Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News
N. Banu Colak, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Lansing, MI
Tell us something about yourself…
I grew up thinking I would follow in my parents’ footsteps devoting my life to a career in engineering and sciences and started my professional career as an Electrical and Electronics Engineer. Some twelve years later, I had an opportunity to correct course and received my law degree and then two separate LLMs from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Before joining Dykema Gossett PLLC’s Lansing public finance group, I was an Assistant Attorney General first in Revenue and Collections and then Finance divisions of Michigan Department of Attorney General. When I am not in front of a computer reading or drafting tax or bond documents, you are most likely to find me at a courtside watching junior tennis.
How did you get involved in the public finance practice at your firm?
My first employer fresh out of law school represented a number of governmental units as local counsel in their bond transactions. Even though I was originally hired as a general practitioner, a client municipality’s arbitrage and yield restriction questions on an existing bond issue ended up on my desk. I was still working towards my Tax LLM and no other field in tax had presented the kind of the challenging road map as was ahead of me. With the guidance and support of my tax program director and mentor, I found myself correcting course once again and pursued a second degree in Corporate Law and Finance while focusing on public finance. Since then, I have been lucky enough to have had opportunities where I was able to put that education and interest to good use.
What/Who encouraged you to join NABL?
With the immense amount of resources available through NABL’s publications, sponsored events, and leadership activities, NABL membership has been supported and encouraged by my both my previous and present employers.
Which NABL resources have been beneficial to your practice?
NABL publications such as the Federal Taxation of Municipal Bonds and Federal Securities Laws of Municipal Bonds deskbooks are my constant go to resources in addition to the online forums, and model documents. I have also seen a lot of benefit in the on-demand training materials that has become the norm, especially during the current pandemic.
How do you feel the pandemic has changed the public finance practice?
It was impressive to see how quickly the public finance practice adapted to the restrictions that came with the pandemic. A lot of credit goes to the leadership of both NABL and practitioners who took a leadership role both at federal and state level in addressing the issues that the practice would have to face in the midst of a pandemic – from TEFRA hearings, to virtual board meetings and virtual notarization and remote closings; not to mention the forward looking activism in addressing the many obstacles and financial problems the issuers would be facing in the immediate aftermath as well as in the years to come. We have all adopted. but I am still looking forward to closings and NABL Workshops when we can all attend in person.