LOS ANGELES — Jones Hall, a California law firm that specializes in public finance, has promoted two lawyers to partner.
The new partners, James Wawrzyniak and Juan Galvan, hope to expand the firm's business in water/wastewater and in public-private partnerships, respectively.
"What we like to do is bring people into the partnership, who have the breadth of experience, the skillset and the hard work ethic to succeed in whatever aspect of the business, they choose to focus on," said Charles "Chick" Adams, a partner who has been with the law firm since 1979, a year after it was founded. "Neither James or Juan was hired to focus on a practice area. They gravitated toward areas that appealed to them."
When Jones Hall hires seasoned associates, Adams said, it expects them to learn the municipal business and grow and prosper in it – "and that is what we have seen with James and Juan."
Wawrzyniak worked in corporate finance for Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Covington & Burling LLP before he was hired by Jones Hall in 2015 moving into a general municipal finance practice. He works with cities, water agencies and community service districts on wastewater and water revenue bonds, Mello Roos, and general lease financing.
Wawrzyniak earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2007 after completing a bachelor's degree in economics at Georgetown University in 2004. He worked as a law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Timothy Tymkovich in the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colo. for his first year out of law school.
He expects to see growth in water and wastewater agency bond business as a result of the infrastructure projects driven by the state's drought.
Galvan worked for three law firms in commercial lending and bankruptcy before joining Jones Hall in 2013. He worked as an associate at Winston & Strawn LLP, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP, and Chapman and Cutler LLP. He earned his law degree at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2007 and his bachelor's degree from California State University, Northridge in 2002.
Galvan is also a licensed certified public accountant. Prior to attending law school, he worked as an accountant auditing private and publicly-traded companies.
His practice focuses primarily on serving as bond counsel and disclosure counsel to school districts, cities and successor agencies to former redevelopment agencies.
The new partners said they prefer working in the municipal bond business because they are working on projects that are more tangible locally as opposed to financings for national and international firms.
"I wanted to get away from working on more anonymous projects and shift to those that are more important locally," said Galvan, adding that he was born and raised in California.
In addition to the appeal of working on municipal bonds, Wawrzyniak said he liked the opportunity for advancement.
"The firm was very upfront about the desire to bring on experienced attorneys and train them well with the goal of transitioning into partnership," he said.
The firm has hired six new attorneys over the past three years and promoted Josh Anzel to partner last year. The firm, which has 17 full-time attorneys and one contract attorney, also had two senior attorneys retire over that time frame.
Jones Hall ranked fourth among bond counsel in California for first-half 2016 based on bond sales totaling $2.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. The firm worked on 179 transactions totaling $3.69 billion in California during the first three quarters of last year, ranking second in number of transactions for that period, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"We concentrate on the number of transactions, because we don't do any significant work for the state of California and that tends to boost the dollar volumes for firms that do," Adams said. "Our bread and butter is medium-sized to small public agencies in California. We have a lot of transactions."