We Understand Your Issues
A rapidly changing economy and efforts to overhaul industries such as healthcare and financial services are impacting government operations at the federal, state, local and tribal government levels. Governmental entities face constantly evolving issues and trends, such as:
- Many state, local and tribal governments continue to deal with funding shortfalls caused by a perfect storm of factors ranging from declining tax revenues and reduced federal aid to increased service demands and growing entitlement program obligations. Resulting fiscal and budget concerns have overwhelmed the dialogue and overshadowed many other concerns for governmental entities, making long-term planning particularly challenging.
- Many pension investment portfolios have rebounded over the past two years, but underfunded pensions remain a looming problem for many state and local governments that may be forced to make up funding differences through measures like raising taxes or cutting services. Waves of retirements could make this problem more acute over the next 20 years and compel governments to examine defined contribution plan options, raise pension qualification ages and extend vesting periods.
- Many state, local and tribal governments are struggling with how to finance much needed infrastructure improvement projects - from public water supply and waste water systems to transportation projects such as bridges, highways, roads and transit systems - leading to an increase in public-private partnerships.
- The impending demographic shift stemming from the aging of baby boomers, followed by smaller population sets among successive generations, will fuel a seismic change within government services and areas of focus. A strong senior voting block may exercise inordinate power in elections at a critical time when elected officials are expected to be dealing with challenges such as potential changes to Social Security and Medicare. Concurrently, this baby boomer generation will strain the resources and attentions of government sponsored programs ranging from healthcare to transportation.
- Globalization is presenting new challenges across the board for state and local governments. Governmental agencies and education systems are strained to meet the needs of rapidly increasing immigrant populations in areas such as housing assistance and bilingual instruction. Additionally, these governments are dealing with economic issues like the retention of large businesses that may consider offshoring or attracting new international businesses looking for credits and incentives as they consider opening new facilities in the United States. In some areas, Indian reservations continue to struggle to attract new businesses and to provide employment, while other tribal territories have become engines of growth.
Are you positioned to succeed?
We Can Help
Holland & Knight's Government Team provides comprehensive legal counsel on the full range of matters that can arise during the course of government operations. We represent hundreds of state, local and tribal governmental entities, including municipalities, counties, commissions, districts, villages, authorities, tribes and tribal instrumentalities, state departments and agencies, and regulatory and administrative agencies, in all aspects of their operations, including:
- Construction: Governmental entities are among the leading generators of construction projects around the country. Our team can provide you with advice on legal issues surrounding the design, development and construction of building and infrastructure projects and can assist you in resolving construction disputes that arise during and after the process using a variety of dispute resolution methods, including mediation, arbitration and litigation. In addition, we can represent your interests in negotiations, bid disputes and government contracting issues.
- Education: State, local and tribal governments share a common mission to provide quality educational services to residents of their respective communities. Our team regularly advises states, local and tribal school districts, universities and other education providers across the country on all aspects of education law as well as the employment of faculty and staff, student affairs, campus safety, financial aid and regulatory compliance.
- Energy: Our team has extensive experience representing public power authorities and public utility districts in all aspects of their energy operations, including regulatory, legislative, litigation and transactions. We also regularly work with tribal governments on energy generation and supply issues.
- Environment: Protecting environmental resources is a key responsibility for governmental entities and our team can advise you in all areas of environmental and natural resources law, from water law and air quality issues to brownfields redevelopment, environmental permitting and litigation. In addition, several members of our firm are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals (LEED AP) and can assist in the LEED certification process for green and sustainable building.
- Financial Services: Governments require significant financial capital to fund infrastructure, facilities and daily operations. We have significant experience in all areas of public finance and municipal securities and can assist you in structuring public finance transactions, including general obligation and revenue bond financings and various types of financings using tribal economic development bond allocations. In addition, as lean economic times require governments to increasingly rely on the private sector to accomplish goals, we can help you conceive, create and execute public-private partnership projects.
- Government Contracts: Because governmental entities rely on contractors to provide many of the goods and services necessary to support their daily operations, effective contracting counsel is critical. We can assist you in developing and implementing procurement policy, negotiating contracts, and responding to bid protests and claims. We regularly advise Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and Indian tribal government contractors on the special rules that apply to them, as well as on general government contracting issues.
- Healthcare & Life Sciences: We can assist you with healthcare issues related to your administration and participation in federal programs such as Medicaid, Ryan White, community health centers, and issues and opportunities related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We can also provide advice on healthcare development projects such as tech parks, incubators and medical hubs and can represent you in your role as employer and health benefit manager.
- Labor, Employment and Benefits: We can assist you with all aspects of employment and labor relations matters, including hiring and discipline, pension issues and employee contract matters. We have experience with the special rules and exemptions applicable to governmental plans.
- Land Use and Government: Land use issues are a key concern for most governments. Our team can represent your interests in all aspects of land use and permitting, including eminent domain and condemnation, growth management and concurrency, land use and real estate development approvals, zoning relief ordinances and public-private partnerships.
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Disputes are a common occurrence in today's business environment and governmental entities are not immune. Our team can represent your interests in dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation as well as litigation in state and federal courts around the nation.
- Native American Law: Our firm has one of the largest Native American Law groups in the United States. It covers a myriad of issues, including taxation, self-governance, gaming and economic development for a significant number of Native American tribes and Alaska Native entities.
- Public Policy & Regulation: Members of our team have an in-depth understanding of governmental operations and can assist you in managing all of your regulatory, legislative and administrative issues. We regularly assist local, tribal and state governmental entities, authorities and agencies in lobbying and obtaining funds through federal appropriations.
- Real Estate: Governmental entities require real property to facilitate their administrative operations, delivery of services, parks and recreation and more. Our team can advise you on all of your real estate activities, including acquisitions, development, dispositions and leasing of public projects.
- Transportation: A well-planned transportation network is critical to enhancing the economy and lifestyle of any community. Our team can assist you with all of your legal needs related to transportation and smart growth, such as the funding, construction and maintenance of highway and road construction projects and public transportation systems, including those developed through public-private partnerships. In addition, we can represent your interests in regulatory matters related to transportation, compliance with federal DBE and ACDBE programs and disparity studies.
Guidance You Can Trust
The combination of our thorough knowledge, our extensive experience and our sincere commitment to provide responsive service is why clients entrust our Government Team to handle their legal needs. These attributes are also the reason why members of our team have been recognized among the top legal professionals in the country by leading publications, including:
- The Best Lawyers in America® recognized 30 Holland & Knight partners as leaders in Government law.
- U.S. News – Best Lawyers named Holland & Knight "2016 Law Firm of the Year" for Native American Law.
- Legal 500 recognized Holland & Knight as "2015 Law Firm of the Year" for Government/Government Relations.
- Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business recognized Holland & Knight among the leading Government Relations and Native American Law practices in the United States and named 13 Holland & Knight partners among the leaders in the sectors for 2015.
- Florida Trend Magazine named four members of Holland & Knight's Government practice to its 2015 Legal Elite list.
- Super Lawyers recognized 5 members of Holland & Knight's Government practice as leaders in the field for 2015.