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Firm Practice Areas
The firm is organized into two departments, which can be generally described as follows:
Bond Counsel and Securities Department
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The largest department (currently composed of 22 attorneys) is a group that serves as bond counsel and securities counsel in financing transactions. As bond counsel, these attorneys analyze applicable state and local laws that apply to the various debt issues and draft all legal documents necessary to permit the lawful issuance of debt. The attorneys of the firm work on literally hundreds of public bond issues in a given year, spanning the spectrum of the debt instruments sold in the public debt markets. Many of the instruments now commonly issued in Texas and the laws under which they are issued were developed for the Texas market by attorneys in the firm, such as commercial paper notes, forward refundings, interest rate swaps, and various forms of lease-purchase obligations for cities, counties and school districts.
These attorneys are also knowledgeable in the securities laws that apply to states and their agencies and political subdivisions in connection with the issuance of debt instruments. Either representing the issuer or the underwriters, their primary responsibility is to draft the Official Statement or other offering document and to perform due diligence to ascertain that all material facts related to the issuer of debt and the debt itself have been properly disclosed in the offering documents. When representing the underwriter, the attorneys are also responsible for drafting the bond purchase agreement and surveys outlining any state law governing the sale of the bonds or notes in the states where the underwriters intend to offer the bonds or notes for sale.
Issuers and purchasers of tax-exempt securities, without regard to their level of sophistication, must face the ever-changing challenges presented by the federal tax laws. Tax lawyers at McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P. specialize in helping clients meet those challenges. Beginning with the enactment of the first substantive tax statutes relating to tax-exempt securities, the firm’s tax lawyers have specialized in analyzing and planning unique and complex financial transactions and in representing clients before the U.S. Department of Treasury and the tax writing committees of the U.S. Congress. Lawyers in our tax department have reputations for the highest level of competency and ethical responsibility as established by independent national rating services.
Tax Planning. The firm’s tax lawyers work closely with the other attorneys in the firm in reviewing public finance transactions by monitoring compliance with federal tax laws. Their extensive expertise permits them to render tax opinions that reconcile a high standard of prudence with an ability to use innovative financing techniques. Their unique experience as practitioners with the federal government and multinational accounting firms permits them to complement their analysis of legal authorities with a sensitivity to federal tax policy and IRS enforcement procedures. In addition to assisting attorneys at the firm, the tax department has assisted numerous other public finance law firms as special tax counsel.
Tax Controversy. Uncertainty in today’s legal environment and the complexity of the modern financial market demands an understanding of the role that the IRS plays in monitoring the tax-exempt securities market and enforcing federal tax rules. The firm’s tax lawyers have a widely-recognized history of representing clients before the IRS and an established depth of experience in dealing with tax controversy matters relating to public finance. Our attorneys have represented clients relating to numerous IRS audits and inquiries. Because of our sensitivity to the ethical challenges and disclosure obligations presented in these circumstances, our tax lawyers act with the greatest discretion and professionalism in assuring that the interests of the client are paramount in the outcome of the proceedings.