McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP has expanded its public finance practice with the addition of Richard Sigal as a partner in its New York City office.

Sigal, who began work on Jan. 15, joins the firm from Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP where worked primarily out of the New York City office. He had been at Hawkins Delafield since 1964, and partner since 1971.

“The attractiveness of bringing Dick on board is not only his experience and expertise in so many different areas in public finance, but it also gives us an immediate high profile in the Northeast, and it also raises the national profile of our public finance practice,” said Earle Taylor, a partner in the Atlanta office and head of the firm’s public finance practice. “Dick is known from coast to coast as a first class bond lawyer, and the type of lawyer that we’re looking forward to having in our public finance practice.”

Sigal has experience in a wide variety of public finance areas, including distressed state, local and programmatic restructuring, state housing finance, state and local general obligation finance, public-private partnerships, and securitization. Some of the distressed municipalities he has worked with include New York City, Buffalo, and Nassau County.

He has also drafted financing legislation in many states including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

“I’ve had the good fortune of always having state and municipal clients that need counseling on a variety of capital or current fund programs,” Sigal said.

The Hawkins Delafield & Wood practice is devoted primarily to public finance.

The main reason Sigal decided to make the move to McKenna was for the variety of the firm’s practice areas, as well as the quality of its work.

“The practice of law in the municipal finance world has changed considerably over my tenure at my former firm, and I was finding that we did not have the resources that I needed for some of the concepts and structures that I was trying to develop,” Sigal said. “McKenna has that. They have the resources in almost every field that I anticipated I would be looking for and, therefore, it made sense for me to move on.”

McKenna’s practice areas include real estate, corporate finance, public private partnerships, and health care. The firm also has a bankruptcy group that has worked with municipalities such as Harrisburg, Penn., and Michigan in respect to oversight of the city of Detroit. Sigal said that it’s important for a firm to have expertise in multiple areas so that it can offer its public finance clients the “full option menu.”

For example: “When a city that is in distress comes to you, you need to outline the options that are available to it,” Sigal said. “If they hire a bankruptcy lawyer, they’ll go into bankruptcy. If they hire a bond lawyer, they’ll likely go into a deficit funding of some sort, but if they hire a law firm that has both of those capacities, they’ll have options and they can realistically determine which is better.”

Sigal is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. He has been a long-time trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and has chaired several Bond Buyer and other public finance conferences.

Going forward at McKenna, he said he hopes to help train associates to become partners, and develop a bigger public finance practice at the firm.

McKenna has 13 offices, with public finance lawyers mostly in New York and Atlanta.

“Dick is just the first step in expanding our public finance practice,” Taylor said, adding that they anticipate further expansion in the near future.

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