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Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:48 pm
by Anonymous User
I wondering if anyone might have some information regarding the day to day of bond counsel for municipalities.

Live in a fly-over state and have an opportunity to make a switch from a small firm (mostly construction and medical malpractice cases) to a firm that specializes in representing municipalities, counties, etc. in issuing bonds. I am really uncertain about salary but expect it to be equivalent to what I am making now so that isn't much of a factor. I'm looking for any information about lifestyle of such a practice, exit options, and that sort of thing. Searching turned up little.

Thanks.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:52 pm
by Anonymous User
PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:57 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.


What is PF? Project finance?

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:07 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.



Thanks for this! If you don't mind me asking, and I know this will vary by firm, but are your billable requirements significantly less than other practice groups in your firm? From your description it sounds as if it would be hard to pull out a solid 2000 per year. Do practice groups that deal heavily in AFA generally focus more directly on fees brought in rather than billables?

Sorry that last question is very general and likely firm specific but any insight is helpful. It just seems to me that if it is an AFA deal you are working on and you work quickly, you still brought in that fee regardless of whether it took you 5 or 8 hours to do so. Tying it to billables seems like it would encourage inflation of hours or set you up to never meet your requirement.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:55 pm
by Anonymous User
PF = public finance. I also do project finance, but because the OP is looking for info about bond counsel, I specifically spoke to public finance.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:57 pm
by Leprechaun
Not the anon above, but PF stands for Public Finance, at least the few times I've been involved over the years issuing County debt obligations.


EDIT-sorry for the redundant answer. The person directly above was evidently posting as I was typing.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:12 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.



Thanks for this! If you don't mind me asking, and I know this will vary by firm, but are your billable requirements significantly less than other practice groups in your firm? From your description it sounds as if it would be hard to pull out a solid 2000 per year. Do practice groups that deal heavily in AFA generally focus more directly on fees brought in rather than billables?

Sorry that last question is very general and likely firm specific but any insight is helpful. It just seems to me that if it is an AFA deal you are working on and you work quickly, you still brought in that fee regardless of whether it took you 5 or 8 hours to do so. Tying it to billables seems like it would encourage inflation of hours or set you up to never meet your requirement.


I have the same billable requirement as every other associate in the firm. Most people in our group meet their requirements (or are very close) without issue. My hours seem low if you focus on 9 to 6, but I put in a lot of time outside of the office each day and usually work a few hours on the weekends. Of course, there are days when I am there longer, but they aren't terribly frequent.

AFA makes billables v. profitability more of a balancing act. Your up front hours will count, but at some point, you have to back off on deals. As long as you are staffed on a number of deals, it's not an issue. If you aren't getting fed regularly, you may have a problem. That said, it sounds like you will be coming in as a junior (feel free to correct me here), so it's not really your problem because you likely won't know much about the fee structure. You do the work you are told, and the person in charge of the deal will tell you when you have to cut back (if you get to that point).

I'm not sure where you are headed, but will you have a 2000 hr requirement? This seems high for the situation you are describing. The folks that I've worked with and met in fly-over areas in specialty shops (even the larger ones) aren't required to pull anywhere near 2000.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:30 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.



Thanks for this! If you don't mind me asking, and I know this will vary by firm, but are your billable requirements significantly less than other practice groups in your firm? From your description it sounds as if it would be hard to pull out a solid 2000 per year. Do practice groups that deal heavily in AFA generally focus more directly on fees brought in rather than billables?

Sorry that last question is very general and likely firm specific but any insight is helpful. It just seems to me that if it is an AFA deal you are working on and you work quickly, you still brought in that fee regardless of whether it took you 5 or 8 hours to do so. Tying it to billables seems like it would encourage inflation of hours or set you up to never meet your requirement.


I have the same billable requirement as every other associate in the firm. Most people in our group meet their requirements (or are very close) without issue. My hours seem low if you focus on 9 to 6, but I put in a lot of time outside of the office each day and usually work a few hours on the weekends. Of course, there are days when I am there longer, but they aren't terribly frequent.

AFA makes billables v. profitability more of a balancing act. Your up front hours will count, but at some point, you have to back off on deals. As long as you are staffed on a number of deals, it's not an issue. If you aren't getting fed regularly, you may have a problem. That said, it sounds like you will be coming in as a junior (feel free to correct me here), so it's not really your problem because you likely won't know much about the fee structure. You do the work you are told, and the person in charge of the deal will tell you when you have to cut back (if you get to that point).

I'm not sure where you are headed, but will you have a 2000 hr requirement? This seems high for the situation you are describing. The folks that I've worked with and met in fly-over areas in specialty shops (even the larger ones) aren't required to pull anywhere near 2000.



Yes indeed I would be coming in as a junior.

I'm not sure vis a vis the hours requirement. The firm has a "firm wide goal" of 2000 but a small PF practice group. I am speculating that they'd require 2000 of the PF associates as well.

There are essentially two partners of which one really handles deals, a senior associate, and one other associate. So the group is relatively small.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:40 am
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:PF associate here. Day to day will vary depending on what type of practice you focus on. Usually, there are two kinds of PF attorneys - deal side and tax side. Deal side focuses on structure of the deal; tax side focuses on meeting the IRS rules and regs for tax exempt financing. I do deal side, so I can speak to that aspect.

Typical day consists of conference calls, reviewing/drafting documents, some research, and internal group meetings. Most PF deals are staffed lean because of AFA, so usually you will see 1 partner and 1 associate. On larger deals, usually will have an extra person or two added into that mix and a go-to specialist for tax issues that gets involved as needed.

I am usually in the office from about 9 to 6. I check emails in the morning before heading in and put in an hour or two when I get home. The in-office hours seem minimal, but I am well on track for my billable requirement.

For exit options, most people go in house (banks, corporations and issuers) but a number have ended up at the SEC. Some people do bounce around to other law firms as well.

In all honesty, this is a niche practice, and it gets more specialized depending on what your practice focus is (developer, issuer, underwriter, public, direct placement, revenue based, general obligation, etc). If you are concerned about exit options, I would look to see if you can get some experience outside of PF so that you aren't limited.



Thanks for this! If you don't mind me asking, and I know this will vary by firm, but are your billable requirements significantly less than other practice groups in your firm? From your description it sounds as if it would be hard to pull out a solid 2000 per year. Do practice groups that deal heavily in AFA generally focus more directly on fees brought in rather than billables?

Sorry that last question is very general and likely firm specific but any insight is helpful. It just seems to me that if it is an AFA deal you are working on and you work quickly, you still brought in that fee regardless of whether it took you 5 or 8 hours to do so. Tying it to billables seems like it would encourage inflation of hours or set you up to never meet your requirement.


I have the same billable requirement as every other associate in the firm. Most people in our group meet their requirements (or are very close) without issue. My hours seem low if you focus on 9 to 6, but I put in a lot of time outside of the office each day and usually work a few hours on the weekends. Of course, there are days when I am there longer, but they aren't terribly frequent.

AFA makes billables v. profitability more of a balancing act. Your up front hours will count, but at some point, you have to back off on deals. As long as you are staffed on a number of deals, it's not an issue. If you aren't getting fed regularly, you may have a problem. That said, it sounds like you will be coming in as a junior (feel free to correct me here), so it's not really your problem because you likely won't know much about the fee structure. You do the work you are told, and the person in charge of the deal will tell you when you have to cut back (if you get to that point).

I'm not sure where you are headed, but will you have a 2000 hr requirement? This seems high for the situation you are describing. The folks that I've worked with and met in fly-over areas in specialty shops (even the larger ones) aren't required to pull anywhere near 2000.



How is the stress level, generally? For me, getting out of the office for more hours in the week would definitely improve my mood.

Re: Bond counsel for municipalities

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:38 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:How is the stress level, generally? For me, getting out of the office for more hours in the week would definitely improve my mood.


No idea of what "getting out of the office for more hours in the week" means for you, but my stress level varies depending on a lot of things which do not include how much I am in the office. I feel like this question is not as much practice specific as it is firm and partner specific. You have a pretty small group, and they may be looking to rely on you a lot to help keep things moving along. Your time in the office will likely correlate with how much they are relying on you and your partner's expectations.