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    Arent Fox Named “Stand Out” Law Firm in Finance by The Financial Times in 2011 US Innovative Lawyers Report

    Partners David Dubrow and Les Jacobowitz recognized for Innovative Work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their $24 billion programs to stabilize the housing finance market

    November 4, 2011

    Arent Fox LLP has been named a “Stand-Out” Law Firm in the area of finance by The Financial Times in the newspaper’s “US Innovative Lawyers 2011” report.

    Arent Fox was selected for the recognition of its work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help stabilize the housing finance market in the United States in the wake of the financial crisis that began in 2008 through two programs – the New Issue Bond Program and the Temporary Credit and Liquidity Program.

    The New Issue Bond Program is a $16 billion effort by the US Treasury Department to reinvigorate the housing market by its purchase, through Fannie and Freddie securitizations, of 30-year single family and multifamily bonds from state and local housing finance agencies. This program was necessitated by the relative widening of spreads between short-term bonds and long-term bonds to the greatest extent since at least the Great Depression.

    The $8 billion Temporary Credit and Liquidity Program was instituted to replace troubled bank liquidity providers that made interest rates on variable rate housing debt jump from 1-2 percent to 10-12 percent, hampering the ability of the state and local housing finance agencies to assist in the housing crisis.

    Arent Fox was recognized at an event held at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City on November 2, 2011. Arent Fox partners David Dubrow and Les Jacobowitz, the lead attorneys on the matter, were on hand to accept the recognition on behalf of the firm.

    In an article appearing in The Financial Times US Innovative Lawyers Report, Mr. Dubrow and Mr. Jacobowitz described their work on the initiative and discussed how businesses have dealt with financial restructuring issues since the credit crisis:

    “It’s still a ways away from any way to recovery,” says David Dubrow, ­partner at Arent Fox. “And it’s not just the ­housing market itself – it’s the state of the banks. It is a question of how do you keep it going and how do you keep it working.”

    Ongoing engagement defines the work of Mr. Dubrow and Les Jacobowitz, also a partner at Arent Fox. The firm has worked with Fannie Mae, the government-backed housing finance group, since 2009, as it stepped into the role of providing liquidity in the market for low-income housing underwritten by state, local and federal housing finance authorities, with banks no longer able to provide that funding.

    It was a complex engagement that required Fannie and Freddie Mac, its competitor, to work together for the first time, along with the US Treasury, the White House and several other agencies. But with the housing market still not providing private funding, the programme needed to be restructured to continue. The US Treasury’s statutory authority to buy new loans expired in 2010, forcing the creation of an escrow account.

    “There was no template, no playbook, other than Apollo 13,” says Mr. Dubrow, referring to the failed lunar landing mission. “We had a circle, trying to figure out how to make it into the box.”

    “We are very pleased with this recognition from The Financial Times, one of the premier business publications in the world,” said Michael Blass, managing partner of Arent Fox’s New York office. “Les and David have done remarkably innovative work in a critically important and unprecedented initiative. This recognition solidifies Arent Fox’s standing as one of the premier finance and financial restructuring firms in the nation.”

    “Every client and every matter we handle is of the utmost importance to Arent Fox,” said Mr. Dubrow. “This matter, however, took on particular significance for us. We all recognized that in this instance we were doing more than just representing a client in a financing matter. Instead, we were playing a small but important role in restoring America’s economy. I know I speak for my colleagues at Arent Fox when I say that we are particularly proud of our contribution to this project in helping our nation recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetime.”

    To read The Financial Times “US Innovative Lawyers 2011” report, please click here.


    About Arent Fox:
    Arent Fox LLP (www.arentfox.com), with offices in Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles, is a recognized leader in areas including OSHA, intellectual property, real estate, telecommunications, health care, automotive, sports, white collar, international trade, bankruptcy, and complex litigation. With more than 350 lawyers nationwide, Arent Fox has extensive experience in corporate securities, financial restructuring, government relations, labor and employment, finance, tax, corporate compliance, and the global business market. The firm represents Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, trade associations, foreign governments and other entities.