Overview

Local and state governmental agencies and special purpose entities in Arkansas and nationwide have made Friday, Eldredge & Clark a leading bond counsel firm. As documented by Thomson Financial, we have served as bond counsel on more than $6 billion in tax-exempt public issue bonds in the past six years, focused on the financing of public, nonprofit, and industrial projects throughout Arkansas and in other states. That includes bonds sold by underwriters, bonds placed with governmental agencies and local banks, bonds offered in public sales, bonds rated by national rating agencies, and insured bonds. Our bond practice is full service. You can rely on us to draft all documents relating to authorization, sale, and delivery. We prepare definitive legal opinions on the validity of the bonds under applicable state and federal laws.

If you have financing responsibilities for a public or governmental entity or a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, you can turn with confidence to our firm’s core group of public finance lawyers. Members of our group are recognized by both Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America for excellence in such areas as municipal finance, public finance, municipal bonds, and structured finance. All members of our group are active in the National Association of Bond Lawyers, and two serve as Adjunct Professors of Public Finance at the University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service. Such professional credentials are your assurance that your bond issue will be handled efficiently and cost-effectively.

Our public finance lawyers work cohesively and efficiently together and, as needed, may team with lawyers in other practices of our firm whose backgrounds may be relevant to a public finance transaction. Whether your bond issue involves complex issues relating to securities, health care, real estate, economic development, environmental law, or even litigation, we can handle whatever arises. Our public finance lawyers can address IRS and audits and provide counsel regarding maintenance of records, compliance with information and document requests, and strategy. Because our public finance practice works so closely with other practice groups, we are adept at spotting issues that may require attention from other disciplines. You get a single, authoritative source for guidance on whatever concerns arise in your bond issue.

Bond Counsel Clients

Our practice encompasses bond offerings issued by or on behalf of a wide range of public entities in Arkansas. That includes bonds placed with governmental agencies, such as the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, and the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as economic development authorities in other states. Your bond issue will be handled with the same effectiveness that we have brought to the financings of these types of bond issuers:

  • State of Arkansas (higher education, highway and water bonds, among others)
  • Regional entities, such as public water authorities and solid waste districts
  • Higher educational institutions, both public and private institutions
  • Municipalities
  • Counties
  • School districts
  • Public facilities boards
  • Improvement districts

Bond Counsel and Underwriters Counsel Experience

Whether the needs of your organization relate to new money issues, refunding, or a combination of the two, you can rely on our transactional experience. We provide counsel on bond insurance and other types of credit enhancement, interest rate swaps, and derivative products. In addition to our work as issuers and underwriters counsel, we serve as counsel to private purchasers of bonds, credit providers, and trustees. As a result, we have the experience to analyze public finance transactions from various perspectives, which enhances our ability to represent our public finance clients effectively in such transactions as:

  • State and local bonds
  • Water, sewer, and general obligation financings
  • University and college financings
  • Regional authority financings
  • Landfill and solid waste financings
  • Port authority financings
  • School district financings
  • Tax-supported debt
  • Municipal utility financings
  • Industrial development bond transactions
  • Revolving loan fund bonds
  • Airport financings
  • Health care

Bond Counsel Services

When you engage us as bond counsel, you can expect service from the inception to completion of your transaction. As lead counsel on any issue, you can rely on us to draft all documents relating to authorization, sale, and delivery, as required by state and federal law. This includes ordinances, resolutions, trust indentures, loan agreements, notices, offering documents, tax certificates, bond purchase agreements, disclosure agreements, as well as all other required documents needed for the issuance of bonds. We also prepare a definitive legal opinion on enforceability under applicable state and federal laws.

For any public entity, we offer full assistance when a bond issue requires voter approval, including preparation of the necessary ordinances, ballot, notices, and other documents required under state law, and we also offer advice on election and bond procedures.

Underwriters’ Counsel

Friday, Eldredge & Clark maintains excellent relationships with the leading public finance underwriters in Arkansas and the surrounding region, including those associated with commercial banks. Whether your organization underwrites single bond transactions or entire financing programs, you can rely on us to draft all necessary documents. We can also help you with securities law and federal tax law compliance, including continuing disclosure and matters pertaining to arbitrage rebate.

Economic Development Financing

Economic development financing is a complex undertaking that can combine tax incentives with government tax-exempt bond financing for infrastructure construction of roads, sewers, and public utilities. We play a central role in facilitating economic development bond financing for businesses and governments throughout Arkansas. You get the benefit of our experience on hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development financing transactions. That includes work as issuers and underwriters’ counsel on such financing vehicles as industrial development revenue bonds, special assessment bonds, and special source revenue credits and bonds.

Businesses get our help in working with municipalities as well as state agencies such as the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Packages can range from several million dollars to many hundreds of millions of dollars. Given our in-depth understanding of state law and extensive governmental contacts, we can often tailor innovative financing approaches that secure incentives for your unique development needs.