Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland possesses the national experience and local knowledge to guide clients through the complexities of public finance transactions.
Clients who borrow in the tax-exempt bond markets want the most advantageous terms possible and Sutherland can help. We began by serving primarily as Georgia bond counsel, but our practice has grown far beyond those roots. Our public finance lawyers work with issuers, underwriters and commercial bankers across the country. We advise on all aspects of structuring, documenting, negotiating and closing public finance transactions. In particular, our nationally recognized tax, derivatives, broker-dealer, construction and energy practices allow us to bring to our public finance clients a comprehensive array of expertise and experience that is unique.
Sutherland’s traditional tax-exempt bond practice covers the waterfront, representing issuers, underwriters, commercial bankers and other investors in connection with public offerings and direct purchases of general obligation, water and sewerage, airport, recreation, medical center, university, cultural facility and electric generation facility and industrial development revenue bonds. Sutherland represents banks, both when they act as credit enhancers and when they purchase bonds for their own account.
We also advise private-sector clients on their interactions with government counterparties. The knowledge we gain in public finance transactions proves useful to a number of our clients in transactions that may not involve any debt—from incentive transactions, to the sale and purchase of energy (whether for physical or financial settlement), to the sale and purchase of the power plants themselves.
Exempt organizations experience. We serve exempt organizations of all types including colleges, universities, medical centers, cultural facilities, foundations and others. One attorney is an advisor on an exempt organization’s board of directors, so we intimately understand the pertinent issues of these types of organizations.
Deep tax knowledge. Sutherland’s public finance lawyers are tax lawyers from the start. We bring together the tax expertise with the attorneys actually structuring the deal and drafting the documents to create efficiencies. In most other firms, these functions are separate.
Comprehensive expertise. Our public finance advice extends beyond the basics of the bond issue. We frequently rely on our tax, derivatives, broker-dealer, construction and energy practices to assist our public finance clients in the nuances of particular deals.
Nuts and Bolts
- Corporate clients
- We help manage the tax-exempt bond and tax incentive needs of several of our corporate and real estate clients, acting as company counsel to represent the interests of our clients in these transactions. We also coordinate efforts with other firms engaged on our clients’ behalf.
- To illustrate, an electric utility client calls on us to handle the legal aspects of its bond portfolio, which includes tax-exempt pollution control and solid waste disposal facility bonds and taxable bonds for property tax advantage purposes. We also assist this client in evaluating the feasibility of, and in some cases issuing, bonds under new structures, including clean renewable energy tax credit bonds and recovery zone economic development bonds.
- We regularly advise our corporate and real estate clients in acquiring and disposing of assets financed with, or business units that have utilized, both tax-exempt and taxable incentive structures. We undertake compliance and maintenance work on existing bond structures that we may or may not have been involved in establishing.
- Exempt facility bonds
- We are We are involved in a large number of exempt facility bond offerings, due in large part to Sutherland’s significant presence in the electric power industry. Our exempt facility work is not limited to electric cooperatives. We also work in the paper products industry and on financings for airport facilities.
- Georgia bond counsel
- Our Georgia bond counsel experience dates back to the 1950s, when the late John Mobley, who founded our public finance practice, was one of the first nationally recognized bond counsel practicing in Georgia. Our Georgia practice now covers every facet of the public finance industry, from traditional government financings to economic development projects to public-private partnerships. We are and have been at the forefront of many major projects at the state level, including the tax-exempt securitization of over 100 local government loans, a P3 project for transportation infrastructure and the financing of the public portion of the proposed $1 billion stadium to replace the existing Georgia Dome.
Sutherland can assist clients looking for advice and counsel on all types of public finance transactions, wherever they are based.
Sutherland helps raise over $1 billion for nonprofit healthcare systems.
Sutherland helped three nonprofit healthcare systems raise more than $1 billion dollars in tax-exempt funds.
Sutherland is Georgia’s transportation bond counsel.
Sutherland served as bond counsel for Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority.
Sutherland assists underwriters in financings for electric cooperatives.
Sutherland represented underwriters in offerings for electric generation and transmission coops for facilities across the United States.