SAN FRANCISCO - Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP said Melanie Murakami joined the firm's Los Angeles office as a partner from Sidley Austin LLP.

Murakami specializes in representing banks and other financial institutions that provide liquidity facilities and letters of credit for variable-rate bonds. She also represents issuers and underwriters in municipal financings.

"We are very pleased that Melanie has joined us at this time," Howard Zucker, a member of Hawkins' management committee, said in a statement. "She will be instrumental to our national public finance practice as we continue to develop business with financial institutions."

Arto Becker, managing partner of Hawkins' Los Angeles office, said Murakami joined the firm on July 31, and expands the firm's practice advising financial institution clients on public finance matters.

"We're a municipal bond firm, and we think that expanding practice to include representation of banks in the public finance area works well with our business and our clients," Becker said.

Murakami is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt School of Law.

She is the second partner to join the public finance practice at Hawkins this year. Faust Bowerman, formerly of McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP, joined the New York office in May. He specializes in tax matters related to tax-exempt financing.

Hawkins ranked second in the U.S. as bond counsel last year, working on 325 issues with a par value of $25.3 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Through Aug. 3, the firm worked on 154 issues this year with a par value of $15.4 billion, again placing second in the league tables.

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