Ballard Spahr makes a public finance move in New York City

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One of the nation’s top public finance law firms has hired its first bond attorneys in New York City.

Ballard Spahr LLP recently added public finance attorneys Mark O. Norell and David J. Fernandez to the firm’s Manhattan office with the goal of expanding its municipal client base in the New York region.


Ballard Spahr is making the public finance move in the city five years after it gained a New York presence through a merger with Stillman & Friedman. The duo are housed in newly-opened larger office space in Midtown Manhattan that debuted in January with eyes toward future expansion.

“It’s very important, especially given the volume of issuances in New York, to have a physical public finance presence there,” said Emilie R. Ninan, chair of Ballard Spahr’s public finance department. “I’m very excited about the addition of public finance lawyers to our New York office.”

Norell and Fernandez joined Ballard’s national public finance team that features 50 attorneys in 15 offices across the country. The public finance department has participated in the issuance of more than $1 trillion of tax-exempt obligations in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and American territories.

Fernandez arrived at Ballard’s New York office in September following more than two decades of public finance work involving a variety of bond transactions. His experience includes serving as a member of the legal financing team for New York City’s Liberty Bond deals involving Bank of America Tower along with One, Two, Three, Four, and Seven World Trade Center. He also spearheaded municipal tax-exempt financing to help build new stadiums for the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Twins, New York Giants and New York Jets.

“Ballard is demonstrating that it has a strong desire to be in the New York market and intends to be an active public finance firm in this part of the Northeast,” said Fernandez, who prior to entering private practice was senior assistant general counsel for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. “When you move into the New York market you don’t do it lightly.”

Norell, who has more than 20 years of experience working on tax-exempt bond transactions, joined Ballard Spahr as a partner in mid-August after a stint as senior counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright. He is a vice chair of the Committee on Tax-Exempt Financing of the American Bar Association as well as the lead draftsperson on National Association of Bond Lawyers and ABA Comment Letter projects.

“Ballard has always had a great national reputation and I’m very happy to be a part of a firm like this,” said Norell. “We are in a strategic growth mode.”

Philadelphia-based Ballard ranked 10th among bond counsel firms as of Oct. 12 from 75 deals valued at $5.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. The firm was also ranked 13th among underwriters’ counsel through 47 transactions valued at $2.7 billion.

Ballard as a whole has more than 650 total lawyers across the country.

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Career moves Bond counsel Ballard Spahr New York
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