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National Minority-Owned Law Firm Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan Adds Prominent Public Finance Partner Susan Pease Langford

Ms. Langford is former City Attorney and head legal officer for the city of Atlanta and former head of its Olympic Office; brings experience as bond, issuer's and underwriter's counsel in large tax-exempt financings; GSH among nation's preeminent law firm

ATLANTA and NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a major boost to its national public finance practice  minority-owned law firm Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan announced that Susan Pease Langford, formerly the City Attorney of Atlanta and a prominent adviser on tax-exempt issues around the country – has joined the firm as a partner.  She will be resident in both the firm's Atlanta and New York offices.

She joins GSH from noted public finance law firm Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLP, where she was a longtime partner in the Atlanta office.

Ms. Langford has extensive experience as counsel to issuers, borrowers and underwriters in large municipal finance transactions. She also serves as disclosure counsel. With a particular concentration in education and affordable housing, she's handled financings on behalf of states, cities, counties and public authorities issuing tax-exempt debt.  Her experience also encompasses projects in infrastructure, airports, water and wastewater systems and other public works, as well as cultural institutions and non-profits.  

In bond financings for education institutions, Ms. Langford has worked with universities, colleges and charter schools. She has advised on financings for student housing, dining facilities, campus bookstores and full educational classroom and administrative buildings. She also works with tax counsel developing analyses to ensure proper treatment of bond proceeds to meet federal and state tax-exempt regulations. Ms. Langford's work also includes representations involving swaps and debt restructurings. 

Ms. Langford's experience includes financings for the City of Atlanta, City of Chicago, the City of Dallas and other major issuers throughout the United States. Among recent noteworthy projects, she was underwriter's counsel in a $1.5 billion bond financing for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, recognized as Bond Buyer's Deal of the Year.

Ms. Langford brings particular knowledge of municipal governance, having spent eight years in senior positions with the City of Atlanta. As City Attorney from 1998-2001, she advised on tax-exempt financings as well as on numerous infrastructure issues, including water and wastewater system federal consent decree matters.  She also served as director of the Mayor's Office of Contract Compliance (1997-98), overseeing Atlanta's program encouraging the use of minority and women owned firms in city contracts. Ms. Langford also headed the office overseeing Atlanta's hosting of the 1996 Olympic Games. Her work included the negotiation of the City Services Contract and assisting with the planning for the delivery of services during the Olympic Games.

Another key area of concentration is her work on bond-financed projects for multifamily and senior housing. In addition to conventional bond financings on housing deals, Ms. Langford has handled direct purchase bonds, as well as projects collateralized by funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and also HUD-insured direct loans to borrowers. She has worked with borrowers and developers rescuing troubled housing projects in an effort to restructure debt and preserve local communities.

In joining GSH, Ms. Langford becomes a key player in the firm's growing public finance practice.  In the past three years GSH has advised on approximately $12.5 billion in transactions and been ranked among top underwriter's counsel firms during that time by The Bond Buyer.  The firm has consistently placed among the leaders for proceeds raised in Illinois and Wisconsin, including showcase projects in Chicago and Milwaukee. GSH has also served as both issuer's and underwriter's counsel for large tax-exempt issues in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states.  A sampling of some of the firm's tax-exempt financings can be found here:  http://www.gshllp.com/practice-areas/public-finance-group.

"We're extremely fortunate to add Susan Pease Langford to our group. She brings superb tools, experience and relationships in her public finance work, with admirable range across projects.  And she's equally at home on both the issuer and underwriter side of a deal," said Emery Harlan, Chairman of Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan.

"Moreover, the years she spent with the City of Atlanta have given her invaluable insight into the most pressing concerns and priorities facing a large municipal issuer," he added.  "In striving to be included among the country's top public finance law firms, we benefit tremendously from having Susan at GSH."  Mr. Harlan noted that Ms. Langford will work closely with the firm's public finance attorneys nationally.

"Gonzalez Saggio has carved out a prominent place among tax-exempt advisers in the last several years, handling high-profile financings for some of the country's largest issuers, on the kinds of projects where that reflect my interest and experience," Ms. Langford said.

"I was especially drawn by the firm's diversity profile, which is an extremely important differentiator today among firms competing for marquee public finance assignments," she continued. "GSH has made a strategic decision to become a national leader in the tax-exempt sector, and I'm looking forward to helping it achieve that goal."

She noted that the need for public works financing has become acute in most major cities. "There is tremendous need for both large urban areas and smaller communities throughout the country to rebuild decaying infrastructure," she explained, adding that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said the city may issue up to $250 million in bonds for infrastructure upgrades in 2015.

Ms. Langford is a member and past president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers.  Closer to home, she chairs the Board of Trustees for the First Congregational Church, UCC, of Atlanta.

Ms. Langford earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law and her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College.

Note:  Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan  (www.gshllp.com) is a national minority-owned law firm with 15 offices located in Atlanta; Boca Raton, Fla.; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; Nashville; New York; Pasadena; Phoenix; Washington, D.C.; Wayne, N.J; and West Des Moines, Iowa. The firm represents midsized to Fortune 1000 corporations, governmental entities, and individuals in litigation, employment, environmental, corporate and transactional, public finance, intellectual property & technology, energy, communications & utilities law, and education law. 

The firm's clients include DuPont, Harley-Davidson, Illinois Finance Authority, Johnson Controls, Los Angeles Unified School District, New York State Industrial Development Agency, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Prudential, Rockwell Automation, Target, State of Wisconsin, and others.  In 2012, GSH was named a premier legal provider to Microsoft Corp.  Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan practices law with a commitment to quality, diversity and to the communities it serves.

Allan Ripp, 212-262-7477, [email protected]

SOURCE Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP

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