BurgherGray sets sights on Illinois-based business

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Veteran Chicago-based bond and tax attorney Chuck Katz is hoping to carve out a piece of the local legal work on bond deals with the opening a new office in Chicago for New York-based BurgherGray LLP.

Katz, who bring a tax specialty to the table, had most recently worked at Barnes & Thornburg LLP which he joined as a partner in 2017. He’s previously worked in the public finance groups at Polsinelli PC and several firms in Chicago. He joined BurgherGray as a partner.

“We are thrilled to have Chuck join the BurgherGray family from within,” said Robert Drillings, head of the firm’s public finance practice. “Chuck has a unique understanding of tax-exempt financing issues, something that is more important now than ever.” Katz had an existing relationship with BurgherGray doing some external special tax counsel work for the firm and he introduced Drillings to Managing Partner Gopal Burgher.

Katz relocated to Chicago from the East Coast 15 years ago after holding positions with several firms including Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP earlier in his career.

Public finance attorney Chuck Katz recently opened a Chicago office for BurgherGray

Katz’ experience spans legal roles on deals for issuers and underwriters covering most sectors from governmental and housing to transportation and healthcare and higher education. He is also experienced in compliance and audits.

Katz hopes to leverage his experience and client relationships along with the firm’s status as a full-service law firm and one that has a majority "minority-owned" status which has been certified in New York, and more recently this summer by the State of Illinois.

“It’s hard to compete with entrenched firms here but I think BurgherGray is unique in that it’s a full-service firm that is also a minority-owned business enterprise and we are not trying to compete but to participate,” Katz said.

Big Chicago-based firms such as Chapman and Cutler LLP and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP capture a good amount of the business but Chicago and its sister agencies all use firms in co-positions and those are often majority minority-, women- or veteran-owned as local governments have long sought to bolster minority participation on bond deals.

The firm will compete with a handful of established African American, Latino, and women-owned law firms.

Katz and the firm’s leadership decided earlier this year to open the office even as the COVID-19 pandemic was causing businesses to reconsider strategic plans.

“It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Burgher said. The firm now has lawyers on the ground in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. — with four public finance attorneys in New York and Chicago.

“It takes time to build a practice” but Katz said he hopes to expand with the hiring of additional attorneys in the next several years.

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