CHICAGO — Cincinnati-based law firm Frost Brown Todd LLC has hired a pair of Ohio public finance veterans to staff its Columbus office and expand its municipal practice across the firm’s five-state footprint.

David Rogers and Emmett Kelly joined the firm last month from Bricker & Eckler LLP.

Rogers, 58, worked at Bricker & Eckler for 17 years. He has practiced municipal finance law in Ohio since 1976 at a variety of firms, including Cincinnati-based Peck Shaffer & Williams.

Kelly, 43, began his public finance career at Bricker & Eckler in 1999.

The attorneys will head up Frost Brown Todd’s Ohio public finance practice and help it expand its municipal practice across the five states it serves. The firm now has 11 public finance attorneys.

“Their extensive experience in public finance makes them a vital part of broadening the business services available to our clients,” George Yund, managing member of the firm, said in a statement.

The attorneys said they will focus on all aspects of public finance practice, including port authority financings, which have become an increasingly popular way to finance projects over the last several years in Ohio.

The duo joins the firm as the municipal market in Ohio, like the rest of the country, struggles to recover from the recession.

At Bricker & Eckler, they worked on a large development in Cleveland called the Flats East Bank project, a complex, $275 million financing that features no less than 35 revenue sources and could serve as a model for future projects, Rogers said.

“As we come out of the recession, we think that the kind of experience we’ve had in putting together financings that are creative and may provide some additional security, or other types of structures that are not necessarily the way it’s been done in the past, will be helpful going forward,” he said.

Several provisions featured in the state’s new two-year budget, such as an emphasis on privatization and new wage rules, could also bode well for Ohio’s municipal market, according to Kelly.

“Government entities are going to protect their credit and look for creative ways to finance traditional government improvements as well as ways of using [tax-increment financing] and other sources to help private companies with their improvement projects,” Kelly said. “We’re going to see what we think are creative-type solutions to general government issues plus [public-private partnerships] to get projects done.”

Frost Brown Todd employs 450 attorneys and maintains nine offices in five states, including Cincinnati, Columbus, and West Chester in Ohio; Florence and Louisville in Kentucky; Indianapolis, and Nashville.

The firm is the result of a 2000 merger of Ohio’s Frost & Jacobs LLP and Kentucky-based Brown, Todd & Heyburn PLLC. The firm in 2008 merged with Indiana’s Locke Reynolds.

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