Denver has been in growth mode for decades, and lawyers have been helping to drive that. A group of attorneys met Aug. 21 at Hogan Lovells’ Denver office, overlooking examples of that growth, such as Union Station and new LoDo construction. The group discussed how public finance work and community involvement have shaped Denver through those changes.
Participants were Cole Finegan, Hogan Lovells Denver office managing partner and former Denver city attorney; Dee Wisor, Butler Snow partner and public finance attorney; and Shannon Stevenson, Davis Graham & Stubbs partner and Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation executive committee member. Law Week editor Tony Flesor moderated the discussion.
LAW WEEK: All the growth in Denver and across Colorado seems to continue to just scale up. I’m curious in hearing where law firms come in on all of the development that’s going on. Just to start off, let’s talk about some of the ways that law firms do play an economic development role in the community.
WISOR: I’m a public finance lawyer, and I’ve done that my whole career. So, the fact that our government issues bonds to build a capital project, and a multiplier effect of people having work to do, is economic development for sure. But then it’s things like incentives for developers to attract some development to a community or to fill a gap in a financing that makes it possible for development to occur. And then there are things that are a little more complicated, like public-private partnerships, and, now, all the buzz is about opportunity zones. We’ll see if they actually result in anything, but it certainly sounds like people are spending time thinking about it.
FINEGAN: There are all sorts of ways — like Dee noted — in terms of the different mechanisms that you can use. I’ve been in Denver since 1987, and really, since 1987, we’ve been on an economic development roll in Colorado.