Orrick Names Houston Public Finance Team

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AUSTIN, Texas – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired the public finance team from the firm McGuire Woods and will add two other bond attorneys from Haynes & Boone for its new Houston office.

Todd Brewer, previously partner at McGuire Woods, will be joined at Orrick by former McGuire Woods attorneys Hoang Vu and Marcus Deitz.

"Our combined team is very excited about joining the premier public finance law firm in the country," Brewer said in a prepared statement.

Among the clients moving with the McGuire Woods team is the booming Houston suburb of Montgomery County, Brewer told The Bond Buyer.

Also joining the Orrick public finance team are J. Kent "Kenny" Friedman and Kathryn Garner from Haynes & Boone.

In addition to his legal practice, Friedman is chairman of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, which built and financed Houston's major professional sports stadiums and arenas.

Orrick's Houston office, its first between the East and West coasts, will be made up of 20 attorneys hired from other firms.

Orrick, which ranked as the top national bond counsel in 2015, will include Los Angeles-based tax partner Larry Sobel in its roster of Houston public finance specialists.

"Texas generates a significant volume of public finance transactions, consistently ranking second or third in the country, with lots of interesting public sector clients, projects and financings, and high quality public finance lawyers," said Roger Davis, San Francisco-based chair of  Orrick's public finance department.

Brewer will be vice chair for Orrick's Texas office. He has acted as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, and trustee's counsel, among other public finance duties.

Vu has specialized in healthcare, transportation and education, which represent major debt issuers in the Houston market.

Garner has expertise in cities, counties, school districts, higher education, specialty districts and ports, key sectors in the greater Houston economy.

Dietz has 15 years of experience in broad categories of public finance, including general obligation and revenue bonds. He also represents underwriters and purchasers of public and privately placed debt.

As chairman of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, Friedman managed the authority's legal battle with its insurance provider National Public Finance Guarantee. After reaching a settlement with National in 2015, the authority was able to refinance $558 million of its outstanding debt after years of being locked out of the bond market by junk bond ratings. After the resolution, the authority's debt rating rose to investment grade from Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.

Friedman also serves on the boards of the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics, the Texas Bowl, and the Leo Baeck Educational Center Foundation. He is also a member of the Tulane University President's Council.

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