Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP has expanded its public finance group with the addition Rafael Perez as a partner in its Madison, New Jersey office.

Perez, who began work Monday, will focus on public finance for financial institutions, corporations and state agencies.

Before joining Edwards Wildman, Perez was a partner at Cozen O'Connor, where he was co-chair of the public and project finance practice group. Before joining Cozen in 2001, Perez was executive director of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority from 1994 to 1998, where he conducted financing and development of a variety of facilities for the state's public and private universities and colleges.

"Ray's impressive experience in public finance will substantially enhance our presence in New Jersey and New York," said Walter St. Onge, the head of Edwards Wildman's public finance department. "In addition, our clients will benefit from his background in state government and higher education."

Perez has worked as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, trustee's counsel, and borrower's counsel, representing investment banks, corporations, cities, states, and their agencies.

He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Perez currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees of New Jersey City University.

With the addition of Perez, the firm's office in Madison now has close to 20 lawyers. Last year, the office added two partners - Chuck Berman and Tim Kalas - in the business law department.

The firm, which was established in 2011 from the merger of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP and Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, has 15 offices throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia.

Edwards Wildman is ranked 14th among bond counsel firms by total volume issued in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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