby who is 6 and Andrew who is 4…all aspiring young bond lawyers). In my free time I like to read Presidential Biographies, study history and fly…I am a private pilot and fly for work and fun. I’m also active in my community and currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority as Treasurer.
What first interested you in law?
I was interested in state and local government and it seemed like many of the decision makers were also attorneys. When I was in law school I wanted to be a judge. I was serving as a judicial extern in the calm and dignified court room of U.S. District Court Judge David McKeague in Lansing, MI and I thought that was how every court room operated. Upon graduation I was sent out to the local county circuit court for a motion call and I quickly realized I did not want to be part of such a free-for-all and quickly became a transactional attorney.
What is your law specialization within public finance?
I tend to be a bit of a generalist within public finance. In Arizona I work with issuers ranging from large state agencies to small fire districts and agricultural irrigation districts and everybody in between. I like helping clients solve problems. I do have more of a tax focus and have developed that over time. I enjoy helping clients work through private use questions. I would say my favorite projects though are with my university and community college clients and also public utilities such as electric and irrigation. The science geek in me gets really excited about power plants, electric transmission lines and canals.
What was the best career advice anyone ever gave you?
The best career advice I was given was from former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice John Fitzgerald. Judge Fitzgerald was my Property Law and Real Estate Law Professor. He told us once, “Clients hire us because we are the expert. They place their trust and confidence in their attorney and they deserve to be treated like their matter is the most important matter that we are handling.” I remember that every time I open a new file, whether for an experienced issuer or an issuer that is a frequent participant in the market.
How (and when) were you first introduced to NABL?
I was first introduced to NABL when I was a young associate at Chapman and Cutler in Chicago. Since the annual meetings were always in Chicago it was easy and economical to participate. After I became more seasoned I discovered the TSLI and attend both conferences each year.
How has your participation and membership in NABL been of value to you and your practice?
NABL has been invaluable for me professionally and very enjoyable personally. Where else can you go spend several days with so many fellow bond folk? The professional and personal connections you can make at the conferences, and by getting more involved are real and beneficial. We have so much experience and knowledge in our membership and being able to network and develop relationships with smart practitioners from all over the nation is a great thing. It’s like Lollapalooza for bond lawyers.
As a member of the 2015 BAW Steering Committee, can you tell us about your plans for this year’s ethics panel “ETHICS: RISK – THE GAME OF REDUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL EXPOSURE, LOSS PREVENTION, AND BOND COUNSEL LIABILITY?
First of all, as a member of the BAW Steering Committee I just want to say thanks to my predecessor Tyler Kalachnik from Ice Miller who ran the ethics panel last year. He has set it up well. We are looking to add some new and exciting examples and case studies and want to increase audience participation. Look for some good things from all of our panels this year. I hope to see everyone in Chicago at my panel. We have some great speakers lined up this year.
From the questionnaire made famous by Bernard Pivot and James Lipton, "What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?"
I was seriously considering medical school and thought it would be fun to be an anesthesiologist.