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A candid conversation with Corbin I. Carpenter, Esquire

Q3: “What is your law concentration and why did you choose it?”

The primary practice focus of Carpenter Law, PLLC are in the areas of corporate, transactional and municipal finance law where serving as Bond Counsel and/or Counsel to the Underwriters, myself and my father assist municipal governments and entities in facilitating the issuance of various tax-exempt and taxable debt securities, which through new construction and/or substantial rehabilitation, finance a variety of public infrastructure projects ranging from airports, utilities, housing, healthcare facilities, schools, sewers, sports arenas/stadiums, transportation and other economic development projects in the public and private sectors.

During these transactions, as Bond Counsel or Counsel to the Underwriters’, we always play a fundamental and integral role to ensure a smooth bond transaction for our client from inception to close. For each financing, we communicate with and answer any questions from City or County elected officials to ensure they fully comprehend the complexities and feel comfortable with what their respective governing body will ultimately vote upon. (Hopefully, they’re not tired of our face or voice by now). Next, we perform a myriad of meticulous and essential tasks, including but not limited to: (i) creating all authorization resolutions and tax diligence documents, (ii) creating the public offering disclosure (i.e. the Preliminary and Official Statements) and Continuing Disclosure Agreements, (iii) advising and assisting our client in meeting certain legal, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements through confirming that the status of the securities will remain tax-exempt through the life of them, and through ensuring compliance with a variety of due diligence and disclosure obligations with the SEC; (iv) delivering a legal opinion at closing attesting the tax-exempt or taxable status of the bonds being issued; (v) creating all necessary closing certificates for the transaction; and much, much more!

With affordable housing we primarily work with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), and local/regional investors/developers to facilitate the issuance of multi-family housing revenue bond transactions where tax-exempt securities are issued to rehabilitate substandard and dilapidated housing for low and moderate-income families. This is probably my favorite part of the job because we get to help a myriad of people, namely people who look like me. I believe having safe, sanitary and affordable housing is something that EVERY SINGLE person should have. This year we helped close two transactions that will provide the necessary funding to two affordable housing properties in Memphis that will give these families newly renovated housing, one a 270-unit property and the other a 102-unit property. Also, we are currently working on converting a historic Black (currently vacant) hospital into housing for the homeless people in Memphis. At Carpenter Law, PLLC, my father and I are just doing our part to ensure that happens today, tomorrow and in perpetuity.

I chose this area of law because it provides me with purpose, and you know I love a challenge. We have a nationally recognized practice with a regional focus and impact. This area enables our Firm to serve an essential role in assisting municipal governments with exploring innovative ways to finance their infrastructure, healthcare and housing needs, which will subsequently have a positive tangible impact on the current and future residents. In Memphis alone, our Firm has participated in various financings involving the City of Memphis, the Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division, the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, numerous housing developments for low-moderate income families and much more. In 1992, the Firm was the first African American law firm in the state of Tennessee to be nationally recognized as Sole Bond Counsel in Redbook. Since that time, Carpenter Law, PLLC has successfully closed over 235 total municipal finance transactions totaling over 15.3 billion dollars in aggregate volume—and we’re just getting started! Our Firm’s work has positively impacted the economy through job creation, rehabilitating dilapidated housing, improving municipal necessities and overall beautification. I truly love what I do, and love even more the legacy I am perpetuating. As President Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Corbin I. Carpenter, Esquire is owner and managing member of Carpenter Law, PLLC. He can be reached at

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