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K&L Gates’ United States Public Finance practice has historically been centered in the firm’s Pacific Northwest offices. Over the years, the practice has expanded into other regions of the country, including North Carolina and Illinois.

Our public finance lawyers have advised hundreds of cities, towns, counties, states, state agencies, universities, ports, public utilities, wastewater and transit agencies, school districts, fire districts, irrigation districts, and other public entities in bond issuances and other finance transactions. We have also represented underwriters, bond trustees, credit enhancement providers, conduit borrowers, and other entities involved in public finance transactions.

K&L Gates is one of the leading bond counsel firms in the United States, and its work in 2017 as bond counsel included $3.02 billion in publicly sold bonds. The Bond Buyer’s 2017 Far West Year End Review ranked K&L Gates second in Washington, second in Alaska, and seventh in the Far West region for the dollar volume of bond issues. Additionally, The Bond Buyer ranked K&L Gates fourth nationally on airport bond issues. Our municipal lawyers are listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace.

Our public finance lawyers work closely with project finance lawyers and our Energy & Infrastructure Projects and Transactions practice group on a range of financings and PPP transactions. Our public finance lawyers in the United States also liaise with colleagues in our London office who specialize in financing solutions for local authorities, where experience across widely divergent jurisdictions can provide useful perspectives.

While finance matters have historically been the heart of our municipal practice, we have an impressive breadth of relevant experience. Our lawyers provide a wide variety of other legal services to our municipal clients, guiding them on energy issues, planning, permitting, land acquisition, procurement, construction claims and contracts, taxation, labor matters, litigation, environmental and regulatory proceedings, state and federal grants, and Indian tribal law. We regularly work with municipal clients on open public meetings, public records policy and disclosure, and election law issues.

Areas of Practice

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Assessment and Local Improvement District Bonds
We have extensive experience in the area of assessment district formation, assessments, and financings. We assist issuers with issues that arise at all phases of the process of an assessment-based financing. As bond counsel, we prepare or review formation and assessment proceedings, strategize on potential issues and solutions, attend hearings if requested, and assist with interim and long-term assessment bond financings.
Ballot Titles
We represented interested parties in working with the Washington Attorney General’s office regarding the ballot titles for many recent initiatives and referenda. We drafted the ballot title to amend the Oregon Constitution to provide for the state's issuance of its $2.08 billion pension obligation bonds.
Certificates of Participation and Lease Financing
We have worked as bond counsel with the states of Oregon and Alaska, as well as cities, counties, and towns on certificate of participation (COP) transactions. We have also represented public and private clients in financing commercial projects through the use of tax-exempt COPs, tax-exempt revenue bonds supported by lease payments to be made by a governmental entity or public development authority, or tax-exempt COPs secured by leasehold interests in the facilities. These projects have included lease-to-own and lease-leaseback transactions for the acquisition or construction of office buildings, parking garages, housing projects, and transportation facilities. In addition to the basic bond documents, we draft the leases and subleases, as well as design, development, construction, financing, and operating agreements necessary for such transactions.
Constitutional Law
We have successfully challenged term limits legislation and defended dual majority local government structures. We have litigated a number of substantial cases on behalf of municipalities regarding the constitutionality of municipal ordinances, including those regulating First Amendment protected activities and public disclosure laws. We regularly advise clients on the state constitutional implications of innovative finance structures and aspects of public-private partnerships.
Energy and Utilities
Our public finance lawyers have represented issuers and underwriters in numerous financing transactions, ranging in size from several million to more than a billion dollars each.
General Obligation Bonds
The firm has extensive experience in the issuance of voted and non-voted general obligation bonds sold either by negotiated or competitive sale. We act as bond counsel for hundreds of general obligation issues per year, which are sold to underwriters or are privately purchased by banks. 
Innovative Debt Instruments
Our public finance attorneys have experience with all types of debt transactions, including lines of credit, Recovery Zone Bonds and Build America Bonds, tax credit bonds including Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds, variable rate transactions with and without put options, auction rate securities, commercial paper, cross-border leases, obligations that are credit enhanced with insurance, letters of credit and guarantees, derivative products, investment agreements, capital appreciation bonds, and others.
We have drafted and monitored bills and proposed ordinances at the state and local levels on behalf of many public clients, including state legislation related to energy and resource issues, public finance, boundary modification, school construction funding, and impact fees.
Public Contracting
Our services to public entities involved in major public works projects have ranged from direct negotiations with contractors and review and drafting of correspondence to providing legal opinions on the merit of claims and the defense and prosecution of major claim litigation matters. Our lawyers have assisted clients in the preparation of agreements between owners, contractors, architects, engineers, and consultants ranging in value from less than $1 million to more than $1.6 billion.
Public Disclosure/Open Meetings
We have advised and assisted clients as to legal issues in conducting bond elections, including public disclosure commission issues, permissible and non-permissible involvement in an election campaign dealing with mail ballots, and other issues. We have drafted and managed the preparation of complex preliminary and final bond offering documents

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